In this emergency we have sick residents, some seriously ill and some dying. Businesses of all sizes are struggling with no income. Some will go to the wall. Building work on sites small and large is sporadic. In June 2020 many people be on 80% of wages backdated to March. Others will have to wait till July. However this ‘furloughing‘ is only guaranteed to the end of June 2020.
Given all this, is it really sensible or appropriate for Local Authorities (LAs) to be pressing ahead with planning for 10/20/30/40 storey tower blocks? Well the Government thinks it is and have told LAs to crack on with planning during the pandemic.
Ealing Council’s Planning service has announced its process changes in response to the Covid-19 emergency. There has been some criticism about aspects of it. Site visits by Planning Committee members prior to Planning Committee meetings have been abandoned. The April 2020 Planning Committee meeting was cancelled, but the 21 May 2020 meeting will go ahead as a live-streamed one on the Microsoft MS Teams virtual platform. The period for pubic consultation on Planning Applications has been extended from 21 days to 42 days. For those residents staying indoors this extension will make little difference to them, as they will not walk past a lamppost displaying the Planning Notice. The Council seems to be blaming the lack of a new Local Plan on the pandemic. Ealing Council’s 2012 Local Plan is the oldest in London, and is spectacularly out of date.
WEN attended an MS Teams based Ealing Council Planning User Group virtual meeting on 16 April 2020. The ‘Ealing Matters’ network of 60+ residents’ and community groups carried out research amongst its members about the Council’s proposed changes to its planning processes. These research findings can be found at:
The Planning Application (ref: 184490FUL) to build an 8 storey block of 63 tiny studio flats in Chignell Place, central West Ealing may be on the 21 May 2020 Planning Committee Agenda. We may not discover this until 14 May 2020. (The application was on the agenda of the Council’s Planning Committee meeting in March, but was withdrawn at the last minute).
More on Covid-19 Council planning service changes at: