Hi Joe, with standard springs you will need a spring compressor if doing it on the car, it is up to you if you want to do it on the car or remove the strut. When using the spring compressor try not to put it on the spring pan as this will save you time not having to remove them to get the spring pan off.
You have several options.
You can hit the strut on the part where the ball joint goes in, shocking it to release the joint, make sure you take the nut off first and then put it back on finger tight, in case you miss, that way you wont damage the thread as you will hit the nut. I used to do it this way but I missed and split the rubber on the track rod end.
The other way is to undo the steering arm from the steering rack.
Or you can buy this Clarke CHT222 Ball Joint Seperator - Machine Mart
which I bought yesterday as I will be changing my struts and shocks tomorrow.
I remember doing mine on the car once If you choose to remove the 4 bolts to the hub, getting those back in can be a pain, make sure the thread is clean and the easiest way I found was to jack the car up from the front middle so both sides are unloaded, please use axle stands
What you say about removing the spring pan bearings intact comes from the 4 bolt ser 3 plastic FAG bearings which brake as soon as you lower the car lol.
You have a ser 1 which use the metal roller bearing, these do not fall apart but can seize due to water getting trapped or the metal plate held in be the seal can wear thin and warp, probably due to seizing of the bearing.
You will only find this out once you have taken the spring pan off. I have one in bits if you want a pic as I will re-grease it tomorrow before fitting.
Only do one side at a time, so as to not mix parts up as they are sided and not easily identifiable.
Look out for the top where either the metal circle on top of the spring can snap, or the two parts that hold the topmount can become rusty. Don't forget to clean the thread of the 4 bolts to the hub before removing and lubricate so as to not damage the thread on the hub if you decide to remove the strut.