Landmark West Ealing 100% affordable residential project wins Appeal highlighting ‘exemplary design’


A landmark 20 storey 100% affordable residential tower in West Ealing, London has been granted approval on Appeal, with the Inspector praising the ‘exemplary design.’

The development – 55 West – will provide 144 affordable apartments, with split level ground floor amenity and communal spaces. 50 of the homes will be London Living Rent and 94 will be Shared Ownership.  

DMWR Architects was appointed by developer Southern Grove and Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing to prepare a detailed Planning Application for the landmark building in a highly sustainable, brownfield location adjacent to West Ealing Crossrail station.

Following previous attempts by others for a 26-storey tower, DMWR was asked to put forward a fresh approach. Through intelligent and efficient planning, a significantly lower design was conceived, losing seven storeys but only five residential units. 

The design evolved through detailed consultation process with the local community, London Borough of Ealing and the GLA.

Jeff Stokes, Director of DMWR Architects said, “We are extremely pleased that the planning inspector has overturned the original decision and granted permission for this much needed 100% affordable residential development. We have worked closely with Southern Grove and MTVH over a two-year period, developing a design concept, which has involved through extensive consultation and has led to the Inspector describing the scheme as ‘’an exemplary piece of design that would make a positive contribution to the area.”  

The conclusion of the report stated:

“The proposal would deliver one hundred and forty-four units of much needed affordable housing in a tall building of exemplary design that would have no harmful impact on the character or appearance of the area, or the setting and thereby the significance of heritage assets. On that basis, it would optimise rather than maximise the use of the site.” 

Tom Slingsby, CEO of Southern Grove, said: “We couldn’t be happier with the design of 55 West.” 

“In a world where developments often look identical, 55 West has character, texture and personality in abundance. It really raises the bar for affordable housing everywhere and just shows that it can be accessible and aspirational all at the same time, with no compromise. If considered design like this is viable in London on a fully affordable scheme, there’s no excuse for any developer to create mundane and uninspirational architecture anywhere in the country.”

Horizontal and vertical banding was used in the design to create a layered and distinctive, elegant form while a robust pallet of three brick shades articulate different elements within the façade, including a darker brick ‘shadow gap’ to separate the tower and shoulder buildings. Both winter gardens and balconies were placed on the extremities of the floorplates to reduce the building’s silhouette and make the most of the views across London. The scheme also benefits from large rooftop amenity and various carbon reducing initiatives, exceeding GLA requirements.  

Work is expected to start on site in early 2022. 

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