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.

Free Royal Wedding Community Celebration at St James Church Friday 29th April

St James Church is hosting a free Royal Wedding Community Celebration from 10.15am on Friday 29th April. You can watch the wedding on a big screen, enjoy a shared meal – please bring a plate of food to add to the buffet. There’s a Fun Family Disco from 1-3pm and a kids fancy dress competition on the Prince/Princess theme.

All welcome and if it’s raining the event will be inside. Tea, coffee and soft drinks available – donations welcome.

David Highton

The battle is on to save Northfields Library

Vice Chair of WEN Eric Leach went to last night’s consultation on Northfields Library, and reports back.

With standing room only at a well attended meeting last night, Ealing Council tried valiantly to defend its proposal to close Northfields Library.  The Council plans to close Hanwell, Northfields, Northolt and Perivale Libraries as part of its need to cut £65 million from its running costs for 2011/12.

Council Leader Bell attempted to respond to residents issues and questions which included:

1. Public Libraries are open to all and provide easy, affordable access to information and books to both young and old. Closing public libraries is a sign of a civilisation going backwards.

2. In 2006/7 the Council spent £610,200 on rejuvenating Northfields Library. How can you now just write off that money and close the library down?

3. £2 million is currently being spent to build a new Log Cabin, Scout hut and children’s centre integrated with Northfields Library. How can you now take the library out of this integrated children’s facility?

4 £5.5 million is to be spent on building a new car park in Southall. Set against that it would cost just £89,000/year to keep Northfields Library open. Who are more important here? Cars or people?

5. Why not cut senior Council executive salaries or reduce the number of highly paid senior staff in order to continue funding the complete library service? Currently 20 senior Council staff collectively earn around £2 million /year.

6. £16.3 million is being spent on new Council offces in Acton, Greenford and Southall. Kill this project and use some of the savings to continue the complete library service.

7. Ward Forum budgets could be used to help keep Northfields Library operational.

Councillor Bell made the point over and over again that volunteers could take over running the library. This was clearly offensive to professional, qualified library staff. It did occur to me that he probably wouldn’t make this suggestion in education (volunteers as teachers?) or in healthcare (volunteer brain surgeons?).

There was plenty of political points scoring by both Conservative and Labour Coucillors and the audience showed its complete disdain for this. At one point a member of the audience threw the mobile microphone at the Councillors on the top table. His aim was poor and he didn’t hit any of them!

There is an Ealing Council public consultation on library closure taking place until 5 May. You can access it at www.ealing.gov.uk. Please fill it in. But be careful as the questions (like those in many recent Council consultations) are ‘loaded’. This particular ‘loading ‘ is that the questions give the impression that libraries MUST close when in fact cost savings out of the Council’s £1 billion turnover could be made elsewhere (see issues/questions above).

Eric Leach
14 April 2011

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”

21 storey tower set to dominate West Ealing centre skyline

Vice Chair of WEN Eric Leach reports on a new development in West Ealing.

Just 12 months after National Government said ‘No’ to a 26 storey residential building overlooking Haven Green, plans have been submitted for a 21 storey residential building which will overlook Walpole Park.

The plan is to demolish the old Westel/TVU mini-Centre Point lookalike building on the corner of Craven Road and the Uxbridge Road on the eastern borders of West Ealing. In its place is planned to build three new buildings – a hotel, a flats for sale block and an Affordable Rents flat block.

Continue reading “21 storey tower set to dominate West Ealing centre skyline”

WEN public meeting – What future for West Ealing? Monday 22nd November, Dean Hall, 7.30pm

It may sound dull but the Council’s current consultation over the Local Development Framework, which is the basis for planning the future of Ealing from 2011 to 2026, will affect all of us and have a profound impact on the future of West Ealing. For example, the plans show:

  • Shops and businesses along the Uxbridge Road corridor demolished to make way for some 1,245 new homes and 3,500 new residents
  • But the plans do not mention how the infrastructure will be put in place to cope with this increase in population:
  • No plans for new schools
  • No plans for new healthcare facilities
  • No alternative strategies to ‘densifying’ the housing along the Uxbridge Road corridor

Because we feel it is so important that as many residents as possible have the chance to hear about and comment upon  the Council’s plans for West Ealing from 2011-2026, we have organized a public meeting. The meeting will take place at 7:30pm on Monday 22nd November, 2010. It will be held at Dean Hall on Singapore Road.

At this meeting West Ealing Neighbours will provide an overview on how future plans for Ealing will directly affect West Ealing. Specific Council policies to be discussed include proposed developments in West Ealing centre including extensive building of blocks of flats, and 50 or more shop demolitions. The meeting will also discuss what is missing in the plans – including the lack of new educational and healthcare facilities to support the 3,500 new residents in the 1,245 new homes. Attendees will also be shown how to register their objections to the plans.

At this meeting West Ealing Neighbours will provide an overview on how future plans for Ealing will directly affect West Ealing. Specific Council policies to be discussed include proposed developments in West Ealing centre including extensive building of blocks of flats, and 50 or more shop demolitions. The meeting will also discuss what is missing in the plans – including the lack of new educational and healthcare facilities to support the 3,500 new residents in the 1,245 new homes. Attendees will also be shown how to register their objections to the plans.

Please come along and make your views on West Ealing’s future heard