Acton Town Centre Development Framework

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					            Appendix 2 – Summary of Acton Town Centre Development Framework

A. Background

The Brief

In July 2007 Ealing Council commissioned East together with URS Corporation and DTZ to draw
up a Development Framework for Acton Town Centre.

Acton lacks a distinctive identity, particularly in terms of its retail offer, which is limited and
threatened by competition from larger centres at Ealing Broadway, Chiswick and the proposed
White City development.

There are however, a number of development prospects within Acton, which have the potential to
improve its housing, retail and community facilities provision. Along with opportunities to improve
the public realm, accessibility and movement, Acton can be developed into a more vibrant,
attractive and thriving town centre.

The Aim

The aim of this work is to provide a strategic vision and development framework for Acton Town
Centre. This framework strategy seeks to maximise the inherent potential within Acton to create a
unique town centre, with an appropriate mix of uses including a competitive retail offer and
community facilities, which would contribute towards making Acton a cohesive and economically
sustainable community.

In achieving this, the framework aims to address a number of specific requirements as outlined in
the brief:

      Develop a strategic vision for Acton
      Propose optimum mix of uses in the town centre
      Propose the optimum retail offer
      Provide a development sites strategy
      Consider the relationship between developments
      Provide a strategy to improve the range of community uses in Acton
      Develop design principles
      Make proposals to maximise sustainable economic growth
      Undertake consultation on proposals

The Acton Town Centre Development Framework provides a strategic vision and development
framework for Acton Town Centre to help marshall co-ordinated change over the next 18 years
towards 2026. This timescale is also intended to tie in with the timescale for the Council’s Local
Development Framework (LDF).

The document should be read in conjunction with the ‘Acton Town Centre Development
Framework; A Baseline Analysis, January 08’, which gives further information on the process and
analysis behind the Framework proposals and recommendations.
The vision for Acton Town Centre is to:

   “Make Acton the centre of choice for local residents by improving the diverse and mixed
   retail, leisure and community experience alongside a high quality, attractive physical
   environment that encourages visitors to stay longer.“

Key urban design and socio-economic objectives have been set out to help achieve this vision.
These are summarised below:

      To create a revitalised town centre, which serves the local community.
      To facilitate local economic growth
      To enhance the economic viability and success of Acton
      To introduce an optimum mix of uses
      To provide a range of improved community facilities and services
      To create an attractive and good quality public realm
      To improve the accessibility, movement and linkages to and within Acton Town Centre
      To maximise the regenerative potential and coherence of Acton
B. Proposals for change and delivery

The framework makes project proposals and recommendations and these are highlighted in the
table below.

Project & Description            Principles & Proposals
Acton Town Centre public realm and streetscape improvements
Enhance quality of public realm Acton Town underground station environs:
through environmental             Install raised table to reduce car speed around this corner and heighten
changes/aesthetic                   awareness of pedestrians. Remove railings if possible. Improve relationship
improvements (e.g. signage,         between crossing points and desire lines. Consider providing new
pedestrianisation, street           development above the station to increase safety and overlooking, enhance
furniture, cleaning etc.).          this as a part of the town centre, and help pay for substantial environmental
Improve accessibility within and    improvements
to the Town Centre.               Install signage from the station leading and directing toward the town

                                 Primary pedestrian route from Acton Town Station to town centre:
                                   Introduce clear signage along the length of the route leading to the town
                                     centre and paint all street furniture same colour

                                 High Street:
                                   Rationalise all street furniture in terms of provision and location (ie. move or
                                     remove). This includes bus shelters and bus stops, guard-railing, litter bins,
                                     benches, lamp columns, posts.
                                   Investigate the potential to widen footways. Provide key crossing points and
                                     extensive raised table at Town Hall/Oaks area.
                                   Manage the overspill of shops onto the footway.

                                 Raised table between Town Hall environs and Oaks site:
                                   A raised table here will enhance the spatial and use relationship between
                                     these two sites and prioritising pedestrian movement.

                                 Raised table between Town Square, Horn Lane, Market Place and Churchfield
                                   By establishing a physical link between these retail environments, the range
                                     and contrast of retail offer is highlighted.
                                   A raised table here will allow pedestrians to move between the retail
                                     environments without level change. Future redevelopment of the Oaks site,
                                     with a route at the level from Churchfield Road to the High Street will mean
                                     that this raised table will eventually form part of a link between the High
                                     Street environs and the Town Hall redevelopment.

                                 Churchfield Road:
                                   Check to ensure the footway is in good condition. Widen footways wherever
                                     possible. Provide seating where possible to support meeting and orientation
                                     opportunities that tie in with shops/pubs, station spaces. Implement a
                                     signage strategy linking the station with the town centre.

