More development coming on West Ealing high street

Rumours about Catalyst Housing Group selling its properties on the high street either side of St James Avenue have proved accurate. Some of these buildings have been empty for a while so a sale has seemed the obvious next step. The buildings which include the Welshore Hub, the addiction treatment agency RISE, the empty corner shops on either side of St James Avenue along with St James House have all been sold to Luxgrove Capital Partners for redevelopment.

Ealing voluntary litter cleaning group win Queen’s Award

Many of you will know about LAGER Can by seeing their blue rubbish bags around our streets. Behind the blue bags lies an ever-growing group of volunteers (including me) who are making a massive difference to how our streets look. They have worked incredibly hard to clean up some of West Ealing’s really heavily littered areas such as Witham Road and Canberra Road. As well as cleaning up all the litter and dumped rubbish, LAGER Can have been working hard to tackle some of the underlying problems such as new flats without proper bins and commercial bins being broken open by flytippers (as happens with the bins behind Gregg’s in West Ealing).

The work of LAGER Can has been recognised with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Thoroughly deserved and if you want to find out more or join the group, and there’s a local West Ealing group, here’s their Facebook page.

Petition to make Warren Farm a Local Nature Reserve presented to London Assembly

10,000 signatures for Ealing nature reserve presented to London Assembly

21 September 2021

Press release from the campaigners:

Campaigners asking for Local Nature Reserve (LNR) status for a series of urban meadows in Ealing, West London presented their petition to London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon today. The Warren Farm Nature Reserve petition was launched in January 2021 and now has 10,700 signatures. 

The plan to designate Warren Farm and its surrounding meadows by the River Brent as a statutory LNR has been put forward by the Brent River & Canal Society (BRCS), a charity which campaigned successfully to create the Brent River Park (BRP) in the 1970s. Since Ealing Council stopped using Warren Farm as a sports facility, the meadows have rewilded and now form a unique urban grassland. Species of birds, mammals, plants, reptiles, amphibians and insects which are rare in London have been recorded thriving on the land. This proposal would preserve the meadows for future generations and ensure the protection of its rare and endangered species such as the Skylark, a red-listed bird facing UK extinction. 

The petition was presented by BRCS Trustee Katie Boyles, young conservationist and wildlife writer Kabir Kaul and CPRE London’s Head of Green Space Campaigns, Alice Roberts. Campaigners are asking the Mayor and the London Assembly to support the granting of LNR status to Warren Farm, as part of the CPRE’s Ten New Parks for London campaign. Not wishing to use paper unnecessarily, the campaigners presented the petition on a memory stick, held in the beak of a model barn owl. The barn owl is one of the endangered species found on Warren Farm and the Barn Owl Trust is supporting the nature reserve campaign.

Other supporters of the campaign include prominent environmental campaigners, such as Lord Randall of Uxbridge, forensic botanist Mark A Spencer, West London Ramblers, Ealing Wildlife Group and London National Park City.

Alice Roberts stressed the importance of areas like Warren Farm for London’s green space and biodiversity:

“London has just half the green space it needs for a population its size. Yet there are many green spaces in the capital which, if properly managed, could be used as public amenities while, at the same time, increasing London’s biodiversity. One such is Warren Farm, a large area of abandoned former playing fields and land in Ealing. It was at risk of being given away but now, in cooperation with the local charity the Brent River & Canal Society, CPRE London is asking for the Mayor’s support to give this unique rewilded space Local Nature Reserve status. We have named Warren Farm as one of our Ten New Parks for London and hope that the Mayor will help us to ensure it is preserved for future generations.”

BRCS Trustee and campaign organiser Katie Boyles commented:

“We are absolutely delighted to have achieved over 10,600 signatures on our petition. Lockdown has opened people’s eyes to the importance of local nature and it is clear from the huge level of support we are receiving that residents want to see green spaces like Warren Farm protected.

“We simply cannot afford to lose this vast wildflower meadow habitat of which there are less than 2% remaining in the UK. The biodiversity loss would be catastrophic for London. We have red-listed birds, insects and plant species recorded here that are facing UK extinction. We are in conversation with Ealing Council Leader, Peter Mason, and now we are asking for support from the Mayor and Assembly to make this happen. We want Warren Farm Nature Reserve to set a precedent for what can be achieved.”

Kabir Kaul, the young conservationist and wildlife writer who came up with the idea for the campaign, said:

“It has been wonderful to be part of this campaign and I have learned so much about this precious green space in the heart of Ealing as a result. This magnificent grassland habitat is home to several rare and red-listed species, including Skylarks: it brings me, and many others, great joy to hear their song in the borough. The meadow also benefits many other bird species, including Mistle Thrushes, Red Kites, Rooks, Buzzards, and in September, a migratory Wryneck visited. If Warren Farm and the surrounding Brent River Park Meadows receive the designation of a Local Nature Reserve, it will ensure that the site’s important biodiversity can be protected, and encourage more residents to enjoy it for years to come.”

Caroline Pidgeon will pass the petition to the Mayor and table a written question calling for his support at the October meeting.

