Ealing’s Local Development Framework, 22nd October 2009

West Ealing Neighbours (WEN) made its LDF submission on 16th October, 2009. You can read it on our Local Development Framework web page. There’s also a summary of our main points on our News web page. I submitted my own personal submission on 10th October 2009. The 159 questions and options I answered in hard copy form, as I couldn’t work out how I could submit my answers, option selections and comments on-line and at the same time generate my own copy. I delivered my response by hand to Perceval House. Twelve days later I still have not received an acknowledgement that Ealing Council Planning Policy has even received my response – never mind read or responded to it.

My free form text submission is just 10 pages long and if you’d like a copy just email me at eric@leachet.demon.co.uk.and and I’ll email you a copy. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have copies of the LDF responses from Kingsdown Residents Association, Save Ealing’s Centre and Ealing Transition. It doesn’t surprise me that all of these responses are very critical of the Ealing LDF draft Core Strategy and the LDF Public Consultation process as a whole.

Although we have passed the official deadline for Ealing LDF draft Core Strategy responses, Ealing Council’s Steve Barton is ever willing to talk to residents about the strategy. To this end, Hanwell Community Forum has organised for Steve to address Hanwell residents on Ealing’s LDF. The meeting is open to the public and if you haven’t yet attended an LDF meeting, try and get along there. It’s taking place on Tuesday 27th October 2009 at St Thomas the Apostle Church on 182, Boston Road, Hanwell W7 2AD starting at 7:45pm. I hope to attend and write up my notes on the meeting.

Ealing Council’s draft LDF Core Strategy got a boost on 7th October 2009 when Mayor Boris announced that he wouldn’t interfere in the Dickens Yard housing estate planning application that Ealing Council approved on 5th November 2008. Yes…. governments often work very slowly. So 698 flats (and 20 small shops) can sometime be expected to appear behind Ealing Town Hall and in the ‘Uxbridge Road/Crossrail Corridor’ so beloved by the Ealing Council planners and regeneration suits. So…only 13,417 more homes to build by 2016! One wonders whether property developer St George has the money (or can borrow the money) to build the 105 metre wide and 15 storey high housing monstrosity.

Eric Leach
22nd October, 2009

Ealing’s Local Development Framework, 6th October 2009

Ealing Civic Society’s (ECS) Judy Harris has just pointed out to me that there are two Comment Forms in the LDF document set. I’ve just downloaded the second ‘one’. It’s a feedback form on the Core Strategy itself (which LBE confusingly calls its Development Strategy. It’s 18 pages long.

So we now have in total 326 pages in the LDF document set and 159 questions to answer and options to review. Judy told me that it took her TWO WEEKS to complete the two Comment Forms. Quite extraordinary.

I attended a meeting today in Perceval House with ECS, WEN, Rydon (builders), A2Dominion (property developer) and Conran (architects). The meeting was about the regeneration of the 10 acre Green Man Lane Estate (GMLE) in central West Ealing. No-one from LBE’s elected or salaried Regeneration teams attended this meeting. Maybe they were worried that one of us would ask them to explain the comment about GMLE regeneration on page of 25 the LDF Development Strategy document – ‘…. contributing to the regeneration of the West Ealing Broadway’.

Just 10 days to go to the feedback deadline. I wonder if anyone else will answer/review all the 159 questions/options?

Eric Leach
6th October 2009

Ealing’s Local Development Framework, 1st October 2009

Last night the fourth and final 2009 Ealing LDF Public Consultation meeting was held in the hall of the Parish Church of St Mary’s in the centre of Acton. Around 40 local residents attended. Councillors Cameron, Millican, Seemar, Kumar and Rose attended. Angie Bray, who is highly likely to be Acton’s next MP, was also there. However the LBE big gun who surprisingly attended and participated was the Director in charge of the Property, Regeneration and Planning teams – Berkshire resident, Brendon Walsh.