                                 Raised table across Crown Street, Mill Hill Road and Langley Drive junction:
                                   A raised table would prioritise the pedestrians over cars, manage the level
                                     changes and pedestrians could walk in a single direction across the space.
Project & Description          Principles & Proposals
Acton Town Centre public realm and streetscape improvements (cont/d)
                              Acton Central mainline station environs:
                                Footway improvements and improved signage here will address poor
                                  visibility of the station entrance.
                                A raised table for the extent as shown on the plan will enable station users
                                  to access the environs more easily, raise awareness and presence of the
                                  station and slow vehicles along this stretch of road.

                                 Primary pedestrian route from South Acton mainline station and the town centre,
                                 through the South Acton Estate:
                                   A strong signage strategy is required along its whole length, as well as
                                      improved footways with dropped kerbs where required, litter bins, footpath
                                      lighting and benches. There is an opportunity to provide clear straight
                                      sightlines from the station to the town in conjunction with new development
                                      to aid legibility and accessibility.

                                 Steyne Road junction:
                                   In conjunction with new development; possibly at the depot site as well as
                                     the supermarket, renew this extensive environment as an integral part of
                                     the town public realm network; the gateway to the town from the west.
                                   The public realm needs to support and tie in with shop fronts; to extend the
                                     High Street, and Churchfield Road to the west. As part of this, footways
                                     need to be widened, and decluttered, materials need to be rationalised, and
                                     crossings need to be improved.
                                   Rebrand this site as ‘Acton Circus’. There is enough space to make this a
                                     positive public environment. Redevelopment of the Morrisons site could
                                     bring shops right round to the front, on an expended footway to make this a
                                     genuine meeting place.

                                 South Acton mainline station environs:
                                   The environment of the station, the footrbidge, and the associated spaces
                                     to the north and south need to be improved as town entry spaces in their
                                     own right. Therefore create step-free access over the railway lines, and
                                     make new forecourt spaces adjacent to the station that link stations clearly
                                     to the town
                                   A strong signage strategy directing visitors from the station, through South
                                     Acton to the town centre.

                                 Rowley Industrial Estate:
                                   Rationalise car parking in the estate allowing improved movement through
                                   Improve northern entrance encouraging movement into and through the
                                   Provide environmental improvements at edges of estate, visible from
                                   In conjunction with new building within the site, provide special vertical
                                     signage to celebrate the estate as a valid functioning valuable part of the
Project & Description              Principles & Proposals
Acton Town Centre public realm and streetscape improvements (cont/d)
                              High Street buildings
                                Consider rooftop development for usually single storey residential
                                  development as an integral part of the town centre strategy for change.
                                Consider the roofline as a whole along the street, and ensure that new
                                  proposals are drawn into a street length elevation to ensure that the new
                                  roof profile contributes to the overall skyline.
                                Encourage a new, enjoyable, and co-ordinated reshaping of the roofscape
                                  of the High Street to be marshalled and anticipated.

Delivering a retail strategy
The retail strategy focuses on a    Retail Offer
number of inter-connected            Improvement of the convenience food offer through the introduction of new
actions that are designed to           food stores/supermarkets that cater for the needs of the local catchment
deliver a wholesale                    area, especially the more wealthy parts of the catchment area. The Oaks
improvement to the shopping            Shopping Centre and Jefferies House are two sites with the potential to
experience over time.                  deliver these new stores.
                                     Improvement of the comparison retail offer through the redevelopment of
                                       The Oaks Shopping Centre for mass/mid market retailers, especially
                                       fashion retailers, and the positive planning of Churchfield Road as a high
                                       quality specialist/independent retail destination.
                                     Promotion of the ethnic shopping experience through local events [5] and
                                       marketing that creates greater awareness of the range and diversity of
                                       goods on offer at Acton from Polish and Eastern European to Middle

                                    Night-time Economy:
                                      Provision of additional eating and drinking establishments at Churchfield
                                        Road and key locations such as the Town Square, and the proposed Town
                                        Hall complex, which offer opportunities for outdoor seating to enhance the
                                        image of Acton and encourage visitors to stay longer. These establishments
                                        could include coffee shops, restaurants and bars.
                                      Encourage the development of evening economy anchors, such as a new
                                        improved sports centre that would increase footfall within the town centre at
                                        night and patronage to eating and drinking establishments.

