SEC Social and Community Infrastructure



Arcadia Public Enquiry 2009 Proof of Evidence

Eric Leach

Save Ealing’s Centre



(Version 2: 1st June, 2009)

1. Introduction

1.1 My name is Eric Leach. I read Geography at University College London 1963-65. In the 1970s I was Chairman of Bloomsbury Housing Society in Acton. I was a Parent Governor of Fielding Primary School in West Ealing and Drayton Manor High School (DMHS) in Hanwell in the 1980s and 1990s. I am a Management Committee member of a Community Amateur Sports Club (Ealing Lawn Tennis Club) and I first joined that committee in 1968. I am currently Vice-Chair of the West Ealing Neighbours residents’ group. I ran my own computer marketing company from 1983 until my retirement in 2004.

1.2 Approach

The reality in Ealing

1.2.1 Ealing is London’s third largest borough, with a GLA estimated population of over 300,000. This makes our town more populous than the nation of Iceland and the UK towns and cities of Bolton, Brighton, Gateshead, Hull, Milton Keynes, Newcastle on Tyne, Northampton, Oxford, Plymouth, Southport, Stockport and Southampton.

1.2.2 These UK towns variously host world class Universities, major concert halls, premier football and rugby clubs, significant museums, best performing hospitals, large quality hotels, large conference centres, large shopping malls, re-built railway stations bespoke bus stations, new Police Stations, Park and Ride schemes and information/tourist information/CAB centres.

1.2.3 Ealing has none of the above. One might not expect all of the above social and community facilities to be located in the town centre, as some of them have large footprints. However, as Ealing’s Town Centre has none of them it makes it unattractive as a location to visit and spend time in.

1.2.4. The centre of Ealing is relatively small when compared to UK towns and cities of a similar population, cited above. With two Conservation Areas located in the central area – and four more on the periphery, the spatial options are very limited for providing much needed and missing transport, social and community infrastructure. Consequently land for services in Ealing’s centre is at a premium.

1.2.5 The social and community infrastructure in the centre of Ealing is inadequate and has been so for many years. This is damaging to Ealing residents, who suffer from inadequate, basic social and community services in the centre.

1.2.6 People spend time and money in places which provide them with services they want, need or enjoy. People for similar reasons travel to such destinations. We will identify a range of poor central Ealing services which individually and collectively make central Ealing an unattractive destination.

1.2.7 On 26th February, 2009, Ealing Council’s Cabinet approved a spend of £11,100.000 ‘for town centre and regeneration activities over the next 3 years (1). Apart from £100,000 on Town Centre ‘signage and maps’, and £50,000 on ‘ Haven Green Grand Design’ none of the other £9, 995,000 will be spent on creating, improving or extending Ealing Town Centre ‘s social and community infrastructure, 2009 to 2012.

1.2.8 There are six large, putative developments specified in Ealing’s 2004 UDP. In their specifications are a range of social and community infrastructure ‘preferred uses’. Not a foundation has been excavated and not a brick has been laid for any of these developments. So consequently none of this social and community infrastructure has been built. Given the ‘cadence’ of planning permission law is three years – isn’t it reasonable that the Council’s whole Town Centre UDP has just timed out after five years and really has no validity at all. No-one is interested in building these developments.

The problems with this development

1.2.9 The Secretary of State is investigating whether these proposal ‘are appropriate in their context and take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of the area and the way it functions’. ‘Their context’ in terms of social and community infrastructure is that the plans contain no real contribution to the Town Centre’s social and community infrastructure and filling the space with housing and shops will remove any spatial opportunities in the Town Centre to build that infrastructure.

1.2.10 In respect of community infrastructure, there are two clear and major problems with this development:

(i) SEC has no objection to a reasonable and proportionate amount of housing provision on the Arcadia site. But this is not the proposal. The development proposal would introduce a further 916 residents into the Town Centre. Both the development itself and the cumulative impact of other local housing developments, 2005 – 2022 (2) will further degrade an already poor social and community infrastructure in central Ealing. More residents will be attempting to use these services, with neither Ealing Council nor property developers planning any significant upgrades to the infrastructure. If these people cannot receive the social and community services they want in central Ealing they will have to attempt to go somewhere else to receive those services.

(ii) The Arcadia development will rob the centre of Ealing of land uniquely adjacent to Ealing Broadway Station, whose use should be for building a vitally needed integrated transport hub. (The Ealing UDP lists the Arcadia site – site 63 – as a potential site for a bus station). Arcadia and Dickens Yard developments will make the provision and upgrading of central Ealing social and community services difficult or impossible – as the land for services will be occupied with new housing.

1.2.11 In light of these problems, there is the very real possibility that Ealing Town Centre will degenerate. The currently inadequate social and community services will get worse. The space needed for a bus station/integrated transport hub and a plethora of missing services will be lost. We will be creating a ‘ghost’ Town Centre and Ealing residents will travel to anywhere but Ealing’s Town Centre to access services they want, need and enjoy.

1.2.12 Overlying all this is the lack of any sort of local government master plan for future development of Ealing Town Centre. Ealing’s Local Development Framework (LDF) is the obvious vehicle for delivering this. However, Ealing Council do not anticipate completing its LDF until 2013, and it has just delayed again its public consultation on its LDF Strategy.

1.3 Presentation

Internal references in this document are shown in bