Fresh designs for Gypsy Corner even taller than previous plans

Image: Visualisation of the two proposed towers as seen from North Acton Playing fields

Developers now propose a 58-storey building rather than 55

A new design proposal has been put forward for two tower blocks at 4 Portal Way, adjacent to the A40 Western Avenue near Gypsy Corner.

Aldau Development, an Egyptian property developer, has opted out of a prior plan that had secured planning approval to erect two towers on the same site. The taller tower, originally intended to span 55 storeys, has now been proposed to reach a height of 58 storeys in the latest submission.

The proposed building would surpass existing structures nearby and would be visible across parts of Acton and Chiswick, potentially becoming west London’s tallest residential tower.

In response to regulatory alterations mandating the inclusion of additional staircases in buildings of a certain height, the revised plans now integrate a second staircase in both towers.

The application for the development has been lodged with the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, serving as the designated planning authority for the site. The proposal encompasses two mixed-use residential-led buildings, with the shorter tower standing at 44 storeys.

The development is projected to comprise a total of 669 flats, of which 35% would be classified as affordable, alongside a 90-room hotel and commercial and retail spaces on the ground floor.

The taller north tower would accommodate 451 flats, with the remaining 218 units situated in the south tower. Of the total units, 65% are slated for build-to-rent purposes, with 25% offered at Discounted Market Rent and 10% at London Living Rent, distributed across both towers.

The original design, sanctioned in 2020 and conceived by architectural firm KPF, envisioned two interconnected towers linked by a bridge at the ninth floor. This earlier scheme featured 702 flats and a 159-room hotel.

Image: A visualisation of the now abandoned tower proposal

Previous application received 167 objections

The 55-storey tower would already have been the tallest in this cluster of skyscrapers at 237 metres high but the new proposals drawn up by Apt could see an even taller main building although the second tower will be one storey shorter.

The Cairo-based developer is quoted in Building Design magazine as saying:

“Since the existing planning permission was approved in February 2020 there have been significant events nationally and globally that have affected developments across London.

“These include: the Covid-19 pandemic, changes to fire regulations, raw materials shortages, inflationary pressures on build costs, supply issues and rapidly rising energy costs.

“Whilst the existing scheme could be amended or adjusted, a wholesale approach to tackle the key items such as introducing two fire stairs, dual aspect façades and a more sustainable energy strategy warranted a holistic review.

“As such a redesign from the ground up was undertaken in 2022-2024 in close collaboration and consultation with the [Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation] since January 2023.

“The proposed scheme has evolved from a design lead approach with core principles retained throughout.”

Another scheme for a 56-storey three tower project by Pilbrow & Partners at 1 Portal Way was approved last November.

There were 167 objections to the earlier scheme at 4 Portal Way made mainly on the basis of height and inappropriateness for the area.

You can find out more details about the application and make comments on the OPDC website.