This decision was taken by mutual agreement with the council’s development partner for the site, Vistry Group.
Instead, the council now plans to retain and retrofit the building to make it an office building and community space fit for the future.
The intention is to open-up the ground floor for community use and explore offering two floors to businesses to lease.
Three floors will remain as office space for council staff and democratic functions.
Council leader Peter Mason said the decision was the right decision and removed years of uncertainty and new risk to the council. He said: “When we inherited the old plans for Perceval House, it was clear that the proposals represented a huge change for the borough, one with a big financial commitment and many years of disruption. With the old scheme now at an end, we can turn our minds to reimagining a new council building, open to the public, accessible to resident’s needs, inclusive, and with the community at the heart of it.
“By taking a retrofit-first approach to our renewed proposals for our council HQ, we’re fulfilling our pledge to do all we can to tackle the climate crisis and be carbon neutral as a council by 2030. We equally remain committed to building genuinely affordable homes, reducing car use, and supporting the transition to renewable energy, so we’re going to take some time to reconsider how we do just that whilst keeping Perceval House open.”
“Openness and inclusion will be at the heart of our renewed approach to Perceval House,” said Councillor Mason. “Very soon, we will start engagement with both residents and staff to open-up the building, creating a modern, accessible, and welcoming environment for the whole community."
Since the redevelopment project was originally proposed in 2014, significant events have substantially changed the risks and viability of the scheme.
Some of these challenges include:
- A significant increase in inflation
- An increase in materials and construction costs.
And, most recently, changes were required to the design and structure of the planned buildings to ensure that they complied with the latest fire safety regulations. Those changes were very difficult to incorporate into the existing designs and therefore significantly affected the financial viability of the scheme.
Councillor Steve Donnelly, the council’s cabinet member for an inclusive economy, said: “Rising inflation, building material and rapid increases to labour costs, as well as substantial changes in building regulations have all impacted the Perceval House proposals. There comes a point in any project paid for by the public purse that you have to stop. This administration will always ensure we are sensible and prudent with public money.”
Cllr Shital Manro, the council’s cabinet member for good growth, said: “We remain committed to getting more genuinely affordable homes built in the borough and increasing local electricity capacity to support the transition to cleaner energy. So we will keep looking at options for how part of the site can support those aims, such as the council’s car park on Longfield Avenue.
“This reset also means that any future plans for residential development on this site will comply with our new Local Planning Policy Guidance on tall buildings, and therefore will not be as high as some elements of the previous scheme.”
Ealing Council chief executive Tony Clements said the decision was a key enabler for the organisation and its culture. He said: “We know that we need to make a shift in our working culture and practices to deliver on the ambitions of the Council Plan and deliver great services for the people of Ealing. At the heart of this are council staff and their interactions with each other and our communities. We need a building that reflects those requirements, and we believe this can be achieved by staying where we are and retrofitting Perceval House for the future.”
Chief executive Tony Clements thanked Vistry Group for their work on the scheme and for working closely with the council to reach this decision.
A Vistry Group spokesperson said: “The economic and technical conditions effecting the project have been exceptional and we are grateful to have worked closely with the council and Greater London Authority to attempt to mitigate these. We fully support the council's new strategy which will enable fast delivery of important facilities for the council and community.”
Work to make Perceval House a modern civic centre, will start by the end of 2023.