Fancy volunteering for some apple and pear picking?

WEN Abundance are coming into our exceptionaly busy phase with apples and pears coming out of our ears ready to be picked. If you are free, particularily during the daytime this week or next I would love to hear from you.

Most of our picking takes place in private gardens, we have equipment for you to use and will offer safety guidelines too.

We use the fruit in a variety of different ways from juicing through to making our own jams and chutneys. Any money we make from the sale of the produce is ploughed back into the project to help us buy equipment.

So if you want to help us reduce waste please offer up some of your spare time.

Contact me on here, or by email to wenabundance@gmail.com

Street drinkers in West Ealing move to Green Man Passage

Well it looks like the Police have been successful in moving the drinkers out of Dean Gardens; instead they seem to have taken up residence in Green Man Passage.  For those of you not familiar with this cut through, it is accessed via Alexandra Road by Waitrose and takes you in-between the Cancer Research shop and Seba Electronics in West Ealing Broadway.

There are two Happy Child Nurseries based there which makes the experience even more unsatisfatory for those of us that drop of and pick up our children. I often walk in to the entrance of the Nursery passing groups of drinkers sat on the wall by the entrance.  Rubbish is often strewn along the route and in a small passage near the baby Nursery.

At our recent public meeting Paul Dunn talked about potential solutions to this growing problem – including gating and locking this area at night.  This can only be a good idea, but still doesn’t tackle what goes on here during the day, pretty much everyday.

Yesterday at the Alexandra Road entrance I witnessed addtional activity that I won’t go into to detail on here, but leads me to think that it’s not only drinking that is the issue.

If anyone has any ideas on what can be done, I would love to hear them.

Diane Gill

Book review: Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

An American children’s classic published in 1876 was not an obvious title to choose for our book group and as I read the introduction in the edition I’d picked up, my heart sank at the thought of reading what was heavily criticised from quite a lofty and literary perspective. My concern was misplaced, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and so did all of the group; as for the introduction, I think the critic was trying to be academic with what is essentially a ripping yarn.

Genuinely a children’s book which also appeals to adults (I spoke to a 10 year old who had recently read the same novel and thoroughly enjoyed it). So why does it work so well? After all, the cultural references are firmly embedded in American culture and that of more than a century ago. The answer is simply that this is a good adventure story about a mischievous boy, the sort we all either know or recognise elements of in ourselves.

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Council helps riot-hit West Ealing traders

I attended a meeting of local traders last night at St James Church called by the Council to help those traders affected by recent the looting and destruction. It was well organised, well thought through and well attended not just by West Ealing traders but also by traders from South Ealing.

Council leader Julian Bell introduced the meeting and said over £100,000 had been paid out so far in the £1200 grants to affected shops and businesses across Ealing. He also talked about West Ealing being somewhat overlooked in the reporting of the looting and damage of that night. He gave a powerful description of the CCTV images of the determination of the looters to break into Seba Electronics and other shuttered premises. He said he has also asked the Borough Commander that the large screen just put up in Ealing Broadway displaying images of the rioters to help identify them be moved to West Ealing when possible.

The heart of the meeting was a mixture of Council staff and independent advisors talking about some of the key isues of concern to traders. Aileen Jones , Head of Planning Services, looked at any planning issues that might arise from traders changing their shop fronts to put in new shutters (Council leader Julian Bell said think about toughened glass – Sainsbury’s in West Ealing survived because the looters couldn’t break through its toughened glass front windows). There was useful information from an insurance expert on claims made under the Riot Damages Act of 1886 under which the Metropolitan Police may be liable to pay some of the costs involved. This one is a bit tricky because the Act is old and simply talks of loss and it’s not clear if that is just physical loss of goods and property but also loss of trading income if a shop has to shut for repairs etc.

Paul Dunn of the Community Safety team gave a very good overview of their work going round talking to the local traders and residents affected. He told of some residents of the sheltered accommodation just off the high street packing their suitcases for fear of having to be evacuated if the shops were set alight. His talk gave a very moving insight in to just how far the impact of the looting and destruction reached in to our community and what he and his team have been doing to alleviate people’s concerns and come to terms with what happened that night.

The final presentation was by Michael Sylvester, chair of the West Ealing traders group (WEB) and myself as chair of West Ealing Neighbours. Michael urged all the West Ealing traders to come to the next WEB meeting on Monday 5th September 6.30pm at St James Church. By working together local traders can have a more powerful voice and be more effective in working with the Council right across a range of important matters. I followed Michael and gave a brief run down of the plans for West Ealing Family Day on Saturday 24th September and how WEN will do all it can to encourage its members and all other residents to shop locally.

David Highton

Property Developers are Ecstatic about New Planning Proposals. I Wonder Why?

Along with the draft Localism Bill, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) promises to simplify planning law and empower residents to have more say in how land is used in their own neighbourhoods. All very laudable intentions. However all of this draft legislation is based upon and biased towards economic growth. In the NPPF there is a presumption in favour of development. Development in Ealing, as we all know, means demolition and new build (mostly of private sale flats)

Growth is stalled in the UK and none of us really believe experts who tell us that economic growth is just around the corner. So do the plans facilitate us all making the best use of what we’ve got? Oh no. With 1.8 million people on Council Housing lists throughout the country one might expect that the new draft plan to directly address this social housing shortfall – but a sadly it doesn’t.

You can make your own mind up about these new national plans and submit your feedback at:

www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuildings/draftframework

Also Eric Leach has his own colourful slant on the proposals which you can view here.

Come and see local artist David Stokes at OPEN’s contemporary gallery tonight and until 30th August

Local artist, David Stokes an abstract impressionist, launches a one man show at the OPEN contemporary gallery tonight (Friday 19th August) from 6-9pm and then Monday to Saturday 11am – 5pm.

The show features ‘Violet’ from the 2008 series alongside more recent work referencing the countryside close to his home and places he has visited. The show runs until 30 August 2011.

David Stokes has lived and worked in Ealing for twenty five years and has a studio in Norwood Green. He studied Art and Design at Stafford College of Art and Fine Art at Manchester Polytechnic.

OPEN Ealing is at 113 Uxbridge Road, Ealing W5 5TL (opposite the fire station). Telephone 020 8579 5558.

Supt Andy Rowell breaks down over Ealing Riots

At tonight’s special Council meeting myself, Gill and Allison witnessed Superintendent Andy Rowell, Borough Commander tell his side of the story…

Many questions have been asked about Police presence on the night of the riots and there have been criticisms too. What many people wouldn’t have even contemplated is that there were only 35 officers in Ealing Broadway on the night of the riots. Pleas for more assistance via the Resourcing Centre were met with ‘no resources are available’. Having already sent 37 of his specially trained officers to alternative London locations Supt Andy Rowell was unable to retrieve them to handle the ensuing riots on his own patch.

Supt Andy Rowell broke down when he re-told how the events of the night played out and how his officers were severely outnumbered attempting to deal with around 200 rioters in Bond Street alone.  No riot shields, no helmets, no special uniform – nothing.

After listening to this compelling account of the Ealing riots spontaneous applause broke out amongst the chamber and for those of us sitting watching the live video link.