In 1971 the Green Man Lane estate was one of the newest and largest housing estates in Ealing, but by 2010 it had become a harsh concrete jungle, attracting gangs and anti-social behaviour and leaving many of its residents unsettled. Now this grey jungle is growing some new green roots, explains Mash Halai, head of regeneration and development, John Rowan & Partners.
The Green Man Lane estate is undergoing something of a rebirth and the eight-storey towers, along with the multi-storey car-park are being demolished. For years, accommodation was cramped and cold with many of the one-bedroom apartments housing families of up to five people. Soon, 706 new homes and apartments, new walkways and underground car parking will take its place as part of a £136 million regeneration project which will combine affordable rent, shared ownership and outright sale properties.
The demolition of the estate started in 2010 and marked the first phase of the regeneration project which includes the construction of 154 new homes as well as a gym, a community-run cafe and an Energy Centre which will supply the development with sustainable and efficient energy.
The partnership delivering the project includes Registered Provider the A2Dominion Group, development partner and contractor Rydon Construction, architect Conran & Partners, and John Rowan & Partners.
The partnership has undertaken a significant level of resident engagement from the early bidding process three years ago, including drop-in centres, design workshops and meetings which have continued throughout the project. These early meetings showed that after living with drug abuse, personal safety concerns and gang-related activity, residents and tenants wanted a safer, greener development with better living space.
Key to this was creating better living conditions with houses and apartments that benefited from increased energy efficiency and insulation. Keeping homes warmer in winter and cooler in summer will also play an important role in helping to reduce the levels of fuel poverty on the development.
As well as a newly designed layout to increase safety and the flow of people through the area, the regeneration of the area will include a number of renewable energy features. At the centre of the project will be the Energy Centre, which will supply the development with efficient and sustainable energy via gas-fired boilers, 80,000 litres of thermal water storage vessels and a 350kWe Combined Heating and Power (CHP) engine.
The CHP provides heat all year round and satisfies the majority of hot water needs for the development which, thanks to the removal of individual boilers, will greatly reduce the maintenance and repair bills for private residents and the A2Dominion Group. It also means instantaneous and on-demand hot water as well as cheaper energy for residents and tenants; additional electricity generated by the CHP engine will be sold back to the national grid.
All billing will be through remotely read smart meters for heating, hot and cold water and electricity with clear gas and electricity consumption displays ensuring that tenants and residents are able to better manage their energy usage and reduce bills.
The Energy Centre also significantly contributes to a reduction in carbon emissions for the development as a whole, anticipated to be in excess of 500 tonnes per annum, once completed. This saving equates to boiling water for at least 25 million cups of tea per year.
This sustainable focus continues to the community facilities. Renewable energy for the community-run cafe and community centre will be delivered from 150m sq of roof-mounted photovoltaic panels providing each building with electricity.
But it doesn’t stop there; the energy efficiency of the development will be significantly improved via a mix of green and brown roofs. In addition, each of the homes will be built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes with increased insulation, glazing, lighting efficiency and improved air tightness resulting in even more savings for residents.
With many of the residents keen to be involved in shaping the way their estate looks, and positive feedback with regards to the new Energy Centre designs, this estate is set to enter a new phase of life. Green Man Lane will hopefully grow into a supportive, sustainable and safe community where people will choose to live: the vision that was created from the start of the development is soon to be realised.