West Ealing successful in bid for TfL’s Liveable Neighbourhood fund

Some of you may remember filling out a brief online questionnaire from Ealing Council a few weeks ago which asked questions about what would make West Ealing a better place in which to live. The survey was in aid of a Council bid for significant funds from TfL’s Liveable Neighbourhood Fund.

Good news is West Ealing is one of the seven winners of the first round of funding, Ealing Council has secured funding to further develop its proposals.  These proposals include better conditions for walking and cycling, changes to the town centre to make it more attractive and less dominated by cars.  Also included in the Council’s bid is a plan to redesign Dean Gardens  – using the exact same plan that was produced as the result of a concerted effort by a group of local stakeholders including West Ealing Neighbours and other residents’ groups, faith groups, West Ealing BID, Clarion and other local housing associations, the Council, the police and others.  This is the plan that can be seen here. 

Congratulations to Ealing Council for all their hard work and I very much hope that for this next stage the proposal will be developed with the local community so that it will be one which truly represents the wishes of local people. We want to see a plan we can all  fully support as it has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for many, many West Ealing residents.

 

Give your views and help secure funding for a healthier and more attractive West Ealing

The Council wants to hear your views in support of a bid for funds from TfL’s Liveable Neighbourhoods scheme. The scheme is about delivering attractive and healthy neighbourhoods for residents -in this case residents of West Ealing. It includes improving conditions for walking, cycling and leisure with the aim of improving local air quality and the social and economic vitality of West Ealing.

This is a great opportunity for West Ealing and fits really well with the plan WEN and other local stakeholders helped to draw up to improve Dean Gardens – the plan is  here

Dean Gardens is just one aspect of the improvements that could be made if this bid is successful. Time is a bit short as the deadline is Friday 6th October so the more people who complete the online questionnaire the more helpful it is for the Council in its bid. The questionnaire is available here

 

St James Ave ready for makeover to revitalise a ‘dead space’ in West Ealing

 

 

It’s taken a while but the redesign of the pedestrian area of St James Ave looks like it’s about to start.  It’s the pedestrian section between the Uxbridge Rd and Canberra Rd which is currently a bit of a dead space and, until very recently, had become a bit of a gathering place for street drinkers and RISE clients.  Though, in fairness, this seems to have lessened with the new PSPO and police powers to move people on if they gather in large groups.

The plan is to redesign the space so it can be used for all manner of outdoor events and activities. This ties in with the work being done on St James House to become home to the new co-working hub which will include studio space for artists and creative industries.

I’d love to see the space used for exhibitions of work of artists and craftspeople from the hub as well as live music, maybe outdoor cinema in the summer as well as occasional markets, bike doctors, temporary health clinics and more. Even better if we could have an independent cafe with outdoor seating there as well.  You never know…it would all help revitalise this part of West Ealing.

 

Plans to build new homes on part of Northfields allotments

Proposals are being worked on to build new homes at the Mattock Lane end of the Northfields allotments. The allotments are owned by local charity Pathways. It also owns Dean Court which is accommodation for older people on the other side of Northfield Avenue. Pathways would like to redevelop Dean Court to increase the amount and quality of housing for older people. Their aim is to provide a total of approximately 110 Pathways social homes and 30 homes for sale across the whole development.

Part of their plan is to take about 10% of the allotment site, at the north end, and build 18 new social homes and four homes for sale.  These homes wil be in two buildings, one five to six storeys high and the other three to four storeys.These homes would be built first in order to move existing residents of Dean Court in to these homes whilst Dean Court is redeveloped. Residents can then return to their new homes in about two years.

These proposals are likely to prove controversial as the arguments about the urgent need for more housing are set alongside the role and value put on green space in an ever increasingly built up area.  These plans are at a very early stage and Pathways are now starting a lengthy period of consultation with the local community.  More information about the plans and how to ask questions and make comments are available on Pathways’ website . 

(I should add that I have an allotment on the Northfields site but my intention with this post is to put information in the public domain. There is another occasion for a close look at these proposals and the different points of view within our community.)

