Part of West Ealing to become a Low Traffic Neighbourhood

Creating a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) for the area of West Ealing south of the Uxbridge Road was originally part of the TfL funded West Ealing Liveable Neighbourhood project. The bulk of this project has been put on hold but this one element has been picked out for inplementation now as a response to the Coronaviris crisis in order to help reduce traffic and encourage more walking and cycling.

The original area for this project was to be south of the Uxbridge Rd to Leighton Rd and bordered by Northfield Ave on the east and Grosvenor Rd to the west. This area looks set to be expanded further south at the very least.

The overall aim of an LTN is to reduce through traffic by a range of measures from bollards and width restrictions to planting, cycle bays and seating.

Options for the original West Ealing LTN were displayed at a public meeting at the Welshore Community Hub in December. These are likely to form the basis of this expanded LTN.

You can read more on the Council’s website.

Planning update – Ealing Matters Newsletter

Hello everyone. We hope that you are all keeping sane and well during lockdown. There is no shortage of news to report this month from the first steps towards a new Local Plan to several major planning applications in West Ealing and Southall that have just been submitted. We start with the borough-wide news.

RED BLOCK REBELS AND EALING MATTERS LAUNCH EALING – THE SKY’S THE LIMIT VIDEO

Following on from our April newsletter, which reported on the enormous number of towers sprouting up across the London Borough of Ealing, the Red Block Rebels together with Ealing Matters created a short video tour of those that have been built or are currently under planning consideration. Called Ealing – The Sky’s the Limit, the film uses 3D modelling technology similar to that used by architects to ‘build’ each development and superimpose it on Google Earth views of the borough. The images are underpinned by figures from our database, which lists large scale developments that have either been recently built or are in the planning system. At the film’s launch on 19 May the database included 181 developments with blocks rising to 10 storeys or more and containing almost 40,000 housing units. As of 21 June 2020 Ealing – The Sky’s the Limit has been viewed almost 7,000 times.

EALING COUNCIL EMERGENCY PLANNING ARRANGEMENTS

Following the Government’s decision to introduce emergency arrangements to allow planning services to continue under the lockdown, there was concern among the Ealing Matters membership about what that would mean for Ealing specifically. Following exchanges by the Ealing Matters working group with the Chief Planning Officer, David Scourfield, a virtual Planning User Group (PUG) meeting was convened by him and Councillor Peter Mason on 16 April to discuss Ealing’s response. Since PUG meetings are not minuted, we organised a survey of the Ealing Matters membership to assess resident group reaction to the plans and to the video conferencing technology that is integral to them.

As a result, the Council re-worked their Planning Position Statement confirming that the suspension of site visits will be only temporary, that there will be no further delegation of decision making powers, that ward councillors should be considered a route to the planning department for their residents, that developer ‘micro’-websites will be set up to coincide with the submission of planning applications, that the Council will produce a ‘how-to’ guide on the ‘Search for a planning application’ page (currently chasing) and that Planning Committee meetings will be recorded and made available to the public to view online.

Separate to these points, we are pleased to report that the Council has responded to complaints that the Ealing Gazette newspaper is almost never available these days making it impossible to view the public notices, e.g. about planning applications and highway works. The Council is now publishing them on its own website. Find them at: https://www.ealing.gov.uk/info/201033/council_and_local_decisions/641/public_notices

However, other comments remain unaddressed.

• The consultation period for planning applications has been extended from 21 to 42 days, but these will continue to be communicated via site notices and neighbour notifications, which our survey found to be inadequate. The request to provide press notices on Ealing Today has not been implemented.

• Those without access to the web will be disadvantaged in terms of finding out about and responding to consultations, planning applications etc. While Ealing Council will register residents’ associations and community groups for notification of planning applications in their area, several member groups have commented that notifications are the Council’s responsibility and should not be delegated in this way.

• There has been no remedy for the current suspension of site visits on the basis that these are not a statutory planning requirement.

