Little things can make a difference – new bins in Melbourne Ave

It sounds a bit trivial but i do think little improvements can make a difference and I think these new litter bins in Melbourne Ave are a great improvement on the previous ones.

Melbourne Ave was re-designed a  few years ago and had new paving, trees, planters and bins.  I have to say I think the whole project was design before function and the bins were exactly that.  They always looked a mess so I hope these new ones will prove more successful. After all, Melbourne Ave is the nearest we have to a town centre and it deserves to look decent.  That’s why WEN took on the maintenance of the planters and will look after the raised flower bed across the road once the plants are in.

 

What’s it like to walk along the Uxbridge Road? Council wants your views

Ealing Council is seeking views on what it’s like for pedestrians to use the Uxbridge Road. Working with Sustrans (a leading active travel charity) they are carrying out a survey of people who use or cross Uxbridge Road in Ealing, looking at the entire length from Acton in the East of the Borough to Southall in the West. This survey is looking to improve the experience and safety for all those using the pavements and crossings, including pedestrians, those using mobility scooters, people in wheelchairs and people with pushchairs.

Click here to give your comments.  The survey runs until Monday 12th November.

207 and 607 buses to stop going to Westfield form April next year

Thanks to the Feeling Ealing website for spotting this story. As part of TfL’s cost savings the 207 and 607 buses will terminate at Shepherd’s Bush and not Westfield as from April 2019.  They used to terminate at Shepherd’s Bush before Westfield was built with the final stop a couple of hundred metres short of Westfield. As the Feeling Ealing site says, it’s not a huge change but it’s inconvenient for people with mobility problems and parents with young children.

Ealing falls well short in building affordable homes

Thanks to the Ealing Today website for running this story. A new report by the Green Party on housing in London claims that London boroughs are falling well short in building affordable homes.  According to their figures using the London Plan target of 40% affordable housing for new development, the borough of Ealing is 1,871 homes short of this target. Ealing falls even further behind if the Strategic Housing Market Assessment figures are used – falling short by 4,539 homes.

This is a timely report for West Ealing given the plans for the Woolworth’s site which propose 35% affordable homes.  This is lower than the London Plan target of 40% and lower still against Ealing’s Housing and Homeless Strategy target of 50%. The application for the Woolworth’s site has yet to go before the planning committee for a decision.

Shops or housing on the high street in West Ealing?

A couple of days ago I saw the sign in the window at Bensons for Beds that it will close down on 16th September. Then I was told that Star Burger (Burger King as was) looks shut, temporarily or permanently is hard to tell. Followed by the recently-opened Foodies store which also looks closed.  On top of these, Express Print has moved to Harrow.  That makes four shops closing in the last month and all are in the stretch of the high street going west past Melbourne Ave.

It’s obvious that the footfall drops off drastically once you get past Melbourne Ave.  Admittedly, not every shop relies on footfall. A good example, is Juniper which sells school uniforms. This is a destination shop to which people will travel because such specialist shops are few and far between. Nevertheless, for most shops, getting enough passing trade is going to be a vital part of survival.

It makes me wonder whether the Council should no longer insist that when a high street site falls empty or is redeveloped it must include ground floor retail space.  What is the point when there are empty shops nearby? Wouldn’t it make more sense to allow housing on the ground floor? I think that may be what will happen when the site of the Community Shop, also in this same stretch of the high street, is eventually redeveloped.

High streets are all under pressure from our changing shopping habits. Every year the percentage of shopping done online goes up and we have less need for the high street shops.  Sure, we can’t get our hair cut online, our nails manicured or our teeth filled but almost everything else we can easily buy online.

One of the most interesting people writing, not to say warning, about the future of our high streets is Bill Grimsey,one time head of Wickes and Iceland. He said recently:’

“Forget retail for town centres, they need to become community hubs based on health, education, entertainment, leisure and arts and crafts.”

Mr Grimsey’s report says that facilities such as libraries and digital and health hubs should be part of the offering to bring back people to town centres, together with housing and some independent shops.”  The BBC article is worth a read.  It may all be a coincidence that these shops are all in the stretch where the footfall drops off considerably but well worth thinking about what we want the future high street to look like.