LBE’s Steve Barton admitted to the whole audience that if the September 2009 Ealing LDF Core Strategy document set as is were to be submitted to the National Government’s Planning Inspectorate in Bristol, it would be rejected. He accepted that the lack of evidence and details on the new social and community facilities to support the 20,000 to 30,000 new residents over the next 17 years would trigger this rejection. (Later in our group session I pointed out the irony of the 308 pages being not fit for National Government but fit for Ealing residents to review).

The three groups of residents came up with similar conclusions to virtually all the groups at the previous meetings in Ealing centre, Greenford and Southall:

Residents are clearly uncertain as to why and how Ealing should entertain more residents. In fact why does Ealing have to house many more than Harrow, Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow? If this immigration into Ealing has to be imposed by Government why house these incomers in tall residential tower blocks in the heavily built up areas around Acton, Ealing, West Ealing and Southall stations? Residents don’t want these tower blocks. If new residents have to come to Ealing, build residential communities for them with social and community facilities built either before they arrive or as the homes are being built. Families need houses not flats. Shouldn’t Climate Change, Peak Oil and sustainability issues be at the heart of this Core Strategy – not something tagged onto the back of it? Why no definition of the height of ‘Tall Landmark’ buildings? Re-use empty properties instead of knocking them down. Why no evidence of alternative strategies having been entertained – and why no audit trail as to why these alternatives were rejected?

Acton issues highlighted include:

No mention of the 25 metre Green Corridor along both sides of Western Avenue. The car parking chaos caused by large numbers of Carphone Warehouse staff parking in residential streets fanning out from Gypsy Corner. The existing and likely worsening pollution for residents living close to Park Royal. Some of the plans for Park Royal look suspiciously just like what the Park Royal Partnership (of industrialists) want. We have plenty of landmark buildings in Acton – there’s no need for any more. Our GPs and schools are up to capacity already – there’s no way we can take more residents in Acton.

LBE’s Steve Barton admitted that LBE had failed to give residents who participated in the 2007 LDF consultation any feedback at all. He promised that this would not happen with this 2009 exercise. He conceded that the publicising of these four Public Consultation meetings had not been good.

As I appear to be that only Ealing resident to have attended all four of these meetings I’m well placed to make some observations. Even accepting that some residents attended more than one meeting, the total number of residents who attended these meetings is around160. Out of an adult population of 240,000 this attendance is very poor. We’ll never know just how many residents would have attended if publicity had been good. But let me give you all a local, recent metric to compare it with:

In 2006 the newly formed Save Ealing’s Centre (SEC) alliance organised and publicised a public meeting on town centre development In Ealing Town Hall on the 29th November. Over 300 residents came to that meeting.

If a bunch of volunteers can organise one meeting with 300 attending and a £billion public organisation can’t get half that number to four meetings – you begin to ask yourself whether the public organisation actually wanted lots of residents to attend these public meetings……

Soon we’ll publish on this blog my own personal set of comments on the 2006 Ealing LDF Core Strategy Public Consultation. I hope you get chance to read them and find them useful.

You still have till 16th October, 2009 to submit your comments. I’ll sure Steve still has some copies of the documents for you to purchase.

Eric Leach
2nd October, 2009

Ealing’s Local Development Framework, 26th September 2009

Ealing Council’s web site Home Page is featuring – as its main news story – an Ealing Council press release ‘Acton residents called up for Town Hall team’ (PR 19, dated 24th September, 2009). The story invites Acton residents ‘…to get involved and help shape the future of Acton’. These words come from the mouth of the Council’s Regeneration supremo Councillor David Millican. It is he who is the elected Member responsible for the Local Development Framework (LDF)

What the release does not allude to – incredibly – is the LDF Public Consultation meeting taking place in Acton in just five days time (7:00pm , St Mary’s Church, The Mount, Acton, Thursday 1st October) at which the future of Acton 2011 to 2026 will be publicly debated.

