1. How big is the site?

The Site is 1.85 hectares (4.57 acres) and comprises a 151,000 sqft office building, currently leased by Currys PLC (former Dixon Carphone PLC), as well as a private road and 225 car parking spaces. One Portal Way is the largest and most centrally-located site in North Acton and has the potential to be the new heart of the area – knitting together developments to form a new vibrant place.

2. What will happen to the tenant if your plans go ahead?

Whilst the tenant has announced their decision to relocate to smaller flexible offices elsewhere, we are committed to working with the tenant to help secure a meanwhile occupier to provide jobs and growth for the area and the Borough.

3. Wasn’t there already a consent for this site?

Yes, the previous owners of the site obtained planning permission in 2016 for their proposals for 764 homes as well as ground floor retail and amenities. The scheme comprised eight buildings of up to 32 storeys. However, we believe that more can be done to deliver benefits for North Acton including much more generous high quality open space improvements to the surrounding public realm, more homes (including for rent and affordable), new jobs and a mix of uses that better serve the community.

4. Why are you submitting new planning proposals?

While the existing consent creates a helpful context, the area has changed a lot in the last five years. We believe that the new development proposals would better reflect the current and future needs of local communities and would improve the relationship with neighbouring developments. As above, the new designs include much more generous high quality open space, improvements to the public realm more homes (including for rent and affordable), new jobs and a mix of uses that better serve the community.

5. Are you confident you will have sufficient demand for the commercial space in a post-COVID world?

With excellent public transport connections, the site could attract businesses, jobs and investment, especially since market trends are increasingly showing a growing demand for flexible, high quality office space. The proposals also have the potential to support West London’s growing tech and innovation cluster, which Imperial is at the heart of with its innovation district in White City. The scheme could provide new and affordable places for the capital’s current and future innovators to live, work and play.

6. How will this impact local infrastructure?

As part of our planning application, we have submitted a full evaluation of local transport and infrastructure. The site is located very close to North Acton Station (Central Line) and Acton Main Line Station (Elizabeth Line). The site will also be served by a HS2 station at Old Oak once completed. The proposals include a number of disabled parking spaces. The significant reduction in parking spaces compared to the existing provision on the site will encourage the use of public transport and green modes of travelling, wherever possible.

7. How much parking space are you providing?

Our plans will prioritise cycling and walking, including – where possible – improvements to the roads around the site to make journeys by active travel safer. The proposed plans will include 45 car parking spaces for disabled residents and car club. This number is significantly smaller than the existing number of spaces on the site and the number of spaces in the existing planning consent.

8. How will you stop people from parking on the street?

The planning authorities promote car-free developments in locations such as this and this is a trend we are seeing more of throughout London as well. Under planning conditions this means that new residents would not be able to apply for a parking permit and would therefore be fined if they parked on neighbouring roads. The site also benefits from excellent public transport links, with a PTAL rating of 5. Therefore, we expect a lot of our future residents to be using public transport to get around.

9. Is there a need for more housing in the area?

The housing crisis in London, and across the country, is well documented: the lack of sufficient numbers of new homes results in high house prices and rents. As a result, the London Plan sets a target of over half a million new homes to be built over 10 years, of which 20,000 are to be built in Ealing and close to 14,000 within the OPDC. One Portal Way can play a small but important part towards meeting those goals.

10. Are you building student accommodation?

We have recently made some amendments to the proposals. The amended plans submitted in April 2023 allow for either co-living or student accommodation in one of the buildings (building F). This is in response to Imperial’s growing requirement for high-quality purpose-built student accommodation to support those studying at the university.

11. How tall will the new buildings be?

We are proposing seven new buildings on the site, which vary in height. The three tallest buildings on each corner of the site will be 55, 50 and 50 storeys. No taller than the neighbouring buildings in North Acton – approved and under construction – the tallest of which is 57 storeys.

12. How much open space will the development provide?

The proposed development will provide 1.85 acres of public realm and open space designed by landscape architects West8. The open space will include play space, flexible entertainment and events spaces, sitting areas, undulating topography to create vistas and interesting features as well as high quality and diverse planting.

The proposals also include the planting of 200 trees including mature trees.

13. What amendments to the proposals were made in April 2023.

The changes to the proposals were for:

  • A second staircase has been added to the three tallest buildings (Building A, C & E) following feedback from the London Fire Brigade.
  • Either co-living or student accommodation within one building – Building F.
  • Revised basement design and arrangement.
  • Improved energy efficiency due to an updated façade design of the three tallest residential buildings (Building A, C & E) to meet updated Building Regulations (Part L and Part O).
  • A minor amendment to the planning red line boundary, which marks the boundary of the site.
14. Have the amendments altered the number of homes and jobs delivered through the proposals?

The amendments result in no change to the height of the three buildings or the number of homes and jobs. The amendments only result in small changes to the massing and width of the buildings.

Overall, the application still proposes to deliver new green public space, homes, workspace, shops and community spaces, which was developed following three phases of extensive consultation with our local community in North Acton and Park Royal before submission.

15. What changes have you made which relate to fire safety?

A second staircase has been added to the three tallest buildings (A, C & E) following feedback from the London Fire Brigade.

16. Will there be more public consultation?

Our pre-submission public consultation is now complete, with two phases which lasted from May-June and July-September 2021. A planning application was then submitted in November 2021.

We have recently made some amends to the application (April 2023) and have written to key stakeholders and other interested parties to inform them of the changes.  

The updated plans are available to view on the OPDC planning register, by searching the application reference number 21/0181/OUTOPDC. A statutory consultation period will be undertaken, giving the public the opportunity to comment on the submitted amendments.

Imperial is committed to engaging with the local community during the planning process and beyond. If you would like to be kept updated on the progress of the project, please email us on oneportalway@londoncommunications.co.uk and we will add you to our mailing list. If you would like to make comments on the application, this can be made on the planning portal by searching for the reference number 21/0181/OUTOPDC. A direct link to the application is here You can also email the OPDC planning team at planningapplications@opdc.london.gov.uk.