The development of West Ealing continues with 19 flats proposed on high street site

A planning application has been submitted for a part five-storey and part six-storey building with 17 one-bedroom flats, one two-bedroom and one studio flat on the site once occupied by the Community Shop and offices (Pure in the above illustration).  The application number is 183569FUL  and more information is available on the Council’s website.

At some point we expect to see an application come forward to redevelop Chignell Place.  The owners have taken possession of most of the shops and cafes in this once notorious cul-de-sac.  This will almost complete the redevelopment of this run from Chignell Place to the Diamond Hotel. Then development across the road above the empty site where the Polish supermarket used to be is likely soon.

 

 

 

 

 

West Ealing has 3 of the worst streets for fly-tipping in Ealing. What can residents do to help?

According to an article in this week’s Ealing Gazette West Ealing has three of the five worst streets in Ealing for fly-tipping. The five worst are:

  1. The Broadway, West Ealing
  2. Leeland Road, West Ealing
  3. Valetta Road, Acton
  4. Uxbridge Road, West Ealing
  5. Northcote Avenue, Southall

The ratings are based on the number of reports of rubbish being dumped that are received by the Council.  The Council’s clean-up teams clear over 100 fly-tips across the borough every working day.

To say the least, this is disappointing news for residents of West Ealing. Yet, does the answer lie mostly in our own hands?  I regularly use the Council’s ‘Report It’ app to tell them about the fly-tips I see on local streets and my impression is that much of the fly-tipping is done locally.  Yes, some of the big fly-tips may well be done by people who don’t live in the area but it’s the black bags, mattresses, pieces of broken furniture and so on that constitute many of these fly-tips. and I suspect many of these come from local residents.

Too often it’s easiest just to walk by and ignore the fly-tips or hope someone else will report it. Maybe it will improve when the Council brings its street cleaning services back in house. But what can we all do as local residents to help tackle this blight on our streets?   For example, should West Ealing Neighbours organise some regular clean up days around West Ealing?  Would you be willing to help?  Should we crowdfund for an extra street cleaner to focus on the worst local streets? What ideas do you have?  We’d love to hear from you either by leaving a comment here or emailing us at westealingneighbours@gmail.com

 

St James Church in West Ealing to close after 100 years

After over a century, St James Church in West Ealing is closing its doors – this time for good. It was closed down for a period some years ago. I can remember it boarded up and with broken windows. This time though it looks like its closing for good. Services stop this month and classes in the church hall are coming to an end as well.  It looks like a combination of a dwindling congregation and the cost of the church’s upkeep . St James along with St John in Mattock Lane make up one of the Church of England parishes.

It’s been a feature of the local community for over 100 years and we now await a decision by the church authorities as to what next for this building. West Ealing Neighbours and other local groups would dearly love it to become a community venue. It could host a wide range of activities for all age groups from a space for older residents to meet and socialise to a vibrant space for teenagers in the evenings. Alongside these uses it could be a space for live performances, music rehearsal,  and a temporary gallery for the artists and craftspeople who will occupy the second floor of the nearby co-working hub Ealing Works due to open in St James Ave later this year.

No decision is likely until early next year.  We will update this story as more information becomes available.

NatWest bank site in West Ealing for sale for £1m

It’s been there for many years but the now closed NatWest bank site at the Lido Junction is now for sale for £1,050,000. Whilst it’s not a listed building it’s one of West Ealing’s few architectural landmarks. We can only hope whoever buys it keeps retains the building or will it too be demolished and replaced by yet another tower block?

Public consultation about plans for hotel in town hall

Mastcraft  – which is looking to take over the Town Hall and turn it into a “Boutique Hotel” with the loss of The VIctoria Hall from much public access, has announced that there is to be a public consultation on its plans from  Thursday 21st June to Saturday 23rd June in the Walpole Room in the Town Hall. It is expected that their plans will be based on this scheme which, if they were to proceed, would involve the demolition of property that is in the Victoria Hall trusts ownership.
The consultation is open on
Thursday 21st June 09:30 – 12:30
Friday 22nd June 14:30 – 17:30
Saturday 23rd June 10:30 – 15:00

There is more information about these plans on Save Ealing’s Centre website.