Free storytelling and art event in Dean Gardens Sunday 3rd October 11am

Local actors Halie and George will perform excerpts from well-known children’s literature. Each performance will contain three excerpts after which, the audience will be encouraged to guess where the excerpts are from. Audience members who guess correctly will have the possibility of winning a special treat!

The sessions will last 30 minutes, running at 11am, 12pm, 1pm and 2pm.

Also joining us is local artist, Komal Madar. Komal will be leading a community canvas painting experience, where visitors are invited to doodle, draw, scribble and sketch what they love about West Ealing. This activity is Inspired by the Uniqlo TATE Play programme and the Gutai group of radical Japanese artists who sought to change the world through painting, performance and children’s play.

A similar session will also be run in three other locations within Ealing. The four artworks will them form an installation at a local art gallery – soon to be announced. Register to hear first!

Our free activities and events offer families new ways to get creative and playfully explore art together. This activity is open to people of all ages and all drawing materials are provided for free.

There will be an eating area right by the performance space, so grab your favourite dish or snack from the local restaurants on offer and take a seat.

Seating is assigned on a first come first serve basis but there will be plenty of space to sit around the activity. Register for updates as we confirm some of our restaurant partners.

Celebrating Ealing’s green spaces and high streets, this free event will take place in Dean Gardens with the buzz of The Broadway setting the scene.

The event is free and to register follow this link.

The event is being put on by Ealing’s High Street Task Force.

Seaford Road residents take up the challenge

One of West Ealing’s neglected green spaces is on course for a revival. The overgrown patch of land on Leeland Terrace by the corner with Seaford Road was cleared this morning (see main image) by a group of local residents as the first step in bringing it back to life. This is one of three neglected green spaces where the Council is working with West Ealing Neighbours to encourage local residents to take over and maintain. The other two are the corner of Singapore Road and Eccleston Road and a small area near the entrance to Sainsbury’s.

Leeland Terrace before the clean up
Before the clean up

The initiative has arisen from the West Ealing Liveable Neighbourhood (WELN) project. Even though the main TfL funded WELN plans are on hold, the Council is keen to push ahead with these community greening projects. To publicise these projects, West Ealing Neighbours leafleted the local streets as well as using its blog and Facebook page to encourage local people to get involved. With each site, the aim is for local residents to come up with ideas for what they would like each site to look like and then with Council approval put their plans in to action. The transformation from being neglected to being loved will only be successful if each project is rooted in the local community where people care about how their area looks.

There has been an enthusiastci response for all three sites and today saw a group from Seaford Road and nearby streets get stuck in to clear away the weeds and undergrowth as the first step to transforming this quite large site.

There’s still time to get involved in any of the three sites. if you’d like to volunteer to help please email us at and let us know which site you’re interested in.

Most LTNs set to be scrapped

Following the results of a consultation about the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods which showed strong opposition to most LTNs, a report recommends that most are scrapped.

LTN21 for the south West Ealing area was scrapped a while back when Swyncombe Avenue was closed for road works. Now LTN20 which covers the area in West Ealing north of the Uxbridge Road to the railway line is one of the seven LTNs set to be scrapped.

The final decision will be made by the Council’s cabinet on the 27th September. The proposed scrapping is strongly opposed by Better Ealing Streets.

The full story is available on the Ealing Today website.

Manor Road tower and Gurnell plans update

Ealing Matters’ latest newsletter has an useful update on the developer’s appeal against the Council’s decision to refuse their application for a tall tower in Manor Road next to West Ealing station.

Planning application for 51-56 Manor Road and 53-55 Drayton Green Road (corner site next to West Ealing Station (202231FUL)

The appeal against Planning Committee’s decision to reject this application for a 20-storey tower block took place online during the last two weeks of July. The appellant employed one of the country’s most respected planning barristers Christopher Katkowski QC, to argue their case. Stop the Towers (STT), whose campaign helped to secure 2,400 public objections including one from local MP James Murray, fought hard to uphold the decision. By contrast, the Council failed to field a single officer, relying instead on a consultant who had never previously worked on the scheme to make its case.

Mr Katkowski seized on the Council’s failure to publish any information about Ealing’s house-building programme for the last six years (the AMRs referred to earlier) to argue in his summing-up that the decision should be tilted in favour of his client, and used it further to lodge a claim for costs against the Council. If successful, not only will it be we as taxpayers who will have to pay for the borough’s negligence in this case, but it will subvert our elected representatives’ ability to reject officer recommendations for other schemes for which there are otherwise perfectly reasonable planning grounds to do so.

Planning application for Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) at Gurnell (201695FUL)

After being rejected by Ealing’s Planning Committee on 17 March by 10 votes to one with two abstentions, this application was submitted to the London Mayor for a final decision. Sadiq Khan chose not to intervene, so this particular scheme is now dead. Since then Save Gurnell has been campaigning for the leisure centre to re-open. Cllr Mason appeared alongside campaigners on BBC London’s Drivetime programme on 17 August to argue that it would cost £18 million to bring the complex up to standard. We are aware that a number of refurbishment options have been considered, but that only the most expensive one has been shared with the public. Are we being softened up for a new planning application?

With thanks to Eric Leach for his contribution to this latest issue. Contributions that you think would be of interest to Ealing Matters member groups are welcome.