Doesn’t the Publicity Department talk to Cabinet Councillors? Doesn’t the Planning Department talk to the Publicity Department? Doesn’t the Regeneration Team talk to the Publicity Department etc, etc – you get the picture. It would appear that they don’t.

So far of out of 240,000 adult residents in Ealing, only 120 or so have turned up at the three LDF Public Consultation meetings. This is a publicity failure of massive proportions or – even worse – it suggests that Council bosses don’t want residents to attend these meetings.

Eric Leach
26th September, 2009

Ealing’s Local Development Framework, 25th September 2009

Unofficial estimates of Southall’s population are a staggering 150,000 people. Even the ONS 2001 census pegs the population at over 100,000. Life expectancy is lower than in any other part of Ealing; deprivation is not uncommon; and unofficial estimates of population density are typified by three bedroom homes each housing 7 to10 people.

Against this backdrop just 20 residents attended the Ealing LDF Public Consultation meeting held in Southall last night. I cannot believe that the other 70,000 or 100,000 adults in Southall are not interested in Southall’s future. This abject turnout must be blamed on Ealing Council’s failure to publicise this meeting either at all or certainly effectively.

Ealing’s elected Regeneration supremo Councillor David Millican and Southall’s Councillor Singh attended the meeting.

All the residents were very unhappy about the Southall Gas Works site Planning Application. The major gripes are about infrastructure and access. Many thought that if the application succeeded and the 2,618 home are built, it would ruin Southall forever. The 90 acre triangular site directly to the south west of Southall town centre could be home for over 18,000 people. However the site is ‘locked’ on its three sides by the railway, the canal and the massively congested town centre. A new road(s) is needed – before any homes are built – to provide access to and from Hayes. If access is only to and from Southall town centre then mayhem will be the result. Residents talked about asbestos and arsenic contamination on the site. The site has been the former home to three chemical companies and during WWII it contained an aircraft fuel storage depot.

We of course broke up into three round table groups.

In my group the point was well made that Ealing Hospital in Southall was built 30 years ago to serve 180,000 to 200,000 residents. It now attempts to serve over 300,000 Ealing residents. We clearly need an additional hospital. The amount of open space in Southall is small and more must be created. All four State Primary Schools in Southall only have tarmac playgrounds and no grassed play areas. The 5.2 acres Glade Lane space immediately east of the centre was highlighted. It is currently three feet deep in fly-tipped material. In 2004 it was estimated that it would cost £1.6 million to clear the site. If this site was cleared it might make an excellent site for a Park and Ride scheme. Poor North/South public transport was discussed as was the biomass energy plant. 1,600 wrote objecting to the plant Planning Application on the Gas Works site and Ealing Council turned the application down. However Council Officers seem confident that the Government will ‘call in’ that decision.

The summaries of another group questioned what contingency plans the Council had if the population increase estimates proved to be under-estimates. He also made the general point about current and future pollution levels exceeding European limits and attracting fines – beginning in just a few months time.

The summing up by the last group really hit the spot with me and other residents and caused consternation amongst Council representatives. I’ll paraphrase his tour de force:

‘Southall residents are interested primarily in improving their quality of life. Five years ago 250 residents sat in this very hall and loudly objected to attempts to sell them on an even bigger and denser Gas Works site proposal. Many Council proposals had been floated over the years but none of them have been implemented. We need more community facilities not fewer. Public facilities are being sold off to the private sector, and they should not be. Local plans should be drawn up by local people. Ask the people of Southall what they want and they’ll tell you. We’ve told you before that we want sports facilities, health facilities, solutions to the traffic gridlock, measures to reduce violence and drug taking, activity centres for young people…’ At this point Councillor Millican objected and said that the speaker was voicing his own views and not the views of the group…another resident disputed this…the original resident started up again and Ealing Council’s Interim Planning Policy Manager Steve Barton attempted to curtail the speaker.. but he went on…until he finally gave up. Residents clapped him.