EALING’S FIRST VIRTUAL PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING

Despite Ealing Matters’ reservations about the Council’s lack of experience with virtual meetings as expressed in the PUG survey, the first virtual Planning Committee meeting took place on 20 May 2020. Given the technical issues there had been with the PUG meeting, we were surprised to find that the agenda included no fewer than seven planning applications, all large scale, six had representations from objectors and three with representations from ward councillors. In the event the meeting overran by an hour raising questions about the level of scrutiny accorded to some of the applications. The effect of the technology was that the public was unable to observe the whole Committee (three of whom dropped out due to technical problems at different points in the meeting), and members could not see the public and were thus shielded from public sentiment. There were procedural breaches with individual applications that went unchallenged by Committee members. In the event, all seven applications were approved.

Following the meeting, Ealing Matters and all the objectors who spoke on the night composed a letter of complaint to Councillor Manro, Chair of the Planning Committee, which was sent to him on 7 June. His response, received on 17 June, rejected most of the co-signatories’ criticisms and concluded that ‘the Committee remains as accountable as ever and is very well aware of its duties as evidenced by the length and thoroughness of the debate on items and issues where they considered this to be necessary.’

NEW EALING LOCAL PLAN

Ealing’s Local Plan, whose core strategy document was adopted in 2012, is one of the most out of date of all the London borough Local Plans, and is now regularly ignored both by the Council and developers. Councillor Peter Mason, Ealing’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Transformation mentioned at the 16 April PUG meeting that work on a new Local Plan has started.

Local Development Plan Advisory Committee (LDPAC) meeting, 3 June

Following a further PUG meeting on 1 June to brief residents’ groups on the process, a meeting of the Local Development Plan Advisory Committee (LDPAC) dealing with much of the same material took place on 3 June. The agenda document pack for LDPAC contained ‘an update on the emerging proposals for a new local development plan for Ealing’s Local Planning Authority and proposes a programme for future meetings for comment.’ Appendix A (p18) also contains the Draft Ealing LPA Local Development Plan Timetable, which scopes out the stages of activity including public consultation between now and April 2022, when the Council hopes to be able to adopt the new Local Plan.

The first section of the LDPAC meeting was a talk by Tony Travers, a Visiting Professor in the London School of Economics (LSE) Department of Government, whose key research interests included local and regional government, elections and public service reform. Professor Travers’ talk highlighted the growth and resilience of London despite current difficulties, the downside being the lack of any easy solution to the need for more housing and its role in cross-subsidising public services. His observation that it is the job of local politicians to explain these trade-offs to their communities struck a chord in the context of residents’ groups’ difficulties in getting the Council to engage with them at all.

Ealing Matters took the opportunity of the LDPAC to try and accelerate delivery of the Authorities Monitoring Report (AMR) for 2014/19, particularly those sections relating to housing delivery. The purpose of the AMR is to measure the Council’s progress in delivering the current Local Plan, and it (or the elements 3 that make it up) should be published annually. Despite requests dating back to 2016, the last published AMR for Ealing relates to 2013/14. Since the AMR measures where we are now, we consider it essential to have this information as soon as possible and before deciding where we want to go and how we plan to get there.

Public Local Plan meeting with Councillor Peter Mason

At the LDPAC meeting, Councillor Mason made the offer to engage directly with Ealing Matters’ member groups about the Local Plan. We are therefore planning to convene a virtual meeting at which local communities will be able to express in their own way concerns about planning and development over the last 10 years to him as well as, ideally, to members of LDPAC and the Planning Committee, while he would have the opportunity to explain the Council’s objectives and priorities as well as their position on contentious issues (as Tony Travers suggested in his talk).

Councillor Mason has in principle agreed to such a session, and we are in the process of agreeing a format and a date and time (probably end of June/beginning of July). We will be in touch once we have firmed up the session, but in the meantime please start thinking about questions that you would like him to answer about the Local Plan as input to the development of the new one.

CROSSRAIL

Work has re-commenced on building the new stations at Acton Mainline, Ealing Broadway, Southall and West Ealing. No completion dates are available.

Despite the fact that more than £35,500 has been spent on consultation since 2011, there is still no coherent plan for the public realm changes outside Ealing Broadway station. There are some concerns whether TfL funding for these will still be available.

Below is a round-up of what has been going on in individual areas across the borough:

ACTON

Friary Park redevelopment In our last newsletter we reported that, following approval by Ealing Council in late 2019, the 990-flat Friary Park scheme was with the Mayor of London for final approval. Despite lobbying by Central Acton Neighbourhood Forum (CANF) for the Mayor to withhold his approval and demands for an explanation from Ealing Council with regard to the absence of the required Environmental Impact Assessment, approval for the scheme was granted on 14 April by the GLA’s Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe (though only communicated to local activists 17 days later).

