It feels like it’s been a long time coming but BHS in West Ealing has finally closed. It was due to close some time ago when the site was sold for development but that was put on hold and it kept going until the whole of BHS went out of business.
For many who have lived here for all or much of their lives it will feel like the end of an era. BHS was the last of the multiples and department stores that once made West Ealing the main place to shop – better than Ealing Broadway. I could list all the shops that were once here but those days have long gone and West Ealing shops now offer a very different experience. They are far more ethnically diverse, mostly independently owned and we must have one of the best shopping centres in the borough for food. Rather than look back and regret what we have lost I think we should celebrate what we have. Sure, the high street is dominated by budget shopping and I would like to see a few other types of shop to give a bit more variety but I hardly ever need to leave West Ealing for my everyday shopping. I also think change will come as the Green Man Lane and Sherwood Close Estates get developed along with the BHS site. These developments will bring in many hundreds of new residents and I feel sure new opportunities for other types of shop will arise. It’s actually an exciting time for West Ealing and I’d love to be able to fast forward 10 years to see what the high street will look like in 2026. However, I’ll just have to wait.
I was shocked to hear yesterday that David Eales has died. He was an early member of West Ealing Neighbours and a great supporter of our efforts. He was passionate about cycling and worked tirelessly to help and encourage others to get cycling. I remember being very pleased one year when he had time to help out with our Abundance project by cycling round collecting surplus fruit from houses across Ealing. It seemed to perfectly capture the spirit of the project. He was always generous with his time and helped us with the cycling proposals we put in our report about improving pedestrian safety at the Lido Junction.
My abiding memory of him is of seeing him cycling past our house on his way to his allotment on Northfields Avenue with his spade and tools stashed in the bike’s trailer.
Our condolences to his family at this sad time. West Ealing will miss him.
West Ealing is changing fast. Hundreds of milions of pounds are being spent on redeveloping the Green Man Lane and Sherwood Close Estates and millions more wil be spent redeveloping the BHS site. As a result many hundreds of new families wil make West Ealing their home.On top of this we have Crossrail coming in 2018 and all the changes that it is likely to bring to the area. At this time of great change the West Ealing Centre Neighbourhood Forum has put together a detailed spatial plan for land use in the centre of West Ealing (see map below for area of plan). The plan looks at how a series of sites in West Ealing could be developed. These include the Royal Mail building in Manor Road and Chignell Place along with some radical ideas for building a mixed use development at the southern edge of Dean Gardens.
Also included are outline plans for how to invest the money from the future Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) that will go to WECNF if their plans are approved. The CIL is a planning charge paid by developers to support the local infrastructure. WECNF’s plans propose investing in improving or replacing Jacob’s Ladder, maintaining the old Woolworth’s facade, improving Dean Gardens as well as investing in community facilities and community arts.
Lastly, WECNF put forward a series of local buildings as heritage assets. Buildings such as the Salvation Army Hall in Leeland Road, Ealing Magistrates’ Court, the bookend buildings to the entrance to Chignell Place, the parade of shops and offices above Barclays Bank and the two art deco buildings at the top of St James Avenue.
So, this isn’t just a dry old document. It’s a plan that profoundly affects how West Ealing could develop over the next decade. These plans are available to view at West Ealing Library and are on their website. Comments are very welcome and the closing date for these is 5th October. Comments should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org