Local apprentices were among those working on-site at the new Southall Waterside development as the huge project to build a new neighbourhood got under way last week.
The former gasworks site in Southall has been described as being among the most complex regeneration programmes in the country. It was decommissioned as a gasworks more than 40 years ago, in 1972, and was then used as a car park serving Heathrow Airport. So, before any construction could take place, it has taken developers The Berkeley Group two years of work to clean 250,000 cubic metres of contaminated land, using a ‘soil hospital’ the size of 12 Olympic swimming pools.
A new neighbourhood
Over the course of the 25-year project, a whole new neighbourhood will be shaped on the site with 3,750 new homes, shops, a cinema and health centre, and a primary school. There will also be 40 acres of public parkland and a central park running through the heart of the site will connect the new Crossrail station to the east with the Grand Union Canal to the west. There will be a network of cycle paths and walking routes, including a waterside trail along the Grand Union Canal, and there will be bridges to the neighbouring Minet Country Park.
The first homes are due to be ready in 2019 and, when completed, Southall Waterside will provide homes for nearly 10,000 people
Work and training chances
Among those working on the project will be local apprentices hired with the help of Ealing Council. One of these, Alhasan Sheriff (pictured), is currently working as an assistant technical co-ordinator and is interested in working in engineering design.
In addition, Anton Gabriel from Southall (also pictured), has recently secured a permanent role as an assistant site manager after going through a Street Elite apprenticeship programme run on behalf of Berkeley and the council. You will be able to read more about Anton’s story in the September edition of Around Ealing magazine.
Work experience placements have also been opened up and there are plans for ongoing training and job opportunities. The intention is for Southall Waterside to create more than 600 jobs over the course of its lifetime and inject £47million into the local economy.
‘Southall being transformed’
Leader of Ealing Council Julian Bell said: “Southall is being transformed and this impressive development is an important part of our plan
to regenerate the area. Southall Waterside will deliver thousands of much needed new homes as well as jobs, shops and community facilities. I am particularly pleased that this new community will integrate with those around it – the new western access road has vastly improved the scheme and will help ensure congestion is reduced.”
Southall is benefiting from £11million of investment as part of the Southall Big Plan; a long-term project to improve the local area and create jobs and opportunities for local people.
The changes to the Southall Broadway are one of the most visible improvements after a comprehensive redesign and facelift that finished in 2015, but with Crossrail coming soon, the council is working with several organisations to help unlock Southall’s potential and ensure that it is ready to make the most of the opportunities that the new high speed rail link will bring.
The council is currently working with Ealing, Hammersmith and West London’s College to transform Southall Manor House into a centre of excellence for hospitality. The Grade II listed Southall icon has laid empty and unused for many years, but work is going on that will see it emerge as a high-quality restaurant, venue, café and training hub.