As part of an ongoing series, Eric Leach reports from the Independent Examination of Ealing Council’s 2026 Local Development Framework Core Strategy (LDF CS).
DAY 3 – Thursday 3 November 2011
Government Inspector Elizabeth Fieldhouse this morning examined Ealing Council’s plans for the A40 Corridor and Park Royal in front of a dwindling audience of residents’ community groups and two land owners. Consistent with the rest of the Ealing Local Development Framework Core Strategy the thrust of the plans are for new housing (3,000+ units).
Ealing Council provided a useful update on high speed upgrade of the West Coast Mainline railway (HS2). Work is expected to begin in 2017 with completion in 2026. There is apparently no direct positive impact on Ealing – there are no Ealing HS2 stations planned – and our nearest HS2 station will be at Old Oak Common where HS2 will interchange with Crossrail. The negative impact will be noise pollution and vibration.
There were extensive discussions about the Grand Union Canal. Ealing Civic Society (ECS) and Ealing Fields Residents felt that the formal commitments to widening tow paths (to accommodate bikers and pedestrians); landscaping in areas of industrial abandonment; and facilitating freight access were not strong enough. The phrase ‘to enhance’ was proposed to replace the phrase ‘to protect and promote’. Ealing Council announced that money had been allocated for canal tow paths improvements.
The land owner who owns a large car park just north of Hanger Lane tube station again argued the case to be allowed to implement a residential-led mixed use development on the site. Ealing Council dug in again and stated that the land was designated as a strategic industrial site. The land owner pointed out that the upcoming National Planning Policy Framework would strengthen his case, and that the Council’s attitude was Draconian given that the owner had the money and the inclination to produce a sustainable development which would provide much more long term community value than the site remaining as a car park.
WEN expressed the frustration of many residents about the rigidity of Ealing Council planning policy in some places and the flexibility of planning policies elsewhere. WEN quoted the Westel House site in the so called Office Alley on the Uxbridge Road in the central Ealing area. Over a 15 year period the site had been a BT office, a university and was now to become a hotel and private residential skyscraper!
ECS presented the case that the whole area under discussion was not homogenous and contained some sites which should be given prominence for development/regeneration and some that shouldn’t. The Council’s ‘ribbon’ development approach had a1930s feel to it. The LibDem spokesperson added fuel to this argument by pointing out that the history of Ealing is one of a collection of growing towns and villages over time being shoehorned together into The London Borough of Ealing. ECS then quoted the English Heritage /Ealing Council Statement of Common Ground which clearly seemed to back up its argument:
…achieve a balance between regeneration objectives and the conservation of the built and natural environment
The Inspector questioned the inconsistency of the figures in the LDF covering the area. Was it a 3,000 homes target throughout the document? WEN pointed out that the September consultation figure was ‘3,000 homes’ but now it was ‘over 3,000 homes’.
£300,000 has been allocated by Ealing Council for cycle hubs. A Cycle Superhighway is planned for Park Royal with a completion date of 2015.
There are also two projects to monitor air quality along the A40. The TfL land owner representative announced that tree planting on TfL property along the A40 would begin very soon.
ECS pointed out that community facilities were sadly lacking at the eastern/Acton end of this area. The Council’s defence of this was that the area is predominantly industrial land within Park Royal so there is low demand for community services.
We then broke for lunch. After lunch Special Opportunity Sites were discussed but I was unable to attend this session. The Examination continues again on Tuesday 8 November discussing the very contentious 9,000+ new homes along the Uxbridge Road/Crossrail Corridor.
4 November 2011