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Contentious Ealing Crossrail station approved by planners

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Ealing Council has given the go-ahead for Bennetts Associates’ reworked Crossrail station at Ealing Broadway, despite complaints the application had been rushed through

Local campaigners had protested against plans by Ealing Council to consider the application during the height of the holiday season due to the number of people away on holiday - and before the public exhibition of the plans was due to be held in September.

Earlier this week Save Ealing’s Centre sent out an urgent appeal stating: ‘We are very unhappy about Crossrail’s decision. LBE had previously told us that comments from the exhibition would be considered as part of the consultation.’

The new station at Ealing Broadway underwent a redesign after opponents, including Richard Rogers, warned that the £15billion infrastructure project would fail to deliver a design legacy which would live up to the UK’s ‘great railway heritage’.

Since then architects, Bennetts Associates, has overseen adaptations to the Ealing station design which included improvements to the station entrance to ease access around the station and the inclusion of a larger canopy to cover the entire forecourt.

The revised station includes a ticket hall which is approximately double the size of the existing hall, four lifts and a long timber and steel canopy running the length of the forecourt which ‘reflects the prominence and importance of the station building’, according to Crossrail.

The application also covers remodelled staircases, platform canopies, waiting room and control building, extended platforms and a footbridge at the eastern end of the station.

However, despite the changes, Rogers renewed his criticism after it was revealed that Bennetts is to be replaced by exectuive architect Pascall+Watson on Ealing Broadway and 13 other stations on the Crossrail project (see AJ 23.07.14).

Speaking about the decision leader of Ealing Council Julian Bell said: ‘The arrival of Crossrail will bring wide-ranging benefits to our borough, including major improvements to Ealing Broadway station.

‘The council worked closely with Crossrail to achieve a very high quality design for the station including plans for a whole new station forecourt with a stunning canopy that I believe will create a fitting gateway to Ealing town centre and set the design standards for other developments around the station.’

Matthew White, Crossrail Surface Director, said: ‘Crossrail will provide a step change in public transport for people in Ealing - better stations, new trains and faster journeys.

‘Now that our plans for Ealing Broadway are moving forward, we will continue to liaise with local people as the detail of the designs for the station is developed. We will also be working hard to make sure that the station improvements are made with the absolute minimum of disruption to local people and businesses.’

Work on the station is due to start in the summer of 2015 and is expected to take 18 months to complete.

Previous story: (AJ 12.08.14) New row erupts over Ealing’s Crossrail station plans

A fresh row has broken out over controversial proposals for a West London Crossrail station after it emerged that the local council will consider the plans this week – the height of the holiday season

Plans for the highly congested Ealing Broadway station have become the focus of a row over design since Richard Rogers warned last year that the £15billion rail project would fail to live up to the country’s ‘great railway heritage’.

Architect Bennetts Associates has since overseen changes to the scheme which were hailed as a ‘major improvement’.

However, Rogers renewed his criticism of Crossrail last month after learning that Bennetts is due to be replaced by another firm, Pascal & Watson, on Ealing Broadway and 13 other stations under the scheme’s design and build contract.

Ealing Council’s planning committee was due to consider whether to approve the plans under schedule 7 of the Crossrail Act on Wednesday evening, as AJ went to press.

In a letter to the council sent on Tuesday, spokesman for local pressure group Save Ealing Centre, Will French, said the group was ‘deeply unhappy’ with the timing.

He wrote: ‘We learned late in the day the plans would be discussed now, in the middle of August, when so many people are away…we find it hard to understand why the plans seem to be being smuggled through at this time.’

A spokeswoman for Ealing council said: ‘The council ran a five week consultation following the submission of the revised plans to give residents the opportunity to contribute their views.’

Previous story (AJ 02.06.14)

Bennetts reveals ‘hugely improved’ designs for Ealing Broadway station

A new ‘landmark’ station for Ealing Broadway in west London has been revealed by Bennetts Associates and its client Crossrail

Bennetts is working for Crossrail on designs for 13 ‘surface stations’ in west London including Ealing Broadway and was given a new brief for the busy station after complaints last year that its initial scheme was too limited amid a wider row over Crossrail’s commitment to design quality outside of central London.

Since then, Bennetts has been working closely with parties including Ealing Council and its architect HOK to revise the scheme and last month presented its ‘hugely improved’ plans to MPs and local figures including planner Peter Hall (AJ 01.05.2014).

The station now includes a ticket hall twice the size of the existing one, four lifts and a long timber and steel canopy running the length of the forecourt which ‘reflects the prominence and importance of the station building’, according to Crossrail.

Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council said: ‘Crossrail decided to completely re-think its plans and responded constructively to the design observations we put forward. We are confident that the revised station plans will create a building which works better for people and is of a scale and appearance that benefits Ealing as west London’s premier town centre. ‘

“The council is also currently finalising further plans which will transform the entire area around the station, as well as improve safety and transport links, and upgrade the look and feel of the area. These plans will be announced shortly.’

Last month renowned planner and local resident Peter Hall, who was critical of Bennetts’ initial designs, said the revised plans marked a ‘huge improvement in several different ways’ and that the practice had ‘almost cracked the problem’ (see below).

Previous story (AJ 01.05.14)

Bennetts puts forward ‘hugely improved’ designs for Ealing Broadway station

Bennetts Associates has drawn up ‘hugely improved’ designs for one of London’s key suburban Crossrail stations.

Bennetts director Julian Lipscombe presented the firm’s latest designs for Ealing Broadway station to local figures at a meeting at Portcullis House hosted by the Tory MP for Ealing Central and Acton, Angie Bray, last Thursday.

Bennetts is working for Crossrail on designs for 13 surface stations, including Ealing Broadway. The latest development comes amid an ongoing row over the £15 billion project’s commitment to design quality outside of central London.

Last Thursday’s meeting, which was attended by London’s deputy mayor for transport, Isabel Dedring, follows renewed lobbying of the mayor’s office by figures including Richard Rogers, who last December warned Crossrail was set to produce poorly designed stations that would fail to live up to Britain’s ‘great railway heritage’.

Bennetts’ new design features an enlarged frontage with wider roof, supported by columns cantilevered towards the street.

Renowned planner and local resident Peter Hall, who attended the meeting, said: ‘I thought the new design was a huge improvement in several different ways and has almost cracked the problem.’ Hall added that he and other residents now wished to see Ealing Council and Crossrail push through further changes, including better integration with the public realm.

The meeting follows a letter to Dedring from Hall and Rogers calling for a transformation of the station, which they described as west London’s ‘major transport hub’.The letter called the current station a ‘brutal, soulless and shameful gateway’ and pointed out that Crossrail’s initial plans envisaged passenger numbers increasing by up to 70 per cent ‘without a significant increase in facilities’.

Rogers did not attend the latest meeting but told the AJ he was now more optimistic about Crossrail design. He said: ‘People are beginning to talk about design and heritage. Ealing is not a “back door” but a very important place, and this needs to be a very good piece of design. I think Rab Bennetts and Bennetts Associates can do it.’

A spokesman for Bennetts said: ‘We and our client Crossrail have been working closely with Ealing Council and its architectural advisers to make significant changes to the initial station design submitted last year.  Initial feedback has been positive, but further refinement and consultation is ongoing.’

Last week a new report on Crossrail regeneration by the Future of London think-tank called for an insistence on ‘high-quality station and public realm design’ and for a formal design review to be considered on all station proposals.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • If 'hugely improved' doesn't include provision of escalators for a transport hub as busy as this then there's something far wrong with the procedure - it's quite simply substandard.

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