Eric Leach
Vice-Chair WEN
25th September, 2009

Ealing’s Local Development Framework, 24th September 2009

Last night’s West Ealing Neighbours (WEN) monthly committee meeting was almost completely devoted to Ealing’s Local Development Framework Public Consultation. exercise.

Public Consultation Document Set ‘Grows’ to 308 Pages

On 8th September when I spent two hours getting hold of the LDF papers, one of the documents – ‘Background Papers 5: Community Consultation & Evidence Base Audit Trail’ – was 15 pages long. Last night David Highton, WEN’s Chair put on the table a document with exactly the same cover but this document was 91 pages long! This strongly suggests to me that four days into the formal Public Consultation period (starting 4th September) the full LDF document set was not actually available.

What it also means that the LDF is not as I first counted up on 9th September 232 pages long but is indeed 308 pages long.

The substantially ‘new’ 91 page document attempts to describe earlier Ealing LDF proposals; resident LDF responses; and Ealing Council’s reasoning and evidence for current LDF ‘thinking’.

I spent a couple of hours this morning attempting to read and assimilate the contents of this document. It really is impenetrable. It alludes to historical resident feedback evidence which is not made available and some of which is questionable.

In some sections under ‘Related Issues and Options’ there are SIXTEEN different document references to consult.

However a 19 line reference to Green Man Lane Estate on page 43 took my breath away. This entry doesn’t tell us that this is up to 10 acres of public land which the Council has decided to sell off to a development consortium. It does tell us that it’s going to be housing only and that all the West Ealing residents’ feedback is this is what they want.

WEN has publicly campaigned for two years for this land to be re-used to benefit the whole West Ealing centre community. We have endlessly proposed a mixed use development; involving the extension/relocation/rebuild of St John’s Primary School; and incorporating healthcare, law and order and a variety of social and community facilities. We have urged the positive involvement of the Islamic centre, the residents and traders in West Ealing; the grasping of the opportunity to re-purpose the roads on the northern border to eliminate regular road rage; and to constructively involving with Felix, Alexandria, Endsleigh and Eccleston Road residents. None of this gets a mention.

However, the most brazen statement reads:

‘This acknowledges consultation feedback that higher density development is appropriate in accessible, edge of town centre locations and the development industy’s identification of need for site-specific flexibility to respond to changing viability and market demand’.

I cannot imagine any resident mouthing the words ‘…higher density development is appropriate in accessible, edge of town locations….’ but the second half of the sentence has the dull thud of truth. They confirm my long held belief that the sector which wields the most power in socially re-engineering our lives is property developers.

LDF Documents not Available in Public Libraries:

On 22nd September I visited the opening of the refurbished West Ealing Library. It’s brighter; has more computer screens; and features toilets. I asked a group of four Library staff if I could view the Local Development Framework Public Consultation documents. They all had no idea what I was talking about and had no idea what these documents were and whether they had a set for viewing. As I wrote on September 14th a friend of mine had an almost identical response at Hanwell Library on 12th September.

Off to Southall tonight for the third LDF consultation meetings. I’ll probably pop into the Library first to view the documents….

Eric Leach
24th September, 2009

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,ealingtransition.org). 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

Ealing’s Local Development Framework, 17th September 2009

I entered the cavernous main hall in Greenford Hall last night slightly late at 7:15 pm but I had not missed anything and proceeding began within minutes. Only 32 people were assembled in the audience. The adult population of Greenford is probably around 30,000. These residents either didn’t know about this meeting or just didn’t care. Most of them would not have known about this meeting as the Council had done nothing to effectively publicise the meeting. I have to believe that 100s of them do care about the future of their town. Greenford Councillor and Council Leader Jason Stacey did not attend and none of the other eight Greenford Councillors identified themselves at the meeting.

