Demolition starts at Green Man Lane Estate

Chair of WEN, David Highton reports on the beginning of the end for the Green Man Lane Estate.

Demolition began yesterday as the 10-year redevelopment of the Green Man Lane Estate  kicked off in earnest. Council leader Julian Bell was joined by representatives from housing association A2Dominion, builders Rydon, architects Conran and GML residents as the bulldozers finally moved on site. Whatever your views, and West Ealing Neighbours’ views are fully documented on our website this development marks a huge change for West Ealing. When completed the development will house some 2,000 people as compared to the curent 800. This ‘densification’  will be repeated in a year or two when the Sherwood Close Estate (aka Dean Gardens Estate) is similarly redeveloped.  Add to these two developments the 100s of new homes at Sinclair House (opposite West Ealing station), the Daniels development, the Waitrose development, the newly completed flats on the old Groveglade indoor market site and many more smaller developments and the changes are having, and will continue to have, a profound impact on West Ealing.

This policy of ‘densification’ lies at the heart of the Council’s plans for the next 15 years as detailed in their Local Development Framework. You can read more about this on our blog by clicking on the LDF category on the right hand navigation and on our website

David Highton

Fast food rubbish littering our streets

Chair of WEN, David Highton, reports on the growing problem of street rubbish in West Ealing.

There’s no doubt that our streets are much cleaner than they were, say, 5 years ago. The last Conservative council put cleaner streets as one of its top priorities and the new Labour Council has done the same. I think almost everyone recognises the considerable improvements that have been made. Yet, one problem still remains which I see almost every day and find very annoying – fast food debris littering our streets. The above photo is one of three lots of fast food rubbish I saw this morning within 50 metres of my front door. Maybe I’m imagining it but it has got worse over the last couple of years. This makes me sound like a grumpy old man and in this case I think I am!

One of three lots of fast food rubbish on my local streets this Monday morning

I live within 150 metres of the Uxbridge Road and West Ealing’s main shopping centre and it seems that there’s the fast food equivalent of a high tide mark whereby fast food rubbish and drink cans left on walls are a regular feature of streets within fast food eating distance of the local fast food shops. Get 200 metres or so away from the high street and the problem fades away.

One aspect of this problem seems fairly new. I keep noticing fast food rubbish left in street gutters rather than on the pavement. I’ve been wondering why this is? My personal theory is that it’s left by people who eat it in their cars and then just leave the rubbish behind in the gutter. Mind you, I’ve never seen anyone do this so I could be completely wrong.

Whatever the reason, it’s a problem. The streets are swept regularly so this rubbish is soon cleaned away ( and the three lots I saw this morning have already been swept up) but that makes no difference to the fact that fast food rubbish litters our streets. What can we do about it? Anyone any ideas?

David Highton

PS One thing I’ve done, some years ago, is become a volunteer Streetwatcher who, for want of a better term, act as the ‘eyes’ for the Council with flytipping and graffiti etc.  We can help clean up the rubbish but not prevent it in the first place.

What’s the story of the murals on the front of Sainsbury’s?

Anyone know about this mural?

Chair of WEN, David Highton examines the history of some interesting artwork in the centre of West Ealing

When we first moved here in 1978 there was a small Sainsbury’s in the Uxbridge Road not far from the current one. And I well remember this Sainsbury’s being built on the site of what used to be the library but I can’t for the life of me remember or find out anything about the five panels on the front of the shop. I’ve been to the Central Library and looked through back copies of the Ealing Gazette. I’ve even tried ploughing through pages of Council meeting minutes of the early 1980s but nowhere can I find any reference to these panels and who the artist was.

Sadly, it’s all too easy to forget these panels even exist as they seem poorly maintained. They all show children playing but much of the detail is now hard to see. It’s such a shame for them to go unnoticed. Does anyone know anything about them?

David Highton

Hair and Beauty shop taking over old Richer Sounds site

Chair of WEN, David Highton reports on developments on West Ealing’s high street.

