West Ealing BID voted back for another 5 years

Almost five years ago the shops and businesses in West Ealing voted to be part of a Business Improvement District (BID). The BID provides  services such as waste collection and training courses for businesses along with helping fund events such as the Avenue Vintage and Antique Market, the SoundBite Festival and the Christmas Fair  to bring more shoppers to West Ealing.

A vote was held in November on renewing the BID for another five years and the answer was a resounding yes. Of the 134 votes cast 96 were in favour.

Congratulations to the BID and we look forward to hearing about their plans for the next five years.

Ealing group bids to set up arts centre in town hall

Ealing group’s arts centre bid

Campaign group CEPAC has made a bid for a performance arts centre to be set up in Ealing’s Victoria Hall, which is covered by a charitable trust.

CEPAC’s proposal was lodged with the Council last week, to meet the deadline for bids for Ealing Town Hall under the Assets of Community Value rules. These rules have so far delayed the Council from agreeing a deal to sell the whole building to Mastcraft, a ‘boutique’ hotel developer.

The Council must now consider all the options for the future of the Hall and its related areas. It also has still to get permission from the Charity Commission if it wants to sell any of the Trust property.

The Council’s own figures show that the Trust’s Halls have been producing a profit, which is meant to be retained for charitable purposes. Chair of CEPAC John Hummerston said:  “Studies by our professional consultants show that a properly run arts centre could generate an income at least 50% higher than the Council has managed to achieve, while meeting a long-felt need in the local community.”

Work will need to be done on the Grade II listed Hall to put it into a better state and make it fit for a stand-alone arts centre.  “A new set of trustees should be appointed without delay”, says John. “An independent charity would have access to funds that are not available to the Council, and we know the public will be eager to back a separate Trust as an alternative to the present council-run committee.”

Micro-living planned for centre of West Ealing

Binfield Property Investment Trust’s Planning Application for Chignell Place, a short cul-de-sac off Broadway in West Ealing centre, proposes 63 flats rising to eight storeys. 59 of these flats are one bedroom flats and many of them look to have a Gross Internal Area (GIA) of about 24sq m.  Both the new Draft London Plan and The Mayor of London’s 2010 Interim London Housing Design Guide specifies a GIA (minimum space standard) for a one person dwelling of 37 sq m. For a bedroom alone the Guide specifies a GIA of 6.2 sq m and for ‘adequate bed space’ 8 sq m GIA.

The flats will be available to rent.

No flats for the disabled are planned and only four of the flats will accommodate a wheelchair. There are no public or disabled car parking space and no able-bodied car parking places.

There is a ’Laundry’ on each floor, with a GIA of 3 sq m. Presumably this would house one washing machine for 10 -12 flats. There are bike stores on each floor but only one small, all purpose lift. A small café is also on the plan.

The plans are perhaps suitable for a student hall of residence, but the Planning Application is not couched in this way. One does wonder whether this 24 sq m living space will become a West Ealing centre standard should this application receive Ealing Council approval

Attached is a section of one of the plans – this shows Apartments 46, 47 48, 49, 50 and 51 on the fifth floor.

It’s quite hard to get a good sense of how the site will look once complete but the image directly above clearly shows the actual area to be developed and the one at the top of this article and below  gives some idea of how it will look from the Uxbridge Road.

The Planning Application reference is 184490FUL and the Planning Application website is here. The deadline for comments is 30 November 2018.

Eric Leach

Vice Chair

West Ealing Neighbours

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.