Free Royal Wedding Community Celebration at St James Church Friday 29th April

St James Church is hosting a free Royal Wedding Community Celebration from 10.15am on Friday 29th April. You can watch the wedding on a big screen, enjoy a shared meal – please bring a plate of food to add to the buffet. There’s a Fun Family Disco from 1-3pm and a kids fancy dress competition on the Prince/Princess theme.

All welcome and if it’s raining the event will be inside. Tea, coffee and soft drinks available – donations welcome.

David Highton

The battle is on to save Northfields Library

Vice Chair of WEN Eric Leach went to last night’s consultation on Northfields Library, and reports back.

With standing room only at a well attended meeting last night, Ealing Council tried valiantly to defend its proposal to close Northfields Library.  The Council plans to close Hanwell, Northfields, Northolt and Perivale Libraries as part of its need to cut £65 million from its running costs for 2011/12.

Council Leader Bell attempted to respond to residents issues and questions which included:

1. Public Libraries are open to all and provide easy, affordable access to information and books to both young and old. Closing public libraries is a sign of a civilisation going backwards.

2. In 2006/7 the Council spent £610,200 on rejuvenating Northfields Library. How can you now just write off that money and close the library down?

3. £2 million is currently being spent to build a new Log Cabin, Scout hut and children’s centre integrated with Northfields Library. How can you now take the library out of this integrated children’s facility?

4 £5.5 million is to be spent on building a new car park in Southall. Set against that it would cost just £89,000/year to keep Northfields Library open. Who are more important here? Cars or people?

5. Why not cut senior Council executive salaries or reduce the number of highly paid senior staff in order to continue funding the complete library service? Currently 20 senior Council staff collectively earn around £2 million /year.

6. £16.3 million is being spent on new Council offces in Acton, Greenford and Southall. Kill this project and use some of the savings to continue the complete library service.

7. Ward Forum budgets could be used to help keep Northfields Library operational.

Councillor Bell made the point over and over again that volunteers could take over running the library. This was clearly offensive to professional, qualified library staff. It did occur to me that he probably wouldn’t make this suggestion in education (volunteers as teachers?) or in healthcare (volunteer brain surgeons?).

There was plenty of political points scoring by both Conservative and Labour Coucillors and the audience showed its complete disdain for this. At one point a member of the audience threw the mobile microphone at the Councillors on the top table. His aim was poor and he didn’t hit any of them!

There is an Ealing Council public consultation on library closure taking place until 5 May. You can access it at Please fill it in. But be careful as the questions (like those in many recent Council consultations) are ‘loaded’. This particular ‘loading ‘ is that the questions give the impression that libraries MUST close when in fact cost savings out of the Council’s £1 billion turnover could be made elsewhere (see issues/questions above).

Eric Leach
14 April 2011

What’s the story of the murals on the front of Sainsbury’s?

Anyone know about this mural?

Chair of WEN, David Highton examines the history of some interesting artwork in the centre of West Ealing

When we first moved here in 1978 there was a small Sainsbury’s in the Uxbridge Road not far from the current one. And I well remember this Sainsbury’s being built on the site of what used to be the library but I can’t for the life of me remember or find out anything about the five panels on the front of the shop. I’ve been to the Central Library and looked through back copies of the Ealing Gazette. I’ve even tried ploughing through pages of Council meeting minutes of the early 1980s but nowhere can I find any reference to these panels and who the artist was.

Sadly, it’s all too easy to forget these panels even exist as they seem poorly maintained. They all show children playing but much of the detail is now hard to see. It’s such a shame for them to go unnoticed. Does anyone know anything about them?

David Highton

Hair and Beauty shop taking over old Richer Sounds site

Chair of WEN, David Highton reports on developments on West Ealing’s high street.

The owners of Farah Hair and Beauty who sold their shop on the Uxbridge Road a few doors along have taken the lease on the old Richer Sounds shop on the corner of the Uxbridge Road and St James Avenue. I bumped in to the husband of the couple that ran Farah and he is hoping they can open up their new salon in about another three weeks once the fit out is finished.

Catalyst Housing Association owns this site along with a number of key blocks of homes locally.  WEN and then West Ealing Arts tried to secure this shop for its community shop idea but, mainly due to the cost of refurbishment, it all fell through.

That corner desperately needs revitalising and we wish them all the best and hope to see them make it a thriving business. Oh, and I’d still like to see a coffee shop and tables in that bit of St James Avenue.


David Highton