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.

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