The Portal on Wales Farm Road will contain 350 flats
A visualisation of the building shown next to the Castle pub
Plans for a 36-storey residential tower block to be called The Portal with “improved” affordable housing in Acton have been approved by Ealing councillors.
The 350 flats will be built on land at Wales Farm Road and Portal Way – a short walk from North Acton underground station.
The development lies within the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation Area which has been targeted for 24,000 homes and 55,000 new jobs in the district.
The land has been unused since 1999, and the council’s planning report signals the authority’s support for bringing the site back into use.
It adds: “The council is also supportive of the contribution it will make to the regeneration of North Acton and the wider strategically important opportunity area.
“The proposed development will make efficient use of this
brownfield site and the improved affordable housing offer will contribute significantly to the delivery of high quality, genuinely affordable housing that is located in a highly sustainable location with access to excellent public transport connections and job opportunities.”
The site where the 36 storey tower will be built. Picture: Google Streetview
The 0.37-hectare site will host communal gardens, play areas and roof terraces, as well as an indoor cinema, gym and club room. Private balconies will be built for 42 per cent of the properties.
One-bedroom flats make up the highest proportion of proposed flats at 40 per cent, while three-bedroom flats are the lowest at 6 per cent of the total.
The plans were given the green light at Ealing’s Planning Committee meeting on October 21.
Asked why the low number of three-bedroom flats was considered acceptable by Cllr Joanna Dabrowska, officers said it was the best offer in terms of numbers of homes from the applicant.
Map showing The Portal along with other buildings planned in North Acton
One member of the committee, Conservative group leader cllr Greg Stafford opposed the development, while the further 12 approved it.
Cllr Stafford said: “I’m very concerned we still seem to be building studio and one-bedroom flats in this borough when we really need family accommodation.
“The building is extraordinarily tall, I still have concerns we’re still building the rabbit hutches in the sky rather than the family homes this borough needs so I do have concerns about this scheme.”
The scheme was originally brought to Ealing Council in 2016 and approved the following year, however the Greater London Authority retrospectively decided to demand more affordable housing in the plan.
Residents will be able to dine on a rooftop terrace
Commenting on the scheme, Lib Dem councillor Jon Ball added: “The fact this has come back to us does indicate we need to be more aggressive in negotiating with developers in general.
“However in terms of this one we did approve the original scheme and since then the affordable offer has got better so it does seem we’d be gravely at risk of appeal if we were to refuse this scheme which is slightly better than the one we let in the first place.”
The initial plan of 355 homes with 116 affordable homes at discounted market rents at 80 per cent, was therefore changed to 118 affordable homes out of 350 flats.
They are a mixture of London living rent, London affordable rent and discounted market rents at 75 per cent and 80 per cent. It was explained while the affordable housing proportion has stayed at 35 per cent of the development, the conditions of the homes has “significantly improved”.
November 5, 2020