Free laid-back jazz at OPEN Ealing this Friday lunchtime

Fran Clark FFM JanCome to OPEN and celebrate the new year with some laid-back yet groovy soul and jazz music! Local established singer and songwriter Fran Clark will be teaming up with Pete Clark on Friday 6 January 2012 from 12.30- 1.30pm to perform at the next First Friday Music.

Fran frequently performs locally including featuring at Brentford Festival and is celebrated for her jazzy mellow vibe and emotional strength of her vocals. With her first album “To Fly” received excellent reviews from online and local radio stations, Fran is in her final recording stage of her second album and many of her original songs will be featured in this performance.

The performance will be held in the OPEN gallery on the second floor. A light lunch and refreshments will be available in the self-service café.

This performance is admission free.

Local people to plan the centres of Ealing and West Ealing

According to the new Localism Act local people will soon be able to assemble a Neighbourhood Forum of 21 people or more who will discuss and propose the design of their local area. Save Ealing Centre (SEC), an alliance of 25 residents’ and community groups, has proposed the setting up of two Neighbourhood Forums – one for Ealing centre and one for West Ealingcentre. As part of these initiatives in 2011, SEC sought funding from national government, which if successful would amount to £40,000. We’ll hear soon whether this bid has been successful.

Neighbourhood Forums are required to be made up of a representative group of local stakeholders. I expect residents’ groups, community groups, businesses, faith groups, educational establishments and infrastructure providers to attend and contribute to these forum meetings.

These forum meetings are likely to be a breath of fresh air as they are likely to be the first such regular meetings in modern times at which local people/traders/service providers will be asked about how they want their town centres to be preserved, re-used and /or ‘developed’. These will be difficult discussions in which trade-offs between different needs – like quality of life, culture, healthcare, education, law and order, business and housing – will have to be thrashed out.

Unsurprisingly there are whole ‘rafts’ of planning legislation which the forums will have to wrestle with. At national level we have the newly proposed NationalPlanning PolicyFramework. At regional level we have the new version of The London Plan. At town level we have Ealing Council’s draft Local Development Framework Core Strategy (LDF CS). National government will decide whether it wants to accept Ealing’s LDF CS in early 2012.

All these planning policies contain a presumption in favour of property development, which seems somewhat out of place in a country with massive debts, a depressed construction industry and with no prospects of any significant economic growth for years to come. However it appears that no major political party wants to adopt a common sense policy of making the best use of what we’ve got.

The Localism Act will become fully enabled by April 2012. Neighbourhood Forums have a lifetime of five years. To find out more about Neighbourhood Forums and the Localism Bill you’ll find a useful briefing at To track progress of these Ealing Neighbourhood Forum  initiatives see SEC’s web site at and West Ealing Neighbours’ web site at


Eric Leach

3 January 2012