Ealing Broadway Centre

Ealing Broadway Centre: original town square roofline towards Christchurch spire
© Copyright J Taylor and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

Introduction

The Ealing Broadway Centre shopping mall with its own car park and office space, was opened in 1985.  It houses Ealing Library, which has recently undergone major refurbishment, and a Virgin Active gym. The 'anchor' stores are Tesco Metro, Marks & Spencer and Primark. There are 80 stores operating in the centre but there are also several empty retail units.

The centre, bounded in the north by The Broadway and to the west by High Street, is owned by Legal & General. The site is located within the Ealing Town Centre Conservation Area.

The centre was conceived after almost 20 years´ conflict with the GLC which in the 1960s proposed a town centre plan incorporating a bypass along Mattock Lane. This was only defeated after a sustained campaign by local residents.

The architectural style of the centre is human scale, low rise and uses red brick - a heritage feature of Ealing's Victorian villas and Edwardian residential terraces. It fits in with its surroundings and is defined as a "locally listed" building in Ealing's Unitary Development Plan, which means that it is of particular significance for conservation, where the Council has a legal duty to "preserve or enhance" the character of the area. .

In the period up to 2008 the Centre saw a decline in its prosperity, and with the threat of the opening of Westfield later that year the owners tried to find a buyer (see Property Week 15 July 2008), but after a potential sale fell through Legal & General committed to retaining it and has sought new tenants to restore its popularity. Some contentious alterations (such as the demolition of the original first floor arcaded building - see illustration above) have taken place, and L&G has found new occupants for some of the shops, though there has been concern that the direction has been somewhat "down market".

The whole site remains identified in Ealing's emerging Local Development Framework as one for future redevelopment. It is critical for the future of Ealing Town Centre that any new plan sets a good example so that owners who want to re-develop their sites have an understanding of what is acceptable and what is not.