SOUTH ACTON ESTATEOver 100 council and housing association estates across London are under threat of demolition. Our research shows where they are.
South Acton estate
Number of homes under threat: 2100
Landlord: Ealing Council
Developer: Countryside Properties
Independent Resident Advisor: PEP
Ballot Status: Exempt
Planning Status: Approved
In Dec 2018, the Mayor approved the demolition of 2,100 homes at Ealing’s South Acton estate with all replacement ‘social’ housing at up to 80% of market rent.
The South Acton estate is Ealing’s and West London’s largest council estate with 2,100 homes spanning 52 hectares of land. These are accommodated in a range of principally medium to high rise blocks. The estate also provides shops, a youth club, a community centre, a nursery, school buildings and open space. One of the blocks on the estate, Harlech Tower is well known as the backdrop for the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
The estate is well served by transport links with nearby Acton Town, a major interchange for the District and Piccadilly lines, with links to Heathrow. On the southern boundary is South Acton railway station, a London Overground station running north through to Stratford and south to Richmond.
In Dec 2018, the Mayor approved the revised masterplan for the South Acton estate, with replacement ‘social’ housing to be provided at social rent or London Affordable Rent, but in fact the section 106 agreement allows either tenure to be provided at 80% market rent.
Shortly afterwards, the Mayor allocated funding to the scheme and exempted it from his requirement to ballot residents on the demolition of their homes.
Planning permission was granted for 2,350 new homes of which 796 will be social rent, albeit the planning consent’s Section 106 legal agreement defines ‘social rent’ as anything up to 80% market rent:
19 blocks were demolished in the first phase of the scheme and replacement homes are currently under construction. In 2018, Countryside and L&Q applied for a variation of the planning consent to increase the number of homes in subsequent phases to provide a total of 3,448 new homes in total.
The variation of the planning consent resulted in a variation to the s106 agreement’s definition of social rent which now appears to provide a choice between the provision of affordable rent of up to 80% market rent or the Mayor’s new London Affordable Rent tenure:
Ealing says that tenants will have a right to return to the redeveloped estate and leaseholders too. But the small print in Ealing’s shared equity offer to leaseholders requires them to invest their personal savings and take out a mortgage if they want to take up the offer (see para 2.2). This was deemed unlawful by the Secretary of State at the 2015 Aylesbury estate CPO inquiry and required Southwark to amend its policy.
In January 2021, Ealing Council commenced compulsory purchase proceedings to remove remaining leaseholders from the next phase of the scheme.
Mayor’s planning report for the 2018 revised masterplan: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/planning-applications-and-decisions/planning-application-search/acton-gardens-masterplan
Ealing’s planning documents for the original 2013 masterplan (first phase): https://pam.ealing.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=ZZZW7IJMTA900
Ealing’s planning documents for the revised 2018 masterplan: https://pam.ealing.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=P9JR5LJMI6Q00
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