Barn Dance on Saturday and still time to see 4.48 Psychosis at Questors

These two events are a bit of a contrast but both worth knowing about:

The annual Barn Dance at St James Church is on this Saturday from 6-9.30pm.  It’s great fun and the tickets are only £5 for an adult, £2.50 for a child and a family ticket for four is £12.  Plus you get a hot dog and popcorn thrown in with the ticket.  The music comes from The West London Folk Band. Tickets available from either St James’ Church on 020 8840 2586 or St John’s 020 8566 3507.

4.48 Psychosis is on at Questors until Saturday.  I saw it on Tuesday and was very impressed with how this play was staged.  Here’s the information I wrote about the play for a previous post plus a brief review:

‘The Sunday Times has picked out the Sarah Kane season at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre as one of its ‘ hottest picks’ for 2015.  However, you don’t need to go to Sheffield to experience Sarah Kane’s talent and reflect on the loss to the theatre of her suicide at just 28.  Ealing’s Questors Theatre has Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis on later this month.  It describes the play as follows:

A rhythm of raw beauty – vivid and imaginative theatre

“Here am I
and there is my body
dancing on glass”

With its powerful use of the most beautiful and poetic language we are drawn into the pained world of Kane herself at one moment in time: 4.48am. Sarah Kane’s masterpiece is theatre as a text for performance rather than a play. It is about love and about survival and about hope.

Several weeks after completing the play, at the age of 28, Sarah Kane committed suicide leaving this her masterwork – an affirmation to live rather than a suicide note.

This production will be an unforgettable experience – an evening of vivid visual theatre, raw and beautiful.’

Suitable for ages 16+
Contains disturbing adult themes and smoke

Details of tickets etc here


‘I saw this play last night and was very impressed with what is an extremely difficult play to stage. There are no named characters, no specific voices given to any character and no indication of how many performers or of any gender.  Having said that I thought Questors put on a powerful and inspiring performance. An abiding memory of the play is the stark staging and dissonant music which caught the fractured mood of the mind of what I take to be the central character.  It’s interesting that the music changed to something much more melodic right at the very end.

For me, the play gave great insight in to the mind of someone with serious depression and the mood swings, the darkness, anger and humour that flickers like a faulty light.  Questors staged Sarah Kane’s play with an all female cast with some strong performances and is well worth seeing.’

Ambitious plans for Old Oak Common a step nearer

It’s not strictly local but the ambitious plans to develop Old Oak Common in Acton will surely have an impact here.  According the the BBC news website Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities, has approved plans to redevelop Old Oak Common.  The plans include:

24,000 new homes

55,000 new jobs

A massive new station for Crossrail and HS2 by 2026

There’s also talk of QPR moving to a new stadium there though their plans have miffed Cargiant in Scrubs Lane as QPR seemed not to have discussed their plans with them and they own a big chunk of the land concerned.


Plans for 300 flats on BT Telephone Exchange site in Gordon Road, West Ealing

Gordon Road, Ealing - ariel view


The has been quite alot of toing and froing over this BT Telephone Exchange site in Gordon Road but the Council has designated it for residential development. The developer is Telereal Trillium and their plan is for a two phase development:

  • Redevelopment of Rome House and the adjacent car park for up to 155 flats
  • Redevelopment of Castle House into new terraced housing along Gordon Road and 3 new residential blocks of up to 166 new flats
  • Use of the existing access on Gordon Road
  • Generous communal and private amenity space including children’s playspace

The developer is holding an exhibition of their plans at the Drayton Court Hotel on Thursday 5th February 2-8pm.  They want to hear people’s views on their plans.  There will be feedback forms at the exhibition or you can comment online




Successful petition means full Council meeting to debate future of Solace Centre

The Solace Centre in West Ealing is the borough’s only mental health drop-in centre and has been threatened with possible closure – see here for previous story.  The users have been working flat out to save their centre and now have over 2,000 signatures on their petition.  This means they are allowed the right to a full Council Chamber debate – Tuesday 27th starting 7pm. The meeting is at the Town Hall and is open to the public.

I think most of us are well aware of the Council’s need to make some very tough decisions about cuts to services. However, this is where we need some joined up thinking and not to simply see budgets in isolation from their consequences on budget holders in another area of care.  For example, what happens if the Solace Centre is closed and even just a few of its users end up in hospital or community services?  What is the cost of running the Solace Centre compared to the cost to the NHS/West London Mental Health Trust of looking after someone.  The cost of running the Solace Centre seems to be about £150,000 pa with the Council paying some £110,000 or so of this and the West London Mental Health Trust paying the balance.

I found the following on the BBC News site for 10th April 2014 which makes interesting reading even if it is not an exact comparison for the Solace Centre:

‘Rethink Mental Illness published the report with the London School of Economics.

The report said it costs on average £13 a day to support someone with psychosis or schizophrenia in the community.

