1. How big is the site?
The Site is 1.85 hectares (4.57 acres) and comprises a 151,000 sqft office building, currently used as the headquarters of 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 Currys if your plans go ahead?
While Currys (former Dixons Carphone) have announced their decision to relocate to smaller flexible offices elsewhere, we are committed to working with Currys 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 760 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 open space, better daylight, more homes (including for rent and affordable), new jobs and other 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 and we believe that the new development proposals would better reflect the current and future needs of local communities and would create better relations with the neighbouring developments. The new designs include much more generous open space, better daylight, more homes (including for rent and affordable), new jobs and other uses that better serve the community.
5. Are you confident you will have sufficient demand for the commercial space in a post-COVID world?
Covid has seen a shift in home working, as well as more of a focus on enriching local communities.
With excellent public transport connections, North Acton could easily be positioned to attract the best businesses, jobs and investment, especially since market trends are increasingly showing a growing demand for flexible, high quality office space outside of the city centre.
The proposals also have the potential to support West London’s growing tech and innovation cluster, which Imperial is at the heart of. Although we are not proposing a new education campus at One Portal Way, 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 will be submitting a full evaluation of local transport and infrastructure.
It should, however, be mentioned that the site is located very close to Crossrail station at Acton Main Line Station and HS2 station at Old Oak and the proposals include but a small number of parking spaces, to 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 crossing safer. The proposed plans will include 115 car parking spaces for disabled residents, retail, operations 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?
As you are undoubtedly aware, the site benefits from excellent public transport links, with a PTAL rating of 6a – the best possible rating in London. Therefore we expect a lot of our future residents to be using public transport to get around.
9. If the proposals do not get approved, will you still build out the original masterplan?
10. When would the new proposal be built?
At this point in time we can only provide an indicative timetable, based on a potential planning permission granted by Ealing Council in 2022.
Should that be the case, Imperial and Frame are ready to start construction on the first phase in 2024 (allowing time for Dixons to relocate to a new HQ building) with completion of the first buildings in 2027.
11. 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 OPDC. One Portal Way can play a small but important part towards meeting those goals.
12. Are you building more student halls?
Student halls don’t form part of our plans at the moment. We would like One Portal Way to be as diverse as possible, catering to many different types of people – young and not-so-young, renters and buyers, living alone or in larger households. Since the area already has significant amount of student accommodation, our preference is to focus on other groups.
13. 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 this year. A planning application has been submitted, and is available to view on the OPDC’s planning register here, by searching for the reference number 21/0181/OUTOPDC. A direct link to the application is here.
Imperial College London 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 email@example.com and we will add you to our mailing list.
14. 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.