                                    The Retail Environment:
                                      Implementation of public realm improvements to the High Street, in the form
                                        of wider pavements and traffic calming measures to create a less
                                        oppressive and more appealing shopping environment, where
                                        visitors/pedestrians are given priority.
                                      Control the garish shop facia boards that dominate the High Street,
                                        especially within the Conservation Area, through restrictive development
                                        control policies that are more sympathetic to the historic architecture within
                                        the town centre. This would create a positive impression of the retail offer.
                                      Creation of better pedestrian linkages between Churchfield Road and the
                                        High Street through the proposed redevelopment of the Oaks Shopping
                                      Promotion of the redevelopment and refurbishment opportunities through
                                        positive planning policies or Development Briefs for key sites, such as the
                                        Oaks Shopping Centre, Morrisons food store, Acton Town Hall/Swimming
                                        Pool/Library complex, Jefferies House etc.
Project & Description             Principles & Proposals
Transport and movement
Key transport related areas for      Forecourt area in front of Acton Central Station should be properly
improvement.                          integrated with the railway crossing and section of Churchfield Road that
                                      runs westwards towards the town. This would help ensure better legibility
                                      and accesibility for those arriving and leaving. The best approach for this
                                      would be to provide a large raised table surface that stretches from the
                                      station (with tie in to an improved station and restaurant forecourt)
                                      westwards towards Milton Road.
                                     Possibility of renaming bus stops at the High Street to say Acton Central
                                      Station, in conjunction with improved route from bus stop to station along
                                      Birkbeck Road
                                     To consider improvements in conjunction with new development at the
                                      north end of Birkbeck Grove.
                                     To improve linkage with Acton Park.
                                     To provide a raised table at the junction with Market Place, Churchfield
                                      Road, and King Street. This table should take the same simple palette of
                                      materials as the adjacent town square, so that the raised carriageway is
                                      provided in asphalt, whilst the new footway areas to the East of the junction
                                      are in the same granite flags (with tactile paving also in granite), leading up
                                      to the corner of the Car Park at the back of the Oaks. Beyond this, the
                                      paving would revert to standard concrete flags.

Acton Town Hall Complex redevelopment
Regeneration of the Town Hall    Concentration of leisure and community activities here
Complex by including a new       Swimming pool provision must strive to maintain local and casual use as
mix of uses and public open       well as possible accommodation of larger events and user groups. Care
space at the heart of the town    should be taken to ensure that local users are not marginalised by demands
centre. Redevelopment             of large scale events.
incorporating community,
leisure and residential uses on
                                 Provision of social housing should aim to achieve 50% of new housing
sites.                           New facilities and uses to be arranged around an accessible open public
                                  space creating a vibrant social environment
1. New Swimming Pool
2. Acton Baths redevelopment
3. Acton Library refurbishment
4. Acton Town Hall
5. Priory Centre redevelopment
6. New residential development
7. New retail floorspace
8. New office floorspace

Potential redevelopment of Churchfield Road/Oaks Shopping Centre
Potential redevelopment of the  Develop the whole site, incorporating the various ownerships
entire site as set out in the   Introduce new retail to complement existing town centre provision
Development Sites Strategy,     Establish clear pedestrian north-south access between High Street and
incorporating mixed uses such      Churchfield Road
as housing, large retail and    Incorporate mixed uses into new development including housing, leisure
cafes. Pedestrian link to          uses such as cafes, and additional retail
enhance north-south access      Build to sufficient urban scale as to punctuate the current frontages of High
between Churchfield Road and       Street and Churchfield Road
the High Street.
Project & Description           Principles & Proposals
Potential redevelopment of Morrisons site
Redevelopment of the site and    Establish adequate western gateway to the Town Centre by developing on
its environs as the ‘Western       the car park site
Gateway’ to Acton Town           Improve quality and range of goods on offer
Centre. Incorporating a mix of   Make active contribution to the vibrancy of the Town Square by improving
uses, including a mixed retail     its active frontage.
offer (comparison and            Establish a north south pedestrian route across the site to link the town
convenience) and potential         square and the High Street with Steyne Road.
residential elements
Regeneration of Rowley Industrial Estate
Improving the link between       Improve public realm by rationalising car parking and improving existing
the industrial estate and the     northern pedestrian entrance remove existing obstructions such as large
South Acton Estate.               planters
Introducing changes to the       Introduce shared, attractive amenity in centre of site that will bring users into
public realm, façade and          the site. This could be a new industrial/workshop/creative use building. The
incorporating public amenity      proposal here is to make it seem taller, and sign it to be visible at all sides,
uses on Council sites to          including from the railway, to celebrate it as a valid functioning part of the
enhance the image of the          town, to tie in with environmental improvements to the public areas, and to
area and establish an identity.   help orientate people with regards to its edges and its location (sign could be
Intensifying Stirling Road Day    designed in conjunction with local designers)
Centre for small business        Increase awareness and visibility from edges by signage on tall buildings
units                            Improve building faces and other boundaries of Estate, particularly onto Bollo
                                  Lane, with measures such as green walls and improved signage. At the
                                  eastern edge of the Estate, there could be an emphasis on making a new
                                  green boundary to tie in with the green spaces next to the buildings. Perhaps
                                  these could even be cultivated by new residents; used as vertical allotments.
                                 Extension of South Acton Estate public realm into the heart of the Rowley