It said this compared with the £350 average daily cost of keeping a mental health patient in hospital.’

The point about joined up thinking is that whilst the Council may save money from its budget if it closes the Solace Centre it runs the risk of passing on greater costs to the NHS at an overall increased cost to taxpayers if just a few of the Centre’s users end up in hospital as a result of the closure.




Exhibition of plans to redevelop a major part of Ealing Broadway town centre – Thurs 29th – Sat 31st Jan

Benson Elliot, which bought a large section of the Ealing Broadway town centre at the end of 2012, are about to reveal their plans for the area between Ealing Broadway and The Arcadia Centre – area outlined on the map below.

They are holding an exhibition next week on Thursday 29th, Friday 30th between 4pm and 8pm and Saturday 31st between 10am and 4pm at 7a The Broadway (a shop opposite the station).

Full details can be seen here

Drug arrests made in raid on Chignell Place

According to the Ealing today website Chignell Place in West Ealing is cordoned off by police.

Chignell Place is an odd little cul-de-sac off the Uxbridge Road.  In Kensington, Knightsbidge or Mayfair a little dead-end street like this would be prime property whereas in West Ealing it has a bit of a suspect history.  I can remember it once had a night club and a rather good Caribbean restaurant.  Now it has some cafes and other small businessses. It has, and has had for a long time, an edgy feel to it and I know many people who quite simply won’t go there as they don’t feel safe.  I can remember going there a few years ago to count the number of shops for a WEN survey and in no time at all someone was out an at my side asking what I was doing and why.  There have been stories of traffic wardens being afraid to go there to enforce parking rules and even of yellow lines on the road being painted out.

More news when we have it.

UPDATE Tuesday 20th January

The police made six drug-related arrests and found quite large quantities of the now-illegal drug khat.  The police said the raid was carried out as a a result of community concerns over drug dealing and anti-social behaviour.  This is certainly true as I have been to various meetings over the past few years where exactly these problems have been raised, particularly over Chignell Place. There have also been complaints about drug dealing and anti-social behaviour in and around St James Ave directly across the road from Chignell Place, so this police action is welcome news.  In the long run we need to find a way to make the pedestrianised area at the top of St James Ave more well used by locals as it’s a dead space at the moment and consequently attracts drug dealers because they won’t be disturbed by people walking by.  WEN has tried to do something with this space, including a monthly craft market, but we never managed to find a way to succeed. I know the West Ealing Business Improvement District team is working on an idea for St James Ave, so I hope sooner rather than later something will come to fruition that changes the nature of this area and gives us a good reon to go there and make use of it.

More details on the Ealing Today website





Explore Ealing’s amazing arts and culture – Saturdays 31st Jan and 7th Feb

Launching ‘The Story So Far’
Do you want to find out about the amazing arts and culture in Ealing? Then why not come along to the launch of The Story So Far on Saturday 31 January? It will be a fun-filled, jam-packed day of arts, music, dance, crafts, and storytelling.

Funded by Arts Council England the project is the first of its kind and will be bringing together and connecting the many creative organisations and individuals in Ealing under the umbrella of The Story So Far. It is a partnership between Ealing Council, Cultural Community Solutions Libraries, Acton Arts Forum and the local arts sector, and will link arts and literary venues and activities from one end of Ealing to the other.

The first of two launch events will be taking place at the Dominion Centre and Library in Southall on Saturday 31st January from 11am. The second will be at Acton Library, in the Everyone Active Acton Centre, on Saturday 7th February from 11am. Both events are free and everyone is welcome (no tickets required).

Rachel Pepper, project co-ordinator, said: “The launches promise to be a great way to start The Story So Far, bringing literary, visual and performing arts together in the two new library spaces. There has already been a great deal of interest in the project and these events will give a flavour of what is to follow.” (Acton Arts Forum)

The day will kick off with explosive beats from Dhol2Dhol Indian dhol drummers; mesmerising performances from The Refügees Sufi-Jazz musicians; and a special appearance from WAPPY Young Poets who recently worked with Benjamin Zephaniah. There will also be showcases from Stories in the Street; Ealing Chinese Mandarin School performance; Society Dance, Shavanarthanalayan Indian dance; Afghan Academy performance; Pitshanger Poets; Kathakali Dancers youth dancers; Constellations poetry and Vishvam Tabla.

As well as the amazing performances for you to watch and enjoy you can also explore your creative side at a variety of taster sessions and workshops, including playwriting with OPEN Ealing, postcard making with Gunnersbury Museum, ARK’s Arabic calligraphy, weaving and tapestry with Aruna Reddy, badge making, ‘Anthropomorphic: when humans go wild’ taster and more.

Join popular storyteller and musician Richard Neville, who will bring the library alive with his passionate storytelling for children and their families. Meet the friendly library staff who can sign you up to the library today for free, you can even choose out of a variety of magical illustrative library cards by Jackie Morris to take away with you.

