NEW HOMES: THE WEST LONDON BOOM
The east-west rail link broadens the appeal of this huge borough beyond a few leafy urban villages, reports Emily Wright
HEAD west from anywhere in central London and you are pretty likely to hit Ealing. A vast 13,590acre expanse covering three postcodes, it is one of the capital’s best-known bookend boroughs, second only to Hillingdon as an outermost city boundary.
The Ealing border starts just north of Chiswick, runs up past Hammersmith, skims Willesden Junction in the north east, snakes across beyond Northolt then down to Norwood Green in the south west. But despite the borough’s size, home buyers have for years focused their attention on its leafy heartlands of Northfields, South Ealing and Ealing Common.
LIZZIE LINE’S A GAME CHANGER
Such a targeted approach to buying property in this area made sense up until recently. These small, villagestyle pockets — complete with green space, good schools, independent coffee shops and prices hovering at just under £800,000 for a family home — have long been considered perfect overspill locations for the neighbouring, and far pricier, districts of Chiswick and Kew. However, thanks to Crossrail, the area’s appeal has never looked so broad. The eastwest Elizabeth line rail route will run straight through the heart of the borough with stations at Acton, Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hanwell and Southall.
From Acton in the east, where property agent JLL predicts house prices will double by 2020 thanks to the anticipated arrival of the line, to Southall in the west where homes are on sale for as little as £ 240,000 according to research by Estates Gazette, there are emerging opportunities for most tastes and budgets. With a new breed of retailer including high-end high street fashion store Jigsaw, Vapiano restaurant and Planet Organic supermarket moving into the area for the new homes buyers taking advantage of the forthcoming transport upgrades, the whole borough is benefiting from an uplift.
“Thanks to the Elizabeth line, there is no good reason why Ealing and Acton could not become as popular in the west as Farringdon and Clerkenwell in the east,” says David Rosen, senior partner at creative London property agent Pilcher Hershman. “I always say the sign of a good area is ‘good architecture and Tube stations’ and in Ealing’s case it’s ‘architecture and the Elizabeth line’.”
Rosen’s mention of good architecture here is noteworthy. Apart from an abundance of streets lined with three- and four-bedroom, red-brick family homes priced £800,000 to
£1.5 million according to Rightmove, the design ante in the area is being boosted by some striking new developments. Schemes such as Filmworks which, following the redevelopment of the old Empire Cinema, will become an Art Deco-fronted, mixed-use project with 200 homes and an eight-screen cinema. With Crossrail, it will be 11 minutes from Oxford Street and there’s already a Night Tube service. Prices have yet to be released, but you can register an interest with developer St George on 020 8003 3927.
Dickens Yard, also by St George and near Ealing Broadway station, is by urban architect John Thompson & Partners and framed by historical landmarks such as the Town Hall, Christ the Saviour Church and the Old Fire Station. This “new urban quarter” will include 700 new homes as part of a wider 104,000sq ft, mixed-use scheme. Two-bedroom flats start at £960,000.
As part of the £166 million regeneration of the Green Man Lane estate, new flats start at £425,000 for a one-bedroom home at Fabrica and Rydon’s
Jigsaw in West Ealing. But for those who really want to get their foot in the door early, Berkeley’s Southall Water
side project is one to watch. No prices are available yet. The regeneration of this gasworks site is planned over 25 years and will create 3,750 new homes and 40 acres of public space including two new parks.
There is no doubt that the impending transport upgrade will put Ealing in a position to rival pretty much every other London borough for connectivity, so residential developers are piling in to take full advantage of the district’s expanding appeal. When up and running by the end of 2019, the Elizabeth line — already being nicknamed the Lizzie line — will take the journey time from Ealing Broadway to Bond Street down from 22 minutes to 11, to Canary Wharf from 43 minutes to 25 and to Heathrow airport down from 24 minutes to 15.
The same routes from Acton will see times reduced respectively from 27 minutes to nine, from 42 minutes to 23 and from 44 minutes to just 17.
Go downstairs for a night out: Filmworks in New Broadway, above, will have 200 flats and an eight-screen cinema behind the retained Art Deco façade. Call developer St George (020 8003 3927)
Developers are piling in: Ealing Broadway shopping centre, right, was bought by British Land
Left: prestigious new “urban quarter” Dickens Yard, near Ealing Broadway Tube and historic Christ the Saviour Church, is set to benefit from Crossrail and brings new homes, shops and public space
From £425,000: a one-bedroom flat at Jigsaw, right, in West Ealing, by Fabrica and Rydon (020 3393 0887)
Right: Victoria Square in Dickens Yard. Two-bedroom flats in the new quarter start at £960,000
Elizabeth line: the east-west rail route’s Ealing stops include Southall, right. Journey times to central London and Heathrow will be slashed in this good-value part of the borough