New London Architecture

Ealing’s plan-led approach to tall buildings.

Monday 17 June 2024

Mandar Puranik

Head of Regeneration and Economic Renewal
London Borough of Ealing

Mandar Puranik, head of Ealing Borough's Regeneration Team, discusses the borough's significant growth and development, including tall buildings, over the past decade.

Over the last decade, Ealing has seen significant levels of growth and development activity, including tall buildings, partly influenced the borough’s unrivalled connectivity with five new Elizabeth line stations. However, some local communities have been rightly concerned about the impact of tall buildings on local character. As we were embarking on preparation of the new Local Plan in 2021, in setting out a fresh approach, it was important for us to learn lessons, address community concerns but also work with developers who share the council plan ambitions and have long term interest in Ealing.  

Ealing Council commissioned an Ealing Character Study and Housing Design Guide to form the robust evidence alongside host of other studies and published the Tall Building Strategy  (November 2022). Prepared by Allies and Morrison, it defines appropriate locations for tall buildings based on suitability and sensitivity of these locations. Furthermore, each appropriate location within Ealing’s town includes zones with height threshold guidance to provide certainty to developers and reduce lengthy pre-application negotiations. The design guidance published promotes a gentle density, where tall buildings are part of the solution. They need to form part of a wider placemaking strategy, set within high quality public realm, best exemplified at Greenford Quays developed by Greystar. 

The council engaged extensively with the local community during 2022-23 as part of the public and stakeholder consultation on Initial Proposals (Regulation 18). It has since undertaken further design analysis to test the impact of tall buildings. The council’s Final Proposals (Regulation 19) demonstrates our plan-led approach. Future proposals for tall new buildings are mainly restricted to specified sites and particular heights. The council welcomes good growth and development, evidenced by there being 82 Development Sites allocated in the Local Plan. Of those, 35 are considered potentially suitable for a taller element, including 23 have a maximum threshold height of 10 storeys or more with almost half of these located in the Ealing Metropolitan Town Centre. The maximum tall buildings threshold height is simply that and not a presumption that any height up to this is automatically acceptable. Such proactive and evidence led approach gives a message of welcoming tall buildings at right locations and resisting speculative applications on unidentified sites.
Alongside the plan making, it is critical to ensure the highest quality design, professional scrutiny and community involvement when determining current tall building applications. To this effect, in 2022, Ealing Council set up Ealing Design Review Panel (DRP) and Community Review Panel. It is in its third year, the DRP has reviewed over 30 tall buildings, delivering a clear step change in the overall design quality outcomes. One such notable scheme was the British Land’s Broadway Connection project in Ealing Broadway which achieves a careful balance between the heritage, retention of the existing fabric and providing a contemporary commercial space. 

Lastly, where tall buildings are planned, the council can play a pivotal role in shaping and curating lower floors of tall buildings. With our newly launched ‘Good for Ealing’  inward investment platform, we are making these connections possible. Ealing has successfully partnered with Mount Anvil and Peabody at Friary Park in Acton to bring forward an affordable workspace by the Creative Land Trust, providing a permanent home for Ealing’s creative community, for example. 

Our approach in Ealing of deploying a combination of levers available to a local authority is by no means unique in London. If you are on a similar journey, the starting point in my view must be with the evidence gathering, followed by engagement with both community and developers and then acting as an enabler of good growth to help London’s skyline evolve. 


·       Greenford Quays -Greystar 
·       Broadway Connection, British Land
·       Friary Park, Acton / the Verdean, Mount Anvil 

Mandar Puranik

Head of Regeneration and Economic Renewal
London Borough of Ealing

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