The owners of Farah Hair and Beauty who sold their shop on the Uxbridge Road a few doors along have taken the lease on the old Richer Sounds shop on the corner of the Uxbridge Road and St James Avenue. I bumped in to the husband of the couple that ran Farah and he is hoping they can open up their new salon in about another three weeks once the fit out is finished.

Catalyst Housing Association owns this site along with a number of key blocks of homes locally.  WEN and then West Ealing Arts tried to secure this shop for its community shop idea but, mainly due to the cost of refurbishment, it all fell through.

That corner desperately needs revitalising and we wish them all the best and hope to see them make it a thriving business. Oh, and I’d still like to see a coffee shop and tables in that bit of St James Avenue.


David Highton

West Ealing’s independent shops give hope for the future

Chair of WEN, David Highton has spotted an interesting blog on shopping in West Ealing.

A shopping blog by North East retail expert Graham Soult finds hope for West Ealing’s shopping centre in its food and independent traders.

He writes:

Even before the loss of Woolworths, West Ealing’s high street had seen significant change in recent decades, with the departure of Marks & Spencer in the late 1990s widely seen as an important loss. That site, next to the old Woolworths building, has subsequently been redeveloped and is now occupied by Wilkinson.

Nevertheless, it would be wrong to see West Ealing as a retail centre in terminal decline. It’s true that on my walk along Uxbridge Road and Broadway I noted a lot of vacant shops – including the ubiquitous closed-down Ethel Austin – and cheap-looking discount stores. However, there are plenty of bright spots.

Arguably, it’s West Ealing’s independent shops that give it the brightest hope for the future. Walking through, despite the visible problems, the area has a cosmopolitan and colourful feel, with ethnic food shops displaying their wares in the street. The West Ealing weekly farmers’ market in Leeland Road – which seemed to be well advertised when I visited – also adds to the area’s reputation as a mecca for foodies, and is apparently its trump card in attracting shoppers from other parts of London.

Continue reading “West Ealing’s independent shops give hope for the future”

Ealing TransitionTown Meeting 18th September

Chair of WEN, David Highton looks at the Transition movement in Ealing.

In Eric’s well-earned absence I thought I’d add a few comments following an LDF related meeting I went to last night.

The meeting was organised by the Ealing Transition Steering Group (see www, There were 16 of us and it was facilitated by Trevor Sharman of the Steering Group. Trevor was one of those who attended the Council’s LDF consultation last week at Ealing Town Hall. The idea behind Transition towns is acting as a focal point for community action on peak oil and climate change.

The aim of the meeting was to get us thinking about what we want the Council to treat as priorities from the perspective of peak oil and climate change.

I was one of the few lucky (!) attendees who had even seen let alone read the Council’s LDF documents. One other attendee actually had the documents in his bag but, with expletives deleted, was not entirely complimentary about the readability and usefulness of these documents.

Splitting in to three groups we each discussed what we viewed as priorities for the Council to include in its LDF plan for Ealing from 2011-2026. As you might expect we talked about the impact of high fuel costs on food production, local transport and building and development and so on.

What struck me ( prompted by an earlier meeting with Trevor) out of all this, and I’ve been back and checked the Council’s LDF documents as best I can, is that I can find no key assumption about the likely price of fuel over the next decade and more. Surely we need to plan with an assumption that,say, oil will cost at least $70, maybe even $100 a barrel, if not more and what will that mean for Ealing residents? What will that price mean for food supplies, type of buildings, building costs, transport costs, other infrastructure costs and so on?

I can find no mention whatsoever of food supply in any of the LDF documents. There is a section on climate change in the Issues and Options paper but this seems to skirt around the fundamental issues and makes no mention of food supply or seeking to increase local food production.

The LDF consultation has a way to run yet but I’m left wondering whether some of the really key issues are simply being ignored. I hope not and I hope that community led groups such as Ealing Transition along with residents groups will be able to shift the perspective of the Council enough to take on board these major questions.

David Highton
Chair WEN