Drop in centre for people experiencing mental ill health reopens in purpose built premises in West Ealing

West Ealing Neighbours is delighted that the Solace Centre, the new purpose built drop-in centre for people who have experienced mental ill health, has now re-opened. At one point the centre, the only one of its kind in the borough,  was threatened with closure. But a vigorous campaign by the Centre’s users and others persuaded the Council to change its mind. Credit to the Council for listening and being prepared to involve the Centre’s users in creating the new purpose built premises.


Popular Melbourne Ave seating under threat

For a while there have been rumours that the circular seat at the top of Melbourne Ave near the flower stall is to be taken away by the Council. I sincerely hope this rumour isn’t true and I’ve asked our Walpole councillors to investigate this urgently. I’m flagging this up now so local people are aware of this possibility just in case the rumour turns out to be true.

I first became aware of this some months ago and thought I had managed to stop it happening but seems I may be mistaken. The apparent reason for taking the seat away is that is is a gathering place for street drinkers. This used to be true but I haven’t seen many street drinkers here since the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) was introduced in early April. The PSPO gives the police greater powers to move people on and I think the situation has improved since April – although I know there still are problems with street drinkers in West Ealing.

I feel this matters because this seat is very well used by local people, especially elderly residents of the sheltered accommodation in O’Grady Court (opp Sainsburys) and by many people waiting for buses. It seems quite wrong to penalise the majority for a problem created by a small minority. What is more, I think the problem of street drinkers gathering there has greatly diminished and, if there is still a problem, surely the whole point of the PSPO is to enable police to move on people behaving in an anti-social manner?

As I said at the start, I hope the rumour isn’t true. If it is I hope you can join WEN in opposing the seat’s removal. I will post more about this as soon as I hear back from our councillors.

West Ealing votes for CPZ

West Ealing residents have voted by a large majority for a CPZ in the area south from Uxbridge Rd down to Leighton Rd and across from Northfield Ave to Grosvenor Rd and Seward Rd.  With just over 600 votes cast some 64% were in favour of introducing a CPZ. Full street by street details will soon be available on the Council’s website.

Ealing Centre public enquiry cancelled as site sold to British Land

Next week’s public enquiry in to the planning application for 9-42 The Broadway has been cancelled following the last minute sale of the site by Benson Elliott to British Land.   Consequently, the planning application has been withdrawn.


Reflections on the Inquiry Cancellation

I would dearly love to tell you that the land owner Benson Elliot got cold feet at the last minute – realising it would lose – and withdrew its Planning Application. However the reason for the withdrawal /cancellation is apparently much more prosaic. It’s all about money. Seemingly on 5 May 2017 British Land (BL) finalised the purchase of 9-42 The Broadway from Benson Elliot (BE). This led to BE withdrawing its planning Application. No doubt in the fullness of time British Land will come up with its own design and submit its own Planning Application. All this is so very late in the day. It was on 11 January 2017 that ‘Co-Star’ leaked that BE wanted to sell and BL wanted to buy!

So all the massive volunteer work carried out by SEC – especially Will French – and Ealing Civic Society (ECS) and local Conservation Area Panels will go to waste. Goodness knows whether SEC’s barrister and Historic England’s barrister will be able to recoup their fees from BE. It would be very cruel if the £29,433 raised by SEC from local residents has to pay for barrister’s fees relating to a non-event.

The awful prospect of this cycle of ownership change, Planning Application, Application granting, objections, SoS call-in and Public Inquiry happening all over again is entirely possible.

Ealing Council is ultimately to blame for this ten year long Arcadia/9-42 The Broadway fiasco. The Council has never really in recent years got a grip on creating, managing and maintaining a coherent town centre plan. The Council has also done little to help and much to hinder the creation of a Central Ealing Neighbourhood Plan. The Council is seemingly been happy to let landowners and developers do what they want to.

Eric Leach

6 May 2017

Historic Public Planning Inquiry on Ealing Centre to begin on Tuesday 9th May

Historic Public Planning Inquiry on Ealing Centre to Begin on Tuesday 9 May 2017

This is the first of Eric Leach’s daily entries about this enquiry and refelct his personal views and not those of either West Ealing Neighbours or Save Ealing’s Centre.

‘It’s quite rare for the Secretary of State to ‘call-in’ a planning application. It’s even rarer for the Secretary of State to do this twice for the same piece of land. This probably unique process has resulted in a Public Planning Inquiry at Ealing Town Hall from 9 to 27 May 2017.

The land in question is bounded to the north by mainline railway lines, to the south and east by The Broadway and to the west by The Arcadia Centre (that was) itself bounded by Springbridge Road. In 2009 when the first Planning Inquiry took place the area included the Arcadia site. The inquiry, dubbed the Arcadia Inquiry, was won by local stakeholders who ‘beat’ developers Glenkerrin and the London Borough of Ealing (LBE). I wrote a daily blog on this inquiry.

The Planning Application in question is P/2015/3479. It relates specifically to 9 – 42 The Broadway and 1 – 4 Haven Place. It’s a dense, mixed use development involving wholesale demolition. The land owner/developer is Benson Elliot (BE). The two main objectors (so called Rule 6 participants) are Save Ealing’s Centre (SEC) and Historic England (HE). SEC are being supported by Ealing Civic Society (ECS) and local Conservation Panels. The application supporters are BE and LBE.