There will be lots of stalls where you can find out more and get involved with some of Ealing’s arts and cultural activities. Some of the artists and arts organisations taking part include the ARK, Pitshanger Pop Up, University of West London creative arts, Ealing Autumn Festival, 40:20 Art Group, I Goddess Creation, Pitshanger Poets & book sales, Carl Gabriel carnival art, W3 gallery, Westside Radio, W5 productions, Zaid art, A&A Photography, Acton Muslim Walks, South Acton Imagination Library, artist & film maker Alison Lumb and APPLE arts.

There will be a programme of activities, events, workshops and performances from February with something for everyone. Check The Story So Far website, Facebook, and Twitter pages and sign up for the newsletter for the latest updates, or email

We welcome you to join us for a whole day of fun, free arts activities for all!

Ealing Music & Film Valentine Festival 10th-15th Feb – celebrating Ealing’s Polish Heritage

‘Ealing has a massive world-class heritage of music and film.  Our film studios defined the British Film Industry; our musical traditions include Rock, Classic, Jazz and Voice.  This year – our third – we are focusing the programme of music and film around a theme of Our Polish Heritage; this is an incredibly rich heritage for us in terms of both composers and performers – of all genres.  Our aim is to bring together world famous musicians, actors, film producers and a host of celebrated performers to give us all an insight into their artistic world, bringing their talents to as wide an audience as possible. Remembering that The Festival Trust’s charitable aim is to invest any surplus in helping young local people develop their cultural skills and awareness through targeted support to projects, local schools and youth organisations.  As last year we have a focus on young players and artists, and we are including some in the programme as part of our charitable outreach support and investment in the young talent in Ealing.’

There is masses going on over the five days with classical music, Polish folk music, jazz, films talks and much, much more.  You can find out full details and how to book tickets on their website.


What future for West Ealing’s Solace mental health drop-in centre?

Most of us have probably never come across the Solace Centre in West Eaing.  It’s tucked away at the end of Bowmans Close and well off the beaten track.  Yet, this mental health drop-in centre is suddenly at the centre of a storm with the Council threatening to close it as part of budget cuts.  This decision has been put on hold following the recent death at Ealing Broadway station of one of its users.

The Council’s plan was to close the centre and give users their own personal budget to purchase appropriate care and services. However, I’ve walked past this centre hundreds of times on my way to the allotments across the road and have always been struck by the groups of people sitting outside talking, laughing and just relaxing together.  The people have always been friendly and seem happy there.  I cannot see the logic of closing it down as how can a personal budget replace the opportunity for users to meet, socialise and feel safe?

My colleague Eric Leach has written this about the Solace Centre:

‘On the face of it if the centre is providing a valuable cost effective service why can’t it be funded by the NHS West London Mental Heath Trust (WLMHT)? WLMHT currently provides £47,000 annual funding for the centre which pays for the weekend opening of the centre.

Alternatively why can’t funds be found from Ealing’s £29+ million 2015/16 Better Care Fund (BCF)? This pooled fund is operated by LBE and the Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group. BCF exists in order to facilitate integrating health care and social care. The budget has not been finalised but should be in February 2015.

Maybe WLMHT and the Ealing BCF could jointly fund the $151,000 annual running cost of Solace?

More on Solace and to sign the Save Our Solace Centre petition

There’s more about this story of the Ealing Today website

Plans for redeveloping the Sherwood Close Estate now available

The plans for the demolition and redevelopment of the Sherwood Close Estate is now on the Council’s website. Here’s a summary from the application:


The Proposal: Demolition of all buildings within Sherwood Close (including 209 residential units, parking structures and ancillary buildings) and the construction of 305 new residential units (88 x one-bedroom, 157 x two-bedroom, 52 x three-bedroom and 8 x four-bedroom in a mix of housing tenures) in four apartment buildings varying between two-storeys and nine-storeys high and a row of three-storey townhouses; a 70 sq .m community space (D2 Use Class); associated energy plant room; refuse and recycling facilities; storage for 410 bicycles; 122 car parking spaces (comprising 86 spaces on-street and 36 spaces in an under croft parking area); site-wide hard and soft landscaping including public, semi-private and private amenity space and public realm improvements; the closure of part of Sherwood Close and reconfiguration of the public highway including the construction of two new north-south streets between Sherwood Close and Tawny Close, and the construction of new pedestrian / cycle routes between Sherwood Close, Tawny Close and Northfield Avenue and other associated works.


This is a major redevelopment right in the middle of West Ealing.  It will take some years to complete as it has to be done in stages in order to rehouse residents whilst the old blocks are demolished.  Like all such developments  there will be a mixture of types of housing, including a nine-storey block of flats for sale on Northfield Ave at the top end near the junction with Mattock Lane.

There are a lot of papers to read through for this application so more news once I’ve had the chance to look at them in more detail.