Planning application for land adjacent to Underground tracks, Bollo Lane (201379OUT) out for consultation

An outline planning application has now been submitted for development of the long, narrow strip of land that borders the northern side of the rail tracks behind Acton Town station opposite the South Acton Estate. This follows two public consultations, one in October 2019 and another in January 2020. The latest plans comprise 852 flats across 11 blocks ranging from 4 storeys at Acton Town to 25 storeys at the Chiswick end. The consultation ends on 5 August 2020.

CENTRAL EALING

Victoria Hall

On 7 April 2020 the Charity Commission wrote to Friends of Victoria Hall (FoVH) with its Review of Ealing Council’s application to take control of the assets of the charitable Trust that owns the Victoria Hall and Prince’s Room. The Review blocks the Council’s current proposals for selling the Hall, along with other Trust property and the rest of Ealing Town Hall so that the site can be turned into a boutique hotel. The Charity Commission verdict means that the Council’s deal with hotel developer Mastcraft cannot proceed unless the Council substantially revises its proposals.

FoVH has now written to all nine councillors on Ealing Council’s General Purposes Committee (GPC) to draw their attention to their responsibilities as Trustees of the Victoria Hall charity and to call upon them to consider what is in the best interests of the Charity and its beneficiaries – the people of the London Borough of Ealing – rather than those of the Council as a landowner. The GPC will meet virtually on Monday, 29 June 2020 from 18.00 to 20.00, and the future of Victoria Hall is expected to be the main item on the agenda. FoVH is encouraging as many people as possible to attend and will publish details of how to do so.

Premier Inn Hotel extension

Outline planning permission has been granted for a 15-storey extension of the Premier Inn Hotel to be built in front of the existing hotel. This will comprise 14 floors of hotel accommodation with 91 rooms, together with a flexible penthouse floor to be used either as a restaurant/bar or an additional 6 bedooms. This, as with the nearby Perceval House application, further undermines the 2012 Local Plan’s intention ‘to develop a “boulevard” along the Uxbridge Road…’

HANWELL

QPR abandons Warren Farm deal with Ealing Council As reported in our April newsletter, Hanwell Nature secured a Judicial Review of Ealing Council’s decision not to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment before granting consent for Queens Park Rangers (QPR) FC to take over and convert its 61-acre Warren Farm into a training centre for the football club. On 6 May 2020, before Hanwell Nature were due to face the Council in the High Court, the news broke that QPR had walked away from its 200-year lease deal with the Council. This is a victory for local residents, who have been campaigning against the deal for over seven years and raised more than £84,000 to fight the proposals.

OLD OAK AND PARK ROYAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (OPDC)

Old Oak Common – HS2’s west-London super hub On 19 May 2020, the OPDC granted planning permission for HS2’s west-London super hub, Old Oak Common, the largest newly built railway station in the UK. It will be located on the site of the Old Oak Common traction maintenance depot where HS2 meets the Crossrail/Elizabeth Line. The station will have 14 platforms, a mix of six high speed and eight conventional service platforms, and carry an estimated 250,000 passengers per day. The projected cost is £1.3 billion, and the station is expected to open in 2029.

PERIVALE

Hoover Building/Tesco car park

The ‘Wiltern’, 278 build-to-rent flats in a block of 10-16 storeys proposed for the rear of the renowned Art Deco Hoover Building, was the first development to be approved via video conference at the first virtual Planning Committee meeting that took place on 20 May 2020. An earlier application to build 305 flats in a block rising to 22 storeys which came before the Planning Committee in September last year had failed, but although more Committee members objected to this second application than to any other on the night, it was approved by eight votes (including the Chair) to five.

SOUTHALL

CASH challenge to Council Leader Julian Bell

On 10 June following the Black Lives Matter protests, Councillor Julian Bell posted that he has commissioned a review of diversity across Ealing’s public realm similar to Sadiq Khan’s London-wide version. One proposal is to change the name of a section of Havelock Road in Southall to Guru Nanak Road.

