Plans for Ealing student accommodation scheme approved

Downing has secured planning permission for a 424-bed scheme located next to North Acton station. The application was approved by Ealing Council at a meeting of the authority’s planning committee on Wednesday 21 September. The scheme for student accommodation in Ealing is now subject to a Stage 2 report from the Greater London Authority (GLA) before its planning consent is formalised.

The Holbrook House scheme for student accommodation in Ealing will be located in the Mayor of London’s Old Oak & Park Royal Opportunity Area and is being designed by award-winning architects SimpsonHaugh and Partners. The new building will reach 24 storeys at its highest point and the plans will also deliver improved pedestrian access to North Acton station.

The design aims to contribute to the emerging context of the wider Opportunity Area, which will see thousands of new homes and jobs created over the next 30 years, but also to the site’s immediate surroundings. The building’s form is broken into three blocks, which will rise in scale from west to east, creating a marker for the Opportunity Area when viewed from a number of key approach routes.

The taller part of the scheme will be clad in a glass rain screen system. The glass panels will be arranged floor to floor in a thin vertical format with the back face of the glass panels painted in different colours, forming a rich pattern over the façade. The colour palette has been designed to complement the surroundings but also to act as a standalone marker for the junction of Victoria Road and Wales Farm Road.

The existing bedsits, maisonettes and retail units on-site will be demolished to make way for the new development.

The scheme commits to providing affordable student rents – with a proportion of the rooms available at a discounted rate – in order to meet new GLA Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) on student accommodation. It is the first student accommodation scheme in London that has been subject to the new guidance, which was published at the end of Boris Johnson’s tenure as mayor, earlier in 2016.

Once built, the site will be the second Downing Students building in North Acton. The company already owns and operates ‘The Lyra’ building on Portal Way, which offers 209 studio apartments for students studying at local institutions. The Lyra scheme operates a waiting list for students from local institutions looking for accommodation in North Acton, demonstrating the demand for beds in the local area.

“We welcome the decision taken by members of Ealing Planning Committee to approve our plans to redevelop Holbrook House. The proposals for the site demonstrate our commitment to delivering high-quality, well-designed student accommodation schemes in London and will go some way to tackling the huge shortfall of student beds in the capital.

“The site represents a significant investment in North Acton, building on our exciting development, ‘The Lyra’ building. We now look forward to working with Ealing Council, the GLA and the local community to get the accommodation delivered, so that we can welcome new students to the area as quickly as possible.”

Paul Houghton

Development Director at Downing

“In designing this new student accommodation with Downing, we had a responsibility to create a high quality landmark building which responded to both the ambitions for Old Oak & Park Royal Opportunity Area and the site’s immediate surroundings.

“We’ve achieved this through creating a colourful and visually interesting façade as well as through a three block form which rises in scale from west to east.”

Matthew Ayres

Partner at SimpsonHaugh and Partners