Your views wanted on plans for West Ealing

West Ealing is changing fast.  Hundreds of milions of pounds are being spent on redeveloping the Green Man Lane and Sherwood Close Estates and millions more wil be spent redeveloping the BHS site. As a result many hundreds of new families wil make West Ealing their home.On top of this we have Crossrail coming in 2018 and all the changes that it is likely to bring to the area. At this time of great change the West Ealing Centre Neighbourhood Forum has put together a detailed spatial plan for land use in the centre of West Ealing (see map below for area of plan).  The plan looks at how a series of sites in West Ealing could be developed.  These include the Royal Mail building in Manor Road and Chignell Place along with some radical ideas for building a mixed use development at the southern edge of Dean Gardens.

Also included are outline plans for how to invest the money from the future Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) that will go to WECNF if their plans are approved.  The CIL is a planning charge paid by developers to support the local infrastructure. WECNF’s plans propose investing in improving or replacing Jacob’s Ladder, maintaining the old Woolworth’s facade, improving Dean Gardens as well as investing in community facilities and community arts.

Lastly, WECNF put forward a series of local buildings as heritage assets. Buildings such as the Salvation Army Hall in Leeland Road, Ealing Magistrates’ Court, the bookend buildings to the entrance to Chignell Place, the parade of shops and offices above Barclays Bank and the two art deco buildings at the top of St James Avenue.

So, this isn’t just a dry old document. It’s a plan that profoundly affects how West Ealing could develop over the next decade.  These plans are available to view at West Ealing Library and are on their website.  Comments are very welcome and the closing date for these is 5th October. Comments should be emailed to eric@wecnf.org

 

Final plans submitted for BHS site in West Ealing – 10 storeys, 136 flats and ground floor retail space

The planning application for the BHS site (104-110 Broadway) has been submitted.  As you’d expect it’s a long and detailed document with a lot of technical information which needs careful study.

At first glance the essential details seem to be:

  • About 1200 sq metres of retail space on the ground floor which could include a cafe
  • 136 flats with 50 x 1-bed; 75 x 2-bed; 11 x 3-bed
  • Of the 136 flats 72% will be for private sale; 28% (38 units) will be affordable with 22 for rent and 16 for shared ownership
  • The height will vary.  From the drawings it looks to be retail plus 6 floors at The Broadway end and retail plus 10 floors at the Singapore Road end.
  • The building will get its heating from the Green Man Lane district heating system
  • It is a car free development
  • The developers are actively looking to acquire a nearby site to create a comprehensive plan for the area
  • 226 cycle spaces
  • The Section 106 contribution to the Council has yet to be decided – this is money to be used to compensate for the additional pressure on schools, doctors’ surgeries, public transport etc
  • The development will be called The Appleton to reflect the area’s history with fruit orchards in Victorian times

You can find the full details on the Council’s website and comments need to be in by 1st January 2016.

 

 

 

 

West Ealing – New Crossrail Station Revealed

The new glass and steel structure will be located on Manor Road and will include a new footbridge with lifts, a new bay platform for trains on the Greenford  branch line, platform extensions and new lighting, customer information screens, station signage, help points and CCTV. From 2018 the new Crossrail trains will begin serving West Ealing and from 2019 passengers will be able to travel through the new Crossrail tunnels beneath central London.

Work will start in the Spring of 2016 and take about a year to complete.

West-Ealing-Station-architects-impression_200821

Update on plans for Crossrail on Tuesday 7th July WECNF meeting 7.30pm

The West Ealing Centre Neighbourhood Forum is holding its  2015 Annual General Meeting at the Drayton Court Hotel on Tuesday 7th July 2015 commencing at 7:30pm. All visitors welcome.

The keynote presentation will be ‘The Future for West Ealing Centre’, which will describe the status of WECNF’s Neighbourhood Plan.

There will also be an update on what we know about West Ealing Crossrail. A new WECNF Management Committee will be elected at the meeting.

Full details are here

What sort of shopping centre do we want for West Ealing and how do we get it?

