Friary Park residents celebrate new homes
Acton residents joined Peabody housing association and development partners Mount Anvil at a community fun day to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the Friary Park estate regeneration.
The event, held at the Friary Park Community Centre, saw residents and the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, Tom Copley, come together for a family fun day.
There was a raft of activities for all ages, including face painting, free ice cream and nature-themed arts and crafts. Guests enjoyed a Caribbean lunch, which was cooked fresh by Earth Living - a business owned locally by a Friary Park resident. The day ended on a high with performances from a magician, balloonist, and steel pan band.
London Bike Hub were also on hand throughout the day to offer bike servicing tips for residents and highlight the benefits of leading an active life. They also brought their smoothie bike, which uses pedal power to blend delicious, healthy smoothies.
Peabody and Mount Anvil have been working closely with the Friary Park community since 2014 and this event gave the partners a chance to thank residents for their input, while marking a key regeneration milestone.
In total, the project is set to deliver 1,228 much-needed new homes. Across the scheme 455 homes will be affordable, 315 of which will be social rent and London affordable rent.
Nocketa Miller, founder of Earth Living and a resident, said:
“I was the first resident to move over to the new development.
“Although I was nervous, I was really excited at the same time to move into my new home. I decided to stay here at Friary Park because the community feels like a family to me and it’s the place I call home.
“My business partner Michelle and I founded Earth Living during the pandemic - a social enterprise providing home cooked Caribbean food. We founded Earth Living on one bag of rice and one box of chicken, feeding homeless and elderly people. Now we do even more - it's much more demanding but I love it.
“Alongside the love and support I get from Earth Living and the community, I get a lot of love from Peabody - another reason I decided to stay. Mount Anvil and Peabody are supporting residents a lot with moving in. My move went smoothly, and my new flat is really homely.
“The team here is amazing, especially at the community centre. If it wasn’t for everyone here, I don’t know what would happen to me. The community keeps me afloat”.
Alleviating overcrowding is a core priority for Peabody. This was particularly important at Friary Park where a number of households needed larger homes. One success story is a family who have moved from a two-bedroom, three-person home, to a three-bedroom, five-person home, they said:
“We are so much happier in the new house and have enough room for everyone. Previously, my girls were sharing a room which wasn’t ideal, and I was conscious of disrupting their studying.
“Now, everyone has their own personal space, with options of where they can do their studying. The balcony is a personal favourite for one of my girls who is studying for her masters degree.
“The house is more harmonious and peaceful, plus I have my own space to escape. It’s a bonus to have my own bathroom just outside my bedroom as well, no more queuing up or racing to get ahead.
“When we’re indoors, we can hardly hear any noise from outside, everything is so much quieter, calmer, and happier.”
With green space at the heart of the Friary Park redevelopment, all new homes will have access to private outdoor space and residents will enjoy two acres of biodiverse green space on their doorstep. Mount Anvil and Peabody have partnered with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew to design a series of courtyard gardens, woodland pockets, and an eco-walk.
The community centre where the event was held will be replaced by a new and improved facility, which will be 47 percent larger.
The second phase of regeneration begins this spring, with the new homes expected to be ready for occupancy in 2025. The full regeneration project is expected to be complete by 2027.
Annemarie Fenlon, Managing Director for Northwest London at Peabody, said:
“This was a fantastic opportunity to join with members of the community to thank people for helping to shape their new neighbourhood and to celebrate the completion of their new homes.
“We are committed to delivering much-needed affordable homes in Acton, and across the city, while helping growing families in need of family-sized homes get the space they need.
“But just as important to us is the need for community spaces where people can gather to have fun and socialise. We look forward to opening the new and improved community centre in the heart of Friary Park.”
Kilian Hurley, Chief Executive at Mount Anvil, said:
“We are very proud to be delivering new affordable homes for families in Ealing. Working closely with existing residents at Friary Park was essential for creating a successful and sustainable neighbourhood.
“It was great seeing the community come together for a day of fun activities to celebrate their new homes.”
Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, said: “Friary Park is undergoing a hugely exciting transformation and this event was a great way to celebrate the completion of its first phase. The residents have been at the heart of this project, which is delivering green spaces and a new community centre alongside much-needed affordable homes – all of which will make a real difference to the lives of those who live here.”