'Fun Day' Held to Mark Completion of First Phase of Friary Park

Local MP and Deputy Mayor join residents at event

Much more building to come in the development. Picture: Parri Thomas

May 3, 2023

Residents of Friary Park were recently invited to a community fun day to mark the completion of the first phase of the controversial development.

Organised by the Peabody housing association, which has recently acquired Catalyst, and its development partner, Mount Anvil, there was a range of activities for all ages, including face painting, free ice cream and nature-themed arts and crafts.

A Caribbean lunch, which was cooked fresh by Earth Living - a business owned by a Friary Park resident. The day ended with performances from a magician, balloonist, and steel pan band at the Friary Park Community Centre.

London Bike Hub was also on hand throughout the day to offer bike servicing tips for residents and to demonstrate its smoothie bike, which uses pedal power to blend smoothies.

Invited dignitaries included local MP Rupa Huq and Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, Tom Copley, . He said afterwards, “Friary Park is undergoing a hugely exciting transformation and this event was a great way to celebrate the completion of its first phase. The residents have been at the heart of this project, which is delivering green spaces and a new community centre alongside much-needed affordable homes – all of which will make a real difference to the lives of those who live here.”

In total, the development could provide 1,228 new housing units around a quarter of which would be classed as genuinely affordable (social rent or London Affordable Rent).

Nocketa Miller, founder of Earth Living said, “I was the first resident to move over to the new development. Although I was nervous, I was really excited at the same time to move into my new home. I decided to stay here at Friary Park because the community feels like a family to me and it’s the place I call home.

“My business partner Michelle and I founded Earth Living during the pandemic - a social enterprise providing home cooked Caribbean food. We founded Earth Living on one bag of rice and one box of chicken, feeding homeless and elderly people. Now we do even more - it's much more demanding but I love it.

“Alongside the love and support I get from Earth Living and the community, I get a lot of love from Peabody - another reason I decided to stay. Mount Anvil and Peabody are supporting residents a lot with moving in. My move went smoothly, and my new flat is really homely.

“The team here is amazing, especially at the community centre. If it wasn’t for everyone here, I don’t know what would happen to me. The community keeps me afloat.”

The developers say that all the new flats will have access to private outdoor space and two acres of biodiverse green space will be provided. Mount Anvil and Peabody have partnered with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew to design a series of courtyard gardens, woodland pockets, and an eco-walk.

The community centre where the event was held will be replaced by a new facility, which will be 47 percent larger.

Residents outside the current Friary Park Community Centre
Residents outside the current Friary Park Community Centre. Picture: Parri Thomas

Annemarie Fenlon, Managing Director for Northwest London at Peabody, said, “This was a fantastic opportunity to join with members of the community to thank people for helping to shape their new neighbourhood and to celebrate the completion of their new homes.

“We are committed to delivering much-needed affordable homes in Acton, and across the city, while helping growing families in need of family-sized homes get the space they need.

“But just as important to us is the need for community spaces where people can gather to have fun and socialise. We look forward to opening the new and improved community centre in the heart of Friary Park.”

However, the scheme is not universally popular with residents of the area with many unhappy with the height and density of the development and unconvinced adequate amenity space has been provided for residents.

The later phase of the project had to be redesigned due to a change in the regulations that required a second staircase to be provided in tall buildings following the Grenfell Tower. The Cap the Towers group was unhappy that, despite significant changes to the plans and reservations expressed by London Fire Brigade over fire safety, a new full application was not required by Ealing Council.

The second phase of the development begins this spring with planning permission already granted, with the new flats expected to be ready for occupancy in 2025. The full project is expected by Peabody and Mount Anvil to be complete by 2027.

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