Professor Richard Barras and Professor Sir Peter Hall
react to the Arcadia redevelopment proposals.

 In the great debate over the proposed Arcadia tower, the key point is in danger of being missed. As CABE (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) stress, this is a unique moment in Ealing’s history to undertake a comprehensive master plan for the entire town centre, embracing Dickens Yard, the Arcadia site and the station. These three contiguous sites need to be planned and redeveloped as a mixed-use entity, including residential and commercial uses as well as the public realm. Key questions – the right residential density and the massing of the new buildings, including their height – should follow from this plan.

Central to this plan must be the need for an integrated public transport interchange above the station, on the model already set by Transport for London at Hammersmith, Vauxhall, Stratford and Canning Town. The key decision to proceed with Crossrail will inevitably mean that Ealing Broadway, already one of London’s busiest but least adequate suburban stations, will become very much busier and bigger. So a comprehensive rebuild, over the next decade, is inevitable. The scheme should seize the opportunity to use surplus TfL land, available between the District and Central lines, for a new busway connecting directly a new bus lane system on a widened North Circular Road.

Meanwhile, as two concerned Ealing residents with wide professional experience in planning and development, we believe that the present Arcadia proposal should be withdrawn as inadequate for purpose and that Ealing council should embark on the master planning exercise as a matter of urgency. A century ago Charles Jones shaped 20th-century Ealing; we need to follow his example in planning for the 21st.

Professor Richard Barras
Professor Sir Peter Hall

Richard Barras is an urban economist, who previously undertook research at the Centre for Environmental Studies in London, specialising in the economics of commercial property markets, and the Technical Change Centre in London, where he worked in the field of innovation and technical change in service industries.  In 1996 he was awarded a Doctorate by the University of Cambridge for his published work on commercial property cycles. In 1998 he was appointed Visiting Professor in the Department of Land Management and Development at the University of Reading.  Between 1999 and 2002 he was a Trustee of the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment. 

Peter Hall is Bartlett Professor of Planning and Regeneration at University College London. From 1991-94 he was Special Adviser on Strategic Planning to the Secretary of State for the Environment, with special reference to issues of London and South East regional planning including the East Thames Corridor and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. He was member of the Deputy Prime Minister's Urban Task Force (1998-1999).
He has received the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for distinction in research, and is an honorary member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and has the RTPI Gold Medal. He is a Fellow of the British Academy. He was a founder member of the Regional Studies Association and first editor of its journal Regional Studies. He was Chairman of the Town and Country Planning Association (1995-1999) and now President.