Regeneration of South Acton Estate
Improve accessibility within   Establish clear, direct physical links between the South Acton Estate and the
the site and establish links     Town Centre
between the Estate and the     Retain and invest in existing green spaces with improvements directly related
Town Centre. Provide good        to neighbouring uses and users
quality public realm and open  Retain small scale retail such as corner shops
space to the local residents.  Re-establish grain of housing in the south of the estate, extending the grain
                                 from the northern areas into the south
                               Improve navigation through the site with direct sight lines, signage and
                                 appropriate street furniture
                               Take a clear approach to the overall urban structure of the redeveloped
                                 Estate as a whole to tie in with the edges of the Estate much more
                               Seek to provide a straight line of visibility and access right through from
                                 South Acton Station to the High Street; and set a core public realm around
                               Ensure that all public spaces are not just provided as set pieces to look at but
                                 spaces that engage with active frontages and that are contiguous and legible.
                               Avoid unnecessary provision of formal ‘squares’ throughout the area. Public
                                 spaces need to be more site specific and woven into the wider public realm
                                 than the familiar characterisation of formalised and hierarchical grids and
                                 squares suggest.
Project & Description           Principles & Proposals
Regeneration of South Acton Estate (cont/d)
                              Ensure that the relationship between any key landscaped spaces and the
                                 public realm are designed as integral.
                              Barriers to movement exist mostly to the eastern and western edges of the
                                 estate where because of back gardens of terraced housing, no routes into the
                                 estate are available
                              Ensure that vehicle movement and parking areas are designed as integral
                                 components of the public realm, so that pedestrians and cyclists take
                                 precedence throughout.
                              The urban structure needs to address the problems of impermeability and low
                                 levels of safety that the Estate suffers from today; in particular at the northern
                                 section of the Estate.
                              The character of this landscape, which is open, naturally topographic, and
                                 green, needs to be reviewed as a key driver when considering the kind of
                                 urban structure that can relate successfully to it. Rather than an approach
                                 which uses axial grids and squares, there needs to be a much more gentle,
                                 area specific and responsive approach to planning new buildings if results are
                                 to be successful.

Promotion of key sites for redevelopment
                              Former petrol station and housing, 43-49 Gunnersbury Lane:
                                Further works being undertaken.

                                269-273 Gunnersbury Lane:
                                  The preferred new development mix would be residential with new retail at
                                    ground floor although the presence of the church may constrain the
                                    developable area of the site.

                                Crown Street:
                                  Retain uses but intensify with housing or office uses above, increase building
                                  Explore and expand upon relationship with Woodlands and the town square
                                  Rationalise and improve street furniture strategy

                                Corner Horn Lane and Steyne Road:
                                  Residential would be the prime use within any redevelopment potentially
                                    together with some A3-A4use at ground floor. There may also be the potential
                                    to inlcude some small scale office space as part of the mix.

                                40-48 High Street - Beechworth House:
                                  Further works being undertaken.

                                North London Line Yard:
                                  Further works being undertaken.
Project & Description           Principles & Proposals
Promotion of key sites for redevelopment (cont/d)
                               Crown Street/Mill Hill junction:
                                 The site should be developed to provide a ‘hinge’ that mediates between the
                                   scale of the town and South Acton Estate, provides increased safety through
                                   provision of residential and retail uses located to provide natural surveillance,
                                   as well as accomodating waste and recycling facilities in a way that local
                                   users can benefit from.

                                 Provident House, 28-31 King Street:
                                   Introduce leisure/entertainment such as cafe possibly in conjunction with Post
                                      Office facilities
                                   Introduce new residential uses above

                                 Tram Depot
                                   Consider opportunities for redeveloping this site as a mixed use
                                     development, able to provide uses which are compatible with the rest of the
                                     High Street; including shops and/or cafe or restaurant uses at ground floor,
                                     and residential uses above. Active frontages will support the overall ambition
                                     for this part of Acton to have a new public face.

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