Today (Thursday 20th July) marks the start of construction on an 88-acre West London site which will create 3,750 homes, and one of the best new villages in the capital.
The former gasworks site at Southall is among the most complex regeneration programmes in Britain. It has already required two years of infrastructure work and remediation to start cleaning 250,000 cubic metres of contaminated land, using a soil hospital the size of 12 Olympic swimming pools.
As London's outer boroughs become central to solving the capital's housing challenge, Southall Waterside will now create homes for nearly 10,000 people alongside a new business and leisure hub, community buildings, and over 40 acres of public open space including two new parks.
The development will be delivered in phases over a 25-year period, with the first homes due for completion in 2019.
Deputy Mayor for Housing & Residential Development at the Greater London Authority (GLA), James Murray, who joined the Leader of Ealing Council, and the Chairman of the Berkeley Group, hailed the start of this extraordinary feat of design and engineering at an event yesterday (Wednesday 19th July).
Councillor Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, said:
"Southall is being transformed and this impressive development is an important part of our plan to regenerate the area. Southall Waterside will deliver thousands of much needed new homes as well as jobs, shops and community facilities. I am particularly pleased that this new community will integrate with those around it - the new western access road has vastly improved the scheme and will help ensure congestion is reduced."
Tony Pidgley CBE, Chairman of the Berkeley Group, commented:
"Southall Waterside is about much more than buildings or infrastructure. It's about creating a real community where the residents feel proud and people look out for each other. This is a really extraordinary site - 36 times the size of Trafalgar Square - and we are going to turn it into one of the best new villages in London."
The story so far
This site has been closed off to the surrounding community for over 150 years. It was previously used for the Southall gas works, which were decommissioned in 1972, and most recently served as a car park for a Heathrow Airport, hosting up to 7,500 vehicles a day. Berkeley acquired the land in 2014 and has invested heavily to bring the site into production.
Once complete, Southall Waterside will be a new village for London. As well as the homes, it will feature 500,000 sq. ft. of new, purpose-built commercial and leisure space to complement the existing Southall town centre. The project will also deliver new social infrastructure, including a two-form entry primary school and health centre.
Over half the site will be devoted to beautiful open space and landscaped gardens. A central park will run through the neighbourhood, connecting the new Crossrail station to the east with the Grand Union Canal to the west. It will provide a network of cycle paths and pedestrian routes, a 1km waterside trail along the Grand Union Canal, and bridges to the neighbouring Minet Country Park.
Delivering for the local community
Pivotal to the regeneration is an ambitious training and employment plan. Southall Waterside will create over 600 jobs over the course of its lifetime and inject £47million into the local economy.
Before a spade has even hit the ground, Southall Waterside has provided work experience placements and apprenticeships for local people. Anton Gabriel (24) from Southall has recently secured a permanent role as an assistant site manager as a result of the apprenticeship programme.