Ealing Council Officers Lucy Taylor and Steve Barton did their intros and tried to break us up into two groups. There was immediate opposition to this idea and questions asked, including – why can’t such a small group deal with the issues all together? But Steve would have none of it.

I questioned the fact that it was a virtual certainty that very few of the attendees would have read the proposals being discussed at the meeting. There are 232 pages of consultation material which included maps in colour. Printing all this out from the Council’s web site was not a viable option. Not everyone had Internet access and not everybody had a colour printer. Steve said that hard copies were available – but you had to pay. I said how much, and he said £10 for each of the 60+ page documents.

Effective Participation in Ealing LDF Core Strategy Public Consultation Costs £20
I paid my £20 in cash to Ealing’s Ian Weeks and obtained my documents.

One of the two tables was so cramped that we finished up with three tables and three groups – each discussing all the issues. As the evening unfolded it became apparent that eight of the attendees lived in West Ealing, Boston Manor, and Hayes. So with, at most, just 24 Greenford residents were in attendance how could this meeting qualify as viable LDF Public Consultation in one of the seven Ealing ‘Districts’?

My small table group include Ealing Council’s Lucy Taylor and an Ealing Council transport specialist. Spirited exchanges of views took place. None of the residents had even seen the eight LDF documents never mind read them. The general views expressed by the residents were that what was being suggested to them was not viable, deliverable or what residents wanted. Residents said they wanted better services provided for existing residents; didn’t want to attract new residents; and couldn’t see why or how residential tower blocks all along the Uxbridge Road/Crossrail ‘corridor’ were needed. Doubts were also expressed about the viability/achievability of national housing targets of building 3 million homes by 2020 and meeting the Mayor’s London target of 50,000 new Affordable Homes by 2012.

I said that this current LDF exercise seemed to be about building 14,500 flats in ‘Landmark’ tower blocks. The UK economy is bust and surely it’s entirely possible for Crossrail to be truncated, delayed, or even cancelled to help balance the books. If any money might be available it should go to new schools, NHS Poyclinics and law and order facilities i.e. Police stations. I asked where and when the new State Primary School so desperately need in West Ealing would be built – but no answer was forthcoming.

At one jaw dropping moment Lucy Taylor – Ealing’s Economic Regeneration boss- asked us all ‘What exactly don’t you like about residential tower blocks? Hanwell resident Beryl Pankhurst responded by saying that countless studies around the UK, including the Bethnal Green study, amply described their failure as communities. Many of the 1960s/1970s ones had already been blown up! I said that much of Ealing’s Victorian and Edwardian villas, house and terraces however have stood the test of time (but not so the failing 60s/70s tower blocks at the likes of Green Man Lane, South Acton, Sherwood Close, the Golf Links Estate – all of which are on the Council’s radar to demolish).

It was pointed out that National Government required alternatives to be clearly considered and arguments for and against documented. This was not he case with these documents. Others mentioned the complete absence of ‘real’ cycle tracks or plans for same around the borough; and there was little or no considerations for reducing various forms of pollution, energy usage, and the carbon footprint.

I also went on a bit about the sell off of public land as exemplified at Dickens Yard and Green Man Lane Estate. What bothered me, I said, was that this strategy for public land sale is not documented in the 232 pages and consequently whatever reasons the Council has for doing this are not given a public airing. This is wrong and distinctly unhealthy.

Why Residential Tower Blocks?

Residents talked about – why residential tower blocks? Surely the experiences of the 1960s taught us that that they are social disasters: Why no retail strategy? And why no plans for building re-use/repurposing?

When all three groups reported back to all of us similar messages emerged. Steve publicly promised to email us all each group’s written summary in the near future. He also publicly promised that he’d do this to all attendees at the Ealing Town Hall meeting by 17th September. As of 7:00am on the 18th I’ve received nothing from him.

