Leafy and respectable Ealing proclaimed itself the “Queen of Suburbs” in the 1880s. Today, the bustling Broadway is more like Oxford Street, but while other areas have seen big demographic changes and swings in fashion and status, Ealing has remained largely the same, with a middle class old guard, an enviable Common and tree-lined spacious streets.
Fashionable apartment living could be a game changer for Ealing
Dickens Yard, a town centre regeneration scheme bringing 698 new flats, is of this year’s biggest launches. The development introduces a fresh ingredient - a Docklands’ style complex of homes overlooking public squares and pedestrianised lanes brought to life with shops, restaurants, markets and street theatre.
Fashionable apartment living - the sort that exists on the Fulham and Putney waterfronts - could be a game changer for Ealing, attracting urbanites who previously dismissed this outer-London location despite the decent transport links.
Crossrail could cement the change. When the new east-west line is up and running in 2017, travelling times to Bond Street, the City (Farringdon station) and Canary Wharf will be almost halved (to 15, 20 and 29 minutes respectively). Five stations in Ealing borough are due to be upgraded and served by Crossrail, and the council is in the forefront of Boris Johnson’s cycling initiative enhancing routes and links around train stations.
Belgravia Apartments, the first phase of Dickens Yard, start at £279,950, within first-time buyer range, and come with a package of extras - 24-hour concierge, underground parking and residents’ only gym. A smart hotel-like entrance foyer provides a sense of arrival, and the scheme dovetails with surrounding heritage buildings, which include Ealing’s gothic-style town hall, a Victorian church and a fine 1930s fire station. Call developer St George on 020 8568 1100.
Creatives types are putting down roots in this part of west London because of the revival of Ealing Studios
A 26-storey “penny whistle” lookalike skyscraper by Ealing Broadway station designed by Lord Foster was vetoed by ministers before the last general election but is backed by the London mayor and may still see the light of day in some shape or form. Meanwhile, redevelopment of Ealing’s Green Man Lane council estate will create another 700 new homes - for rent, shared ownership and outright sale. A “new” neighbourhood has been designed by architect Conran & Partners, with developer Rydon and A2 Dominion providing the housing.
Ealing is “home” to a good many Heathrow workers and BBC employees based at White City (both Central and Piccadilly lines serve the area). Creatives types are now also putting down roots in this part of west London because of the revival of Ealing Studios, famous for the classic comedies made there in the 1950s. Recent productions include Downtown Abbey and St Trinians.
Redevelopment by Manhattan Loft Corporation is creating 270,000 sq ft more space, including post production suites and rehearsal rooms plus facilities for digital media companies.
Ealing feels a planet away from neighbouring Acton, a grittier place packed with young renters and buyers. But here too there are prettier pockets where regeneration is making a difference. The Park House, going up on the corner of Horn Lane and Rosemont Road, has apartments in five-storey blocks with balconies overlooking Springfield Gardens, an open green space, and is only a five-minute walk from the Tube. Prices start at £250,000. Call Barratt on 020 8326 7292.