In response, Clean Air for Southall and Hayes (CASH), whose issues with air pollution at the Southall Waterside site we highlighted last year, have published an open letter to Ealing Council pointing out the fact that ‘Ealing’s anti-racism initiatives won’t prevent (Southall residents) from choking on airborne carcinogenic chemicals from the Southall Waterside site.’ CASH will be hosting a virtual public meeting on 16 July to give Councillor Bell, GLA member Onkar Sahota and Virendra Sharma MP the opportunity to answer their questions.

Planning application for Southall Sidings (201888FUL) out for consultation

A planning application has been lodged for a major development of the Southall Sidings, just to the north of Southall Station. This will comprise 460 flats to be built in five towers of 11-15 storeys in height. One local resident has written to Ealing Matters saying that: ‘These developments are clearly just developers taking advantage of the Crossrail and exploiting Ealing’s poorest areas to buy land cheap and make millions. This has nothing to do with the housing crisis…. The area I live is predominantly ethnic minorities who have no idea how to engage in democratic processes and whose first language is not English.’ Consultation on the application ends on 15 July.

WEST EALING

Planning application for Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) at Gurnell (201695FUL) out for consultation

Ealing Council wishes to replace the Gurnell Leisure Centre, claiming that ‘having been operational for over 38 years it has fallen into a state of considerable disrepair and requires extensive modernisation to bring it up to modern standards’. Notwithstanding the fact that the facility sits on Metropolitan Open Land (the London equivalent of the Green Belt), Ealing Council says that it can only afford to part-fund the replacement facility, and is looking to a housing development of seven blocks ranging from five to 17 storeys and containing 599 flats (mostly not affordable) to pay for the rest. As the landowner, the Local Planning Authority and the developer (through Be:Here Ealing Ltd), the Council is hopelessly conflicted. Objectors believe that this development is wrong on a multitude of levels. Visit www.savegurnell.org.uk to find out more including how to object.

Planning application for 51-56 Manor Road and 53-55 Drayton Green Road (corner site next to West Ealing Station) (202231FUL)

The planning application for this development is now out for consultation prior to going before the Planning Committee. The shape of the development has changed since the public consultation last summer from a single building with 9 and 26 storeys to one with effectively 12 and 18 storeys above double-height ground floor retail, reducing the accommodation by five units to 144 flats, all designated affordable (94 classified as London Shared Ownership and 50 at London Living Rent). Visit Stop the Towers for more information about the development and how to object.

Green Man Estate – Phase 4 ‘adapting to new surroundings’

The ratcheting up of building heights and densities continues with Phase 4 of the Green Man Estate. When originally specified in 2010, 184 flats were to be built in blocks of up to 7 storeys. The second public consultation that took place as a webinar on 6 May 2020 (and is still open for comment) referenced recent developments along Singapore Road from 9-15 storeys to help make the case for building higher in Phase 4. The representative of Conran + Partners, the architects, argued that ‘the context provides an opportunity for an area where the Local Authority encourage any height to be located and therefore help to deliver more new homes on the estate.’ So the latest plans for Phase 4 are for up to 380 flats in towers ranging between five and 15 storeys, with a planning application expected in Summer 2020. By our calculations this will increase the total units from the 706 approved in the original masterplan to 915, almost twice the number on the old estate (464).

Chignell Place

The planning application for a block of five up to eight storeys containing 66 ‘shared living’ studio flats (i.e. single en suite rooms with communal kitchens and lounge areas) scheduled to be decided at the 18 March 2020 Council Planning Committee meeting was deferred to a later date at the last minute. It will be interesting to see whether and in what form it re-appears.

Woolworths building

The demolition of the classic Art Deco façade at 96-102 Broadway (one of the high-rise developments name checked in the Green Man Estate webinar) has now commenced.

Dean Gardens

On 22 May 2020, Ealing Council stated that the £9 million Transport for London (TfL) West Ealing Liveable Neighbourhood project is one of £114 million worth of such projects across 18 London boroughs to have been suspended due to TfL’s ‘financial predicament’, and which may now be subject to wider review. The suspension includes the £1.4 million transformation of Dean Gardens, which has been delayed until at least Autumn 2020. West Ealing Neighbours Committee agreed on 4 June 2020 that better lighting and a cycle path in the southern part of the gardens were the only changes it felt were necessary.