The timing of the inquiry is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, the ownership of the land is likely to change as strong allegations exist that BE has agreed to sell the land to British Land. As is the habit of new owners, they will have their own ideas about how to develop the site – so whatever the outcome of the inquiry we are likely to go through yet another planning application cycle.

Secondly, we are about to hear whether the Planning Inspectorate will allow LBE’s illegal encroachment onto the Common Land at Haven Green. This issue was the subject of yet another public inquiry in Ealing Town Hall in March 2017.

Thirdly, we have the imminent departure of LBE’s regeneration supremo Pat Hayes. Mr Hayes became LBE’s Planning and Regeneration boss in 2007. Since then he has been responsible for the chaos on the unbuilt cinema site, our inadequate Crossrail Stations, the retail disaster at Dickens Yard, illegal Haven Green encroachment, gifting 61 acres at Warren Farm to QPR, lack of support for Neighbourhood Forums, Conservation Areas and heritage assets, annual inappropriate junkets to MIPIM in Cannes and, of course, the 2009 Arcadia development failure.

I will attend every day of the inquiry and at the end of each day I will be writing a blow by blow report. David Highton has kindly agreed to post the reports here in the WEN blog. The opinions expressed in my reports will be personal ones and not WEN or SEC opinions. As for the outcome of the inquiry, I anticipate a unique victory for SEC, ECS, local residents, Historic England and for common sense.’

Eric Leach

29 April 2017

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.


West Ealing’s ‘protection zone’ order starts today

The Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for West Ealing comes in to force today 3rd April. After a 6-week consultation some 90% of respondees favoured the idea of a PSPO for West Ealing. The PSPO gives the police and Council officers increased powers to tackle anti-social behaviour such as street drinking, urinating in public, fly tipping, drug use and more.

During the first week, the Council will clean up fly tips, check alcohol licence compliance and make sure all local businesses know about the PSPO. At last week’s Walpole Ward Forum the  local police stressed the role and value of the PSPO in helping them tackle anti-social behaviour and reminded residents that reporting problems to the police is vital. For urgent issues call 999 and non-urgent call 101.

To make the PSPO work effectively we as residents need to play our part by reporting problems to the police and Council. As well as the two police numbers above, the Council’s website has an online  page for problems such as flytipping, graffiti and abandoned vehicles. It takes a bit of getting used to but I’ve reported a lot of flytips this way and they do get cleared pretty quickly so it’s worth the time and effort to report problems.

Let’s hope that together we can make the PSPO a success and really start to reduce the problems caused by anti-social behaviour in West Ealing. For its part, West Ealing Neighbours will be in regular contact with the police and Council to find out how the PSPO is working and what impact it is having and we’ll report back on what progress is being made.




Ealing Works – the West Ealing Workspace Hub is taking shape

The new co-working hub in West Ealing now has a name – Ealing Works – and the designers Project Office are working on plans for the two floors with the aim of opening early summer.

Project Office are very keen to hear from anyone involved in the creative industries interested in using the facilities at Ealing Works or renting space there. What would you like there to be in this space?  There’s a simple online form you can use to give your thoughts.

Following a round of formal and informal consultation Project Office have come up with a 10-point manifesto which will underpin the plans for Ealing Works


You can keep in touch with developments on the Ealing Workspace website

A year of progress for West Ealing

It’s not quite the end of the year but talking to friends and about West Ealing made me realise what has been achieved this year. Yes, there is still much to do but it seemed right just to stand back and celebrate what I believe has achieved in 2016.

West Ealing Neighbours’ was set up 10 years ago with the aim of ‘making West Ealing a better place for residents, businesses and visitors’. Over these 10 years we have had some successes worth celebrating and some frustrating failures. But this year that I’ve felt we are really beginning to make long-term and sustainable progress towards our aim. Here’s a couple of reasons why:

Dean Gardens and anti-social behaviour

We know Dean Gardens has a poor reputation, is a gathering place for street drinkers and, once night comes, can be used for drug dealing. Now though, through the work of WEN, other residents’ groups, faith groups, housing associations, Ealing Council, the police and West Ealing Business Improvement District, we found the money to commission some radical and exciting designs to transform Dean Gardens in to a desitination park to be proud of. Our next challenge is to raise the money to put these great ideas in to action. It’s quite a challenge but I think we can do it with the support of the Council and local partners. Redesigning Dean Gardens can go a long way to reducing the anti-social behavior associated with it and make a huge contribution to the improving the reputation of West Ealing and most definitely making it a better place for everyone.

To see the ideas for Dean Gardens and be kept in touch with progress just visit the specially set up website.

On the theme of anti-social behaviour it’s worth saying that thanks to the support of the borough commander we have had additional police resources alocated to West Ealing for the past few months. I’m told over 40 arrests have been made in this time, mostly for drug dealing. In addition, as many of you will know, there is a proposal to introduce a Public Space Protection Order which will give the police more powerto tackle anti-social behaviour and drug dealing in and around the shopping centre. More details in an earlier post on this blog . Taken together it does feel that serious efforts are being made to tackle the blight of anti-social behaviour in and around Dean Gardens and the high street.

The West Ealing Workspace hub

The idea of a co-working hub in West Ealing has been around for a few years but it’s now just a few months away from opening. I think this is another development that has the potential to bring significant change and benefits to West Ealing.  If we get it right it will attract a wide range of freelancers, artists, musicians, small and start-up businesses and many more in to St James Avenue in the heart of West Ealing. This injection of enterprise and energy could bring all manner of benefits to West Ealing – its reputation , its shops and its community. All reasons for making West Ealing a better place.