I went to a talk on the future of high streets at last night’s Ealing Business Forum.  The speaker was Bill Grimsey and he has a strong track record of running high- street chains including Iceland and Wickes amongst others. He’s an interesting character as he is now retired and has spent most of his retirement arguing for a radical re-think in how we should use our high streets. He believes the traditional retail led high street is dead on its feet and needs to be replaced with a new vision where housing, leisure, health, entertainment and community services and activities take over from empty shops and an excess of betting shops and payday loan shops.  West Ealing Neighbours has raised these issues a number of times over the past years as we have seen ever more betting shops, loan shops and their like come in to the West Ealing shopping centre. What was interesting about last night’s talk was  to hear the argument in more detail.  Whether or not you agree with Mr Grimsey’s view is for each to decide but what seems important to me is to get the issues aired and discussed. A key element of his argument is that despite the importance of the retail sector, with a turnover greater than even the health budget, the future of our high streets is unlikely to appear in any political manifesto in this year’s election.

So, looking at some of his key points:

  • The UK retail sector has a bigger turnover than health, education or defence
  • High streets are a more reliable measure of the economy than economists’ forecasts
  • High streets have seen an increase in betting shops, payday loan shops, convenience stores and fast dood outlets
  • Rapid growth of online shopping is irreversible and will mean major changes in the way supermarkets operate with the decline of the large out-of-town stores and an increase in local convenience stores for people to top up on their online shopping
  • A great opportunity for fresh and local food outlets – ‘ fresh food emporiums’ – selling products which can not easily be provided by the large supermarkets in store or online
  • Shops with no stock will be a feature of new high streets.  Take fashion , you’ll be able to try out clothes in a virtual world and then order what you want.  This may even mean manufacturing comes back to the UK as clothes made on demand rather than imported in bulk on spec from all across the world.
  • Could Amazon start to sell food and would it mean even cheaper prices?
  • Abolish business rates for small independent retailers.  The revenue from these is about 6% of the total.

As I said, whether or not you agree with Bill Grimsey his views are informed by 40 years of retail experience and are well worth thinking about.  In many ways, here in London and the south east we haven’t seen anything like the average 14% level of vacant shops that many other towns and cities have experienced but his arguments are just as valid. For who hasn’t been aware of the incease in betting shops, payday loan shops, fast food outlets and convenience stores in and around West Ealing.

Bill Grimsey’s closing point is that every town needs a plan for the future of its high streets.  Without a plan it’s all left to market forces and failed attempts to fill unwanted space.  I know the West Ealing Centre Neighbourhood Forum has this on its radar for its plan for the centre of West Ealing. The future nature of our shopping centre is something that should concern every one of us.

There is much more to his arguments than I’ve been able to capture in this post.  You can find out more on his website

 

 

 

 

Pilot business hub launched in West Ealing

Having been involved in the initial feasibility study for a business hub in West Ealing I was delighted to go to last night’s launch of  Ealing Blueprint – a pilot business hub working with the Chat and Meet coffee shop. Ealing Blueprint will run a free hub in the heart of West Ealing for a five month period from 4 February 2015 to test the hub model. I think this has great potential for West Ealing.  Here’s a bit of background from Blueprint’s website:

‘The Ealing Blueprint business hub is inspired by the success of coworking spaces in central London, and will enable entrepreneurs, sole traders, freelancers or start-ups to work alongside one another in a collaborative atmosphere. Creative people can work flexibly in a modern and stimulating environment where ideas can be shared and enterprises thrive. Working independently should not mean working alone.

Located in West Ealing, a 3-minute walk from West Ealing station and many bus routes, the business hub is easy to access. Within the shared working space is Chat & Meet a coffee shop that will manage the hub on a day-to-day basis and will provide the opportunity to grab a coffee and have a chat with those around you. ‘

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 8.30am to 5.30pm (4 February – 27 June 2015)
Location: Chat & Meet @ Ealing Blueprint, 13 Drayton Green Road, West Ealing, London W13 0NG

Last night’s meeting was also the first anniversary of the Ealing Business Forum which invited high-street expert Bill Grimsey to give his views on the future of high streets in the 21st century. I greatly enjoyed his talk and it offered some compelling arguments for a radical new approach to how we should use our high streets.  I’ll put the highlights from his talk in a separate post.