With thanks to Eric Leach for compiling much of the information for this latest issue. Contributions that you think would be of interest to Ealing Matters member groups are welcome

Planning application lodged for tower block next to West Ealing station

Southern Grove and Thames Valley Housing have put in their application for a tower block next to the new West Ealing station. (The above image shows the the south elevation as included in their application documentation.) The application is for 144 affordable homes in two towers. At first glance it looks as if the height of the towers has been reduced from 26 to 20 though that needs a detailed reading of the documents that accompany this application.

WEN has supported the campaign run by Stop the Towers which sees this proposal and the A2Dominion 25-storey tower opposite the station as overdevelopment and wholly out of keeping with the surrounding residential area.

Once we have read the documentation we will post further about this. In the meantime, the planning application 202231FUL can be accessed with this number here. Comments need to be lodged with the Council by Wednesday 29th July.

Our objections to planning application to redevelop Gurnell Leisure Centre

The plans to redevelop the Gurnell leisure centre site have proved highly controversial and have undergone some significant changes to get to this stage. The developer, Ecoworld, pulled out of plans to build the complete development including affordable housing and a new leisure centre. The Council will now have to take on these elements. The formal planning application is now live on the Council’s website.

Ecoworld, has created a special website giving details of their plans including 599 homes ranging from 6 to 17 storeys, and a new leisure centre with a 50m pool.

There is strong opposition to these plans – Stop The Gurnell Overdevelopment. Their website is here.

This week WEN submitted the following objections:

1 Loss of Metropolitan Open land and green space

This site is designated Metropolitan Open Land and the planned development on this land wholly contradicts Ealing Council’s own policies on the value and protection of both Metropolitan Open land and green space. The importance of green space has been put in to very sharp focus by the current Coronavirus pandemic. The Council should be doing all it can to protect and enhance such space and not build on it. Once green space is built upon it is lost to the public for generations if not for all time.

2 Out of keeping with the surrounding residential area

The planned development with its six tower blocks going up to 17-storeys high and 599 units is totally out of keeping with the low-rise character and style of architecture of the nearby residential housing.  It is a gross overdevelopment of this site and will provide and overbearing and domineering series of towers scarring the landscape causing loss of daylight and sunlight to nearby homes in the vicinity.

3 Too few affordable homes

Ealing Council Housing Strategy recognises that the population of the borough is growing. It hs the third largest population of the 32 London boroughs and is expected to increase by some 10% from the 2011 census by 2031. This increase carries with it a need for suitable housing of all types. This development includes only a small amount of Affordable Housing which falls well short of the target of 50% for public sector land. It has only 12 family sized affordable units in the planned housing mix.

4 Wrong balance of types of housing

Ealing Council’s own Private Sector Housing Strategy document states ‘Household composition helps determine the type of housing needed. Ealing has a lower proportion of one person households and couples to the rest of London, but a larger proportion of families (around 25.6%) than the average for London (18.2%). Across Ealing, 49.8% of households have dependent children. Ealing has the third highest (13.5%) proportion of larger (5 person plus) sized households in London, above the London average of 9.7%. ‘

This development has a significant number of Studio and one and two bedroom flats. This is not just the case with this development but many others being built or in the pipeline. There are far too few family sized units and so the balance of types of housing in this development is a complete mismatch with the likely demand for types of housing. The housing mix needs to be totally rethought to better match needs.

5 Detrimental impact on the local environment

This development will see the loss of some 158 trees and a loss of habitat for wildlife. This loss, at a time when we have all come to realise the importance of green space and wildlife to our physical and mental health, is an unacceptable price to pay for a development which clearly fails to meet local housing needs.

Free online art workshops for 11 – 25 year olds on 9th June

Local artist Joel Sydenham , known as Chidi3s, is inviting young people across West Ealing to create a temporary installation for Dean Gardens.

With the support of Ealing Council and OPEN Ealing the three online workshops will be conducted remotely and hosted over a free videoconferencing app.

