Ealing Centre public enquiry cancelled as site sold to British Land

Next week’s public enquiry in to the planning application for 9-42 The Broadway has been cancelled following the last minute sale of the site by Benson Elliott to British Land.   Consequently, the planning application has been withdrawn.


Reflections on the Inquiry Cancellation

I would dearly love to tell you that the land owner Benson Elliot got cold feet at the last minute – realising it would lose – and withdrew its Planning Application. However the reason for the withdrawal /cancellation is apparently much more prosaic. It’s all about money. Seemingly on 5 May 2017 British Land (BL) finalised the purchase of 9-42 The Broadway from Benson Elliot (BE). This led to BE withdrawing its planning Application. No doubt in the fullness of time British Land will come up with its own design and submit its own Planning Application. All this is so very late in the day. It was on 11 January 2017 that ‘Co-Star’ leaked that BE wanted to sell and BL wanted to buy!

So all the massive volunteer work carried out by SEC – especially Will French – and Ealing Civic Society (ECS) and local Conservation Area Panels will go to waste. Goodness knows whether SEC’s barrister and Historic England’s barrister will be able to recoup their fees from BE. It would be very cruel if the £29,433 raised by SEC from local residents has to pay for barrister’s fees relating to a non-event.

The awful prospect of this cycle of ownership change, Planning Application, Application granting, objections, SoS call-in and Public Inquiry happening all over again is entirely possible.

Ealing Council is ultimately to blame for this ten year long Arcadia/9-42 The Broadway fiasco. The Council has never really in recent years got a grip on creating, managing and maintaining a coherent town centre plan. The Council has also done little to help and much to hinder the creation of a Central Ealing Neighbourhood Plan. The Council is seemingly been happy to let landowners and developers do what they want to.

Eric Leach

6 May 2017

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