Covid-19 – some glimmers of light

It feels like we are still in the eye of the Covid-19 storm with the infection rate still running high for Ealing and, nationwide, the number of patients being admitted to hospital still running high though maybe just beginning to plateau. Nevertheless, there are some glimmers of light:

 1.Free Covid-19 tests are available for people who still need to go out for work:

The tests are available at the following centres in Ealing, 7 days a week, from 9am – 5pm:

  • Perceval House, 14 – 16 Uxbridge Road, W5 2HL
  • Everyone Active Acton, High Street W3 6NE
  • Ealing Central Library, The Broadway W5 5JY
  • Greenford Library, 23 Oldfield Lane South UB6 9LG
  • Northolt Library, Church Road UB5 5AS
  • Southall Manor House, The Green, UB2 4BJ

Currently this service is not available to anyone under the age of 16.

2. Rate of vaccination increasing

The national daily rate for giving people with their first vaccination is increasing with the running total now just over 4 million.  The government’s initial target to vaccinate the four most at risk categories of people totalling some 15 million by mid-February. To achieve this target it needs to be vaccinating 2 million people a week. The recent daily rates for administering the first dose are:

11th January 145,076

12th January 207,661

13th January 278,943

14th January 316,694

15th January 324,233

16th January 298,087

Over one third of Ealing’s over 80-year-olds have been vaccinated

According to Eric Leach’s most recent Covid-19 newsletter, ‘Ealing Council says that 34% of the borough’s over 80-year-olds have been vaccinated with their first jab. 4.8% of the nation’s population are over 80. 441,683 patients are registered at Ealing’s 75 GP practices. That gives us 21,200 over 80s. If 7,208 of them have already been vaccinated that’s quite an achievement.

In NHS North West London (NWL) 56,000 people in Priority Groups 1 – 3 have received their first vaccination. These are elderly patients and their carers in care homes, frontline health and social care workers and over 75-year-olds. Apparently, there are 130,000 in these priority groups still to be vaccinated, but NHS NWL is confident they will all be vaccinated by mid-February 2021.’

Some local GP surgeries likely to start vaccinating this month

With the easier-to-store AstraZeneca vaccine now becoming available it seems likely that some GP surgeries will start to get involved in the vaccination effort this month. This is in addition to the two existing mass vaccination centres at Ealing Town Hall and Southall’s Dominion Centre.

Campaign to designate Warren Farm a Local Nature Reserve

We’ve carried posts about all the efforts to preserve Warren Farm and the collapse of QPR’s effort to set up its training ground there. Now there is a new effort to preserve Warren Farm and nearby meadows for future generations by having the area designated as a Statutory Local Nature Reserve.

The petition says: ‘Warren Farm Nature Reserve is a unique, 61-acre urban meadow in West London, UK. The land has been successfully rewilded over the last ten years and is now bursting with incredible plant species with astounding beneficial results for wildlife. Tragically, this special green space is under threat of being lost forever to development unless urgent action is taken. ‘  

You can find out more about the plans for Warren Farm Nature Reserve here and you can sign the petition here.

Appeal launched to fund detailed residents’ survey of West Ealing South LTN

LTNs remain a divisive issue for our local community. WEN has carried out two informal online polls about LTNs and both have some back with a high percentage of respondents strongly against LTNs. Our first poll had 921 respondents and 71% were strongly against LTNs. This figure increased to 83% (out of 700 respondents) in our second poll.

One of people’s biggest concerns is the lack of consultation before the LTNs were introduced. One local group set up as a result of the LTNs is CAMTAG (Coldershaw and Midhurst Traffic Action Group). One of their aims is to carry out a comprehensive interview based survey in the West Ealing South LTN in early summer – towards the end of the 12 month consultation period. To do this they need to raise £5000 and have set up a funding appeal to raise this amount. You can find out more about this appeal and their aims here

It’s important that everyone with a view has the chance to comment on the LTNs as the Council will take these views in to account when they come to make their final decision on LTNs. The Council has set up a dedicated online Commonplace platform for people to give their comments. Please do take a few minutes to leave your comments.

Increase in those opposed to West Ealing South LTN

We had 700 people respond to our second poll – down from 921 for the first poll. This second of our three three polls about views on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in West Ealing saw an increase in the percentage of those strongly opposed – from 71% to 83%. And of those 10% of respondents who changed their view on LTNs since their introduction, 61% are now strongly against and 20% strongly in favour.

As the Council has extended the trial period from six to 12 months we will delay holding our third and final poll until late June 2021. It will be interesting to see if the additional six months makes a significant difference to people’s views.

LTNs trial period extended by 6 months

Ealing Council has agreed to extend the six-month trial for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods by an additional six months through until around August.

WEN has just closed its second of three online polls about the LTNs and we were going to run our third and final poll late February. It looks like we will have to re-think this and hold it next summer. We will report back on the result of our second poll shortly.

Trying to keep up with planning applications

Maybe it’s my imagination but there seem to be more and more controversial planning applications coming up now. Along with the various tall towers plans there now seem to be an ever increasing number of what you might call ‘domestic’ applications that are worrying people – from back garden developments to adding more storeys to exsiting homes. It’s very hard to keep up with them all.

WEN has been told about this one below by a fellow residents’ group. This one is a bit different as it’s about a breach of planning regulations:

‘Dear friends and neighbours,
No 15 Blakesley Avenue has appealed to the Sec of State against the enforcement notice issued by Ealing Council. This is the property that has breached planning regs and built a single storey rear extension and an unauthorised enlargement of a basement extension. They are continuing to build and no doubt the plan is to use the property as self contained flats without permission. They have built without planning too and continue to build even today. Don’t let this one set the precedent for the others and whilst it may not be happening on your doorstep today, large family homes are being lost more and more to scrupulous property developers who think they have found a way to make money by overdeveloping into these spaces, with or without permission.

If you can help preserve our conservation area please forward to neighbours and friends in the Ealing area and if they wish to comment on the appeal, please can you do so online at https://www.gov.uk/appeal-enforcement-notice/comment-on-an-appeal or you can email your comments to teame1@planninginspectorate.gov.uk or a letter can be sent to The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/23A, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN. The appeal ref to quote is APP/A5270/C/20/3258722. LAST DATE TO RESPOND 5 JANUARY 2021.

An application for planning has just been made by no 13 Blakesley Avenue (neighbours of the above and we suspect related parties) to convert a same double fronted home into 8 self contained flats. Again if you can please ask friends and family, neighbours to lodge their comments at
https://pam.ealing.gov.uk/online-applications/PLAN/204232FUL

These are beautiful characteristic houses in the Mount Park conservation area – help save them. Thanks for all your help neighbours!’

Local residents bring Christmas cheer to West Ealing

The residents of St James Avenue spent the past few days working on a plan to light up their street and the result lifts the spirits. My photo doesn’t do it jusitice.

Turn the corner from St James Ave to St Kilda Ave and you get an added bonus of a blaze of Christmas lights decorating the whole front of a house.

Well done to everyone involved in showing what working together can achieve for your neighbourhood.