The lack of general principles and priorities were identified as weaknesses in the plans. The lack of commitment to protect the existing built environment was emphasised. Ealing is full of people – we can’t handle any more was a plea from one group. Why tall buildings was a dominant theme. We like our low rise Ealing said resident Colin Izzard.. Look at the massive opposition against Dickens Yard and Arcadia, he added. Why no residential plans along the A40 was also queried as was the almost exclusive, obsessional concentration of residential development along the whole stretch of the Uxbridge Road.

A plea was made for the clear involvement of the NHS and the Met Police in providing a more local perspectives i.e .where and when would new healthcare and law and order facilities would be built.

All in all the Council Officers took a two hour battering and one has to wonder what their personal (not professional) views are on Ealing’s LDF process, direction and its published intentions.

Next up will be another poorly publicised LDF Public Consultation meeting in Southall on Thursday 24th September. It’s billed to start at 7:00pm and the venue is the Dominion Centre, The Green. I’ll go along to this and see what Southall thinks about the Council’s plans for its town over the next 17 years.

Eric Leach
17th September, 2009

Ealing’s Local Development Framework, 16th September 2009

Yesterday and today I spent five hours trying to make sense of the two main 60+ page documents. One of them – ‘Development Management’ – is completely impenetrable. I suspect even planning experts would have trouble trying to fully understand it all. Some examples of the planning guidelines and jargon you need to consult to even understand this document include:

Ealing’s UDP, PPG3, LTP, SPG 13, the Mayor’s SPG, CLP, PPS 25, land won aggregates, BREEAM Excellent rating, MOL/Heritage Land, SINC/SMI and the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Most of the 240,000 adults living in Ealing are lay people and not planning experts. It is just not possible to describe this document as fit for purpose for Public Consultation.

The other 60+ page document – ‘2006 Development Strategy’ is not much more penetrable. However Map 2 on page 12 just about sums up the Ealing Council ‘strategy’. It shows residential tower blocks all along the Uxbridge Road/Crossrail route from Southall in the west to Acton in the east.

We are in the fifth consecutive quarter of recession and the UK. With the UK’s budget deficit forecast to reach £175 billion this year and with our National Debt expected to rise to £1.4 trillion by 2014 it seems excessively foolhardy to be discussing any building development at all for the foreseeable future.

Ealing’s UDP (Unitary Development Plan) is the local planning guidance which Ealing’s LDF will eventually replace. The UDP was adopted in 2004. In the written evidence I submitted to National Government at the Arcadia Public Inquiry in June 2009, I lamented about the unrealistic nature of the UDP. With regards to the centre of Ealing, I pointed out:

‘10. Ealing’s 2004 UDP details six major development sites covering 32 acres in the Town Centre – whose preferred uses include the provision of social and community infrastructure including cinema, hotel, community units, education developments, and quality public space. None of these developments have even got foundations dug or a single brick laid. In five years, four of these sites have attracted no development plans at all. Just how valid is the UDP.’

In the three months since I wrote those words nothing has changed.

National Government’s ‘Soundness Guidance’ to Local Government (published by The Planning Inspectorate, August 2009: 2nd Edition) lays down a number of soundness tests for LDF Core Strategies. These tests include legal compliance, justification, effectiveness and consistency with national policies.

The key test posed for justification is:

‘Has the consultation process allowed for effective engagement of all interested parties?’
12 days into the ‘skimpy’ 42 day Public Consultation period I would have to say the Ealing Council’s effective engagement with its 240,000 adult residents has failed this test. However it will be interesting to see and hear what the worthy burghers of Greenford make of the LDF tonight. One even wonders how many of the 30,000 Greenford adults know about this meeting; have obtained and read the 232 pages of the September 2009 LDF eight document set; and actually turn up at the meeting?

Another test is:

‘Have the reasonable alternatives been considered and is there a clear audit trail showing how and why the preferred strategy/approach was arrived at?’

