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Allies and Morrison to rework Ealing Arcadia site

Three years after Foster + Partners tower proposal was scrapped, new landowner revives prospects for Ealing site, writes Merlin Fulcher

Allies and Morrison has become the latest architect lined up to take on the troubled regeneration of the Arcadia site in Ealing.

The appointment of the Southwark-based studio comes nearly three years after the previous government’s communities secretary, John Denham, rejected Foster + Partners’ and HKR’s skyscraper proposal for the west London town centre in December 2009 (pictured below).

Foster's and HKR's scheme for the regeneration of the Arcadia shopping centre in Ealing, west London

Foster’s and HKR’s previous scheme for the regeneration of the Arcadia shopping centre in Ealing, west London

Previous developer Glenkerrin had spent three years in planning and £10 million on fees drawing up the earlier scheme, which won the backing of Ealing Council and London mayor Boris Johnson, but was later vetoed by Denham for its ‘dominant and overbearing impact’ on the townscape.

New landowner Benson Elliot has now appointed Allies and Morrison to work up a phased development for the site.

The developer purchased the high-profile plot – which includes the Arcadia shopping centre and several high street retail units – from Glenkerrin’s joint administrators last month. Visualisations of proposals have yet to be revealed.

Benson Elliot partner Phil Irons said: ‘This is a great opportunity to revitalise a key part of Ealing’s town centre and we look forward to working with Ealing Council and the local community to realise its potential.’ 

Malcolm Shierson, of administrator Grant Thornton, added: ‘This is a strategically important site for Ealing and we are pleased to have found a purchaser whose aspirations for the asset are aligned with its potential.’

The £500 million scheme initially masterminded by HKR and John Pardey featured a 40-storey, leaf-shaped structure which was redesigned by Foster + Partners following criticism from CABE. Foster’s 26-storey slimline version of the tower was unveiled in 2008.

Crossrail is expected to halve commuter times from Ealing to Central London when the new line opens in 2018, adding impetus to the project.

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