The new housing secretary makes a stop at Acton Gardens
Accompanied by Dr Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, he was taken on a tour of the development led by Iain McPherson, Chief Executive, Partnerships South, Countryside and David Montague, Chief Executive of L&Q and Tony Clements, Executive Director of Ealing Council.
The tour began with an overview of the scheme and was followed by meetings with local residents, a tour of the development, discussion with some of the apprentices working on site, and conversations with community groups.
The housing secretary took the opportunity to understand the inclusive approach Countryside, one of the UK’s leading homebuilders, L&Q, one of the UK’s leading charitable housing associations, and Ealing Council have taken in regenerating the former South Acton estate. This included discussing how design has influenced the way in which the homes have been created and also the importance of the landscaped gardens, courtyards and urban parks to create spaces for local people to live, work and play.
Since starting work in 2011 with over 1,800 households, 24 community groups, two schools, churches, a community centre and various clubs, Countryside and L&Q have been progressing a major community development programme as well as building new homes and community facilities. Once completed, the 18-year project will deliver 3,463 high-quality, tenure-blind homes of which 50% are for either social rent or intermediate home ownership tenure.
Acton Gardens will host at least 1,250 socially rented homes and almost a third more affordable housing than existed before the regeneration began. This will help hundreds of local people onto the housing ladder for the first time.
The local community has played an integral role in the development of the scheme. During the entire course of works, regeneration methods are continuously being evolved to suit the status of the project and needs of the community and this is being measured biannually through large-scale social impact surveys.
Once completed in around 2028, Acton Gardens will have transformed the former South Acton estate not only with award-winning, high-quality homes but also with a state-of-the-art community centre, a new youth club, retail outlets, incubator office space, a nursery, a dental surgery and neighbourhood office. Residents’ needs, and health and wellbeing have been at the forefront of the regeneration programme and, therefore, close community consultation has been prioritised from the outset.
Iain McPherson, Chief Executive, Partnerships South, Countryside, commented: “We are thrilled to have welcomed Robert Jenrick to Acton Gardens to experience this flourishing community in South Acton. The development is transforming this once overlooked area of West London, serving the needs of both existing and new residents. The regeneration programme is now gaining real momentum with 1,055 homes and 11,617 sq ft of community facilities completed to date with over 660 homes under construction, delivering around 300 homes each year.”
David Montague, Group Chief Executive at L&Q, added: “It was fantastic to have welcomed the new Secretary of State to visit Acton Gardens earlier this month. With quality affordable homes, generous open spaces and community facilities for everyone to use and enjoy, this scheme will make a real positive difference to people’s lives.
“At the end of the day, everything comes down to people. We are proud to be a part of the thriving community at Acton Gardens, and look forward to working closely with residents as we continue this exciting journey together.”
Tony Clements, Ealing Council’s Executive Director of Place, said: “We have a long-term, ambitious vision for the former South Acton estate which benefits both our tenants and the wider community. In 2009 we appointed Countryside and L&Q to develop Acton Gardens to provide great new homes and a fantastic neighbourhood. That vision is now being realised, with more affordable homes than before and a new home for every existing tenant that wants one. This is part of Ealing’s drive to deliver 2,500 genuinely affordable homes across the borough within the next three years.”