My initial assessment is that Ealing’s LDF effort is failing this test. Many, many indicators point to the fact that we are heading for decades of austerity and cuts in public spending. Peak Oil and climate change allied to our bankrupt economy are plain for all to see.

There’s little in the 232 pages about austere alternatives like repurposing existing, empty buildings; open and brown field land being re-purposed for food production; dealing with the possible truncation, delay or cancelling of Crossrail; dealing with the realities of ‘localisation’ taking over from failing globalisation; and the possibility of property developers going bust or not being able to raise the cash to build their tower blocks. .

The key test posed for effectiveness is:

(Is the LDF) ‘deliverable’?

Peak Oil – the point at which oil production globally reaches its highest point and thereafter declines – was reached in 2008. By 2015 shortages of oil and natural gas are widely expected to limit economic growth. The UK and Ealing are heavily dependent on oil. This LDF will consume enormous energy in building and running these tower blocks. This energy may not be available in the decades to come.

Very few people want ‘Landmark’ tall residential buildings. The opposition to Dickens Yard and Arcadia has been massive. 1,000s of local residents have opposed these ‘big’ developments over and over again for two years – and will surely continue to do so.

Another effectiveness test is: ‘Sound infrastructure delivery planning’:

I live in West Ealing. In February 2009 I responded to Ealing Council’s plans to expand Primary School places by researching the current and projected numbers of Primary age children in West Ealing and the current and planned State School capacities. Using the Council’s, ONS’s and the NHS’s figures I calculated that in 2014, 185 children of Reception Class age would not get places at Fielding, Drayton Green or Hathaway. No-one disputed these figures. We need to build another State Primary School in West Ealing. Where will it be built? When will it be built? The Ealing LDF 232 page, eight document set s contain no details at all. This is but one small example of a failure in ‘sound infrastructure delivery planning’.

Eric Leach
16th September, 2009

Ealing’s Local Development Framework, 14th September 2009

More reports are coming in about residents failing to obtain copies of the eight document 232 page Ealing LDF 2009 Core Strategy. A local West Ealing residents’ group Secretary read the statutory advertisement in the Ealing Gazette and drove over to Hanwell Library on Saturday morning just to look at the LDF documents. The lady in reception in the library had no knowledge whatsoever of the LDF documents and the resident left empty handed. She tried again today at Perceval House. She was allocated a ticket and sat and waited in the ‘Environment’ queue for an hour. At this point she got a little irritated and interrupted one of the Customer Service personnel. Eventually the resident was shown the 232 pages of LDF papers and told to go to a nearby room and study the documents. She said that didn’t work for her as she wanted to purchase a set of documents so she could review the 232 pages at home. The Customer Service lady telephoned Planning but got no answer, so our residents’ group Secretary left Perceval House empty handed – yet again.

Is this incompetence by Ealing Council or is this a planned process so that residents won’t get to read the LDF documents? Under the banner of ‘PLANNING AND COMPULSORY PURCHASE ACT 2004’ the statutory advertisement in the 4th September 2009 issue of the Ealing Gazette states ‘Copies can be obtained from the Council’s reception area…’ ‘There is a charge for some documents’. This statement is patently untrue and as such it suggests that Ealing Council is breaking the law.

It’s interesting to speculate that the Arcadia Planning Application (applying to just over 4 acres) period of Public Consultation was 90 days. However for the planning of 20+ square miles of Ealing borough – for half a generation – Ealing Council allocates just 42 days.

It will also be interesting to see what the residents of Greenford make of Ealing Council’s 2011 to 2026 spatial plans at a Greenford Area Meeting in Greenford Town Hall on Wednesday 16th September starting at 7:00pm. I wonder how many of the 40,000 Greenford residents know about the meeting; how many have read the eight LDF documents; and how many will turn up on the night? I’ll certainly attend and find out what residents think of the plans and the meeting itself.

Eric Leach
14th September, 2009