The workshops will cover three themes:

Community and Family

Caring for the environment

Memories in the park

More information and details of how to register are here

Dean Gardens plans put on hold

All the work of the West Ealing Liveable Neighbourhood project, including the redesign of Dean Gardens. has been put on hold. The main funder is Transport for London and their loss of income with Covid 19 has meant a complete review of all their Liveable Neighbourhood projects. We will post any updates on this story but it may well be that the whole project gets cancelled.

Information about the West Ealing Liveable Neighbourhood project is here.

A new film shows how our skyline is changing with ever more tall towers being planned

A new short film, Ealing – The Sky’s the Limit, by the Red Block Rebels gives a guided tour to the extraordinary number of towers built, being built and planned to be built right across the borough – 181 in total so far.

Members of Ealing Matters, which include West Ealing Neighbours, have been working under the Red Block Rebels brand to highlight the major developments which could bring up to 120,000 new residents in to the borough. These developments will change Ealing forever so we think it’s important everyone knows what is happening.

Ealing Matters has published a statement on its website with more information about this new film and how far these developments and the planning process have deviated from the Council’s own Local plan. The Council is now working on a new plan but will it abide by its own rules?

You can also visit the Stop The Towers website for more information on Red Block Rebels and their campaign.

Last chance to comment on plans for next stage of Green Man Lane Estate

A reminder that the developers of the Green Man Lane Estate, A2Dominion and Rydon, have asked for comments on their phase 4 plans by the end of today.

One of the main concerns about their plans is the proposed 15-storey height of some of the new blocks. This is higher than anything currently on the estate but it looks like they have taken the opportunity to match the height of one of the new buildings planned along the Uxbridge Road.

Full details of the phase 4 consultation are here. And the Ealing Today website has a fuller story. A planning application is likley to be submitted this summer.

QPR deal for Warren Farm is off

The West London Sport website has reported that QPR has halted its deal with Ealing Council to use part of Warren Farm for its training facility. The QPR website has a news item in which Ealing Council says it will continue to push ahead with plans for community sports facilities at Warren Farm now that QPR is pursuing an alternative site.

Hanwell Nature has been one of the leading campaigners against the Council’s decision to give QPR a 200 year lease on Warren Farm. Their website has the full story of their efforts.

How Ealing Council planning will work during Covid-19 pandemic

In this emergency we have sick residents, some seriously ill and some dying.  Businesses of all sizes are struggling with no income. Some will go to the wall. Building work on sites small and large is sporadic. In June 2020 many people be on 80% of wages backdated to March. Others will have to wait till July. However this ‘furloughing‘ is only guaranteed to the end of June 2020.

Given all this, is it really sensible or appropriate for Local Authorities (LAs) to be pressing ahead with planning for 10/20/30/40 storey tower blocks? Well the Government thinks it is and have told LAs to crack on with planning during the pandemic.

Ealing Council’s Planning service has announced its process changes in response to the Covid-19 emergency. There has been some criticism about aspects of it. Site visits by Planning Committee members prior to Planning Committee meetings have been abandoned. The April 2020 Planning Committee meeting was cancelled, but the 21 May 2020 meeting will go ahead as a live-streamed one on the Microsoft MS Teams virtual platform. The period for pubic consultation on Planning Applications has been extended from 21 days to 42 days. For those residents staying indoors this extension will make little difference to them, as they will not walk past a lamppost displaying the Planning Notice. The Council seems to be blaming the lack of a new Local Plan on the pandemic. Ealing Council’s 2012 Local Plan is the oldest in London, and is spectacularly out of date.

WEN attended an MS Teams based Ealing Council Planning User Group virtual meeting on 16 April 2020. The ‘Ealing Matters’ network of 60+ residents’ and community groups carried out research amongst its members about the Council’s proposed changes to its planning processes. These research findings can be found at:

https://ealingmatters.org.uk/planning-in-the-time-of-covid-19-ealing-councils-response-to-the-emergency-regulations/

The Planning Application (ref: 184490FUL) to build an 8 storey block of 63 tiny studio flats in Chignell Place, central West Ealing may be on the 21 May 2020 Planning Committee Agenda. We may not discover this until 14 May 2020. (The application was on the agenda of the Council’s Planning Committee meeting in March, but was withdrawn at the last minute).

More on Covid-19 Council planning service changes at:

https://www.ealing.gov.uk/201262/coronavirus_covid_19/2669/changes_to_council_services/15

Eric Leach