Historic Public Planning Inquiry on Ealing Centre to begin on Tuesday 9th May

Historic Public Planning Inquiry on Ealing Centre to Begin on Tuesday 9 May 2017

This is the first of Eric Leach’s daily entries about this enquiry and refelct his personal views and not those of either West Ealing Neighbours or Save Ealing’s Centre.

‘It’s quite rare for the Secretary of State to ‘call-in’ a planning application. It’s even rarer for the Secretary of State to do this twice for the same piece of land. This probably unique process has resulted in a Public Planning Inquiry at Ealing Town Hall from 9 to 27 May 2017.

The land in question is bounded to the north by mainline railway lines, to the south and east by The Broadway and to the west by The Arcadia Centre (that was) itself bounded by Springbridge Road. In 2009 when the first Planning Inquiry took place the area included the Arcadia site. The inquiry, dubbed the Arcadia Inquiry, was won by local stakeholders who ‘beat’ developers Glenkerrin and the London Borough of Ealing (LBE). I wrote a daily blog on this inquiry.

The Planning Application in question is P/2015/3479. It relates specifically to 9 – 42 The Broadway and 1 – 4 Haven Place. It’s a dense, mixed use development involving wholesale demolition. The land owner/developer is Benson Elliot (BE). The two main objectors (so called Rule 6 participants) are Save Ealing’s Centre (SEC) and Historic England (HE). SEC are being supported by Ealing Civic Society (ECS) and local Conservation Panels. The application supporters are BE and LBE.

The timing of the inquiry is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, the ownership of the land is likely to change as strong allegations exist that BE has agreed to sell the land to British Land. As is the habit of new owners, they will have their own ideas about how to develop the site – so whatever the outcome of the inquiry we are likely to go through yet another planning application cycle.

Secondly, we are about to hear whether the Planning Inspectorate will allow LBE’s illegal encroachment onto the Common Land at Haven Green. This issue was the subject of yet another public inquiry in Ealing Town Hall in March 2017.

Thirdly, we have the imminent departure of LBE’s regeneration supremo Pat Hayes. Mr Hayes became LBE’s Planning and Regeneration boss in 2007. Since then he has been responsible for the chaos on the unbuilt cinema site, our inadequate Crossrail Stations, the retail disaster at Dickens Yard, illegal Haven Green encroachment, gifting 61 acres at Warren Farm to QPR, lack of support for Neighbourhood Forums, Conservation Areas and heritage assets, annual inappropriate junkets to MIPIM in Cannes and, of course, the 2009 Arcadia development failure.

I will attend every day of the inquiry and at the end of each day I will be writing a blow by blow report. David Highton has kindly agreed to post the reports here in the WEN blog. The opinions expressed in my reports will be personal ones and not WEN or SEC opinions. As for the outcome of the inquiry, I anticipate a unique victory for SEC, ECS, local residents, Historic England and for common sense.’

Eric Leach

29 April 2017

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