At the cabinet meeting last night (20 October) councillors agreed to proposals to redevelop the Perceval House site to make way for new homes and an improved customer service centre and library, as well as smaller replacement office accommodation for the council.
With property prices across London continuing to rise, the council’s Perceval House offices are now a valuable asset and the council is seeking to unlock the site’s potential by redeveloping it for housing, commercial space and replacement council facilities.
Under the proposals around 360 new homes would be built on the site at 14-16 Uxbridge Road with the council potentially retaining a substantial number to provide affordable housing. The development may also include some commercial and retail space to compliment Dickens Yard and the new cultural quarter.
Revenue generated through the project will pay for a new customer service centre and new library to replace the current badly located Ealing Central Library, as well as replacement offices.
The number of visitors to the council’s existing customer service centre has dropped dramatically in recent years as residents have been able to do more online; but those who do visit are more likely to come for a pre-arranged interview. It is proposed to completely redesign the customer service centre providing a more flexible space that better meets the changing needs of residents. The new centre will also be more versatile, so that facilities such as meeting rooms can be booked by the community outside office hours. It is also likely that the new library will include an events space.
Built in 1982, many of the Perceval House’s electrical and mechanical services, such as heating, plumbing, lifts and air conditioning are coming towards the end of their life and it is not energy efficient.
Work is ongoing to determine the office space the council will require from 2020 and beyond. The proposals will take into account the expected reduction in the council workforce as a result of budget cuts, as well as the move towards more flexible working arrangements. Both mean that less office space will be required in future and the council will not need such a large building.
Council Leader, Councillor Julian Bell, said: “We’re sitting on top of a potentially very valuable site and when you consider the tough times we’re in financially and the desperate need to provide more affordable homes, it makes perfect sense for us to release the site’s value.
“Perceval House is now more than 30 years old and many of its electrical and mechanical services will need to be replaced in the near future, requiring major investment. By redeveloping the site we can provide much needed homes, a greatly improved customer service centre and co-located library, as well as smaller replacement offices that are cheaper to run and cater for modern working practices.”
The preferred option is to build the replacement offices behind Perceval House on the current car park, so that operations can transfer to the new location before the old block is demolished. Alternatively the council could move to a different site, either permanently or temporarily while the building work takes place, but this would be in the immediate vicinity of Ealing Broadway and meet all the council’s office accommodation needs.
The council expects to select a developer to enter into a joint venture next year. Subject to planning permission the first phase of work could begin in 2018, with the new offices delivered five years from now.
All cabinet decisions are subject to call-in for a period of five working days from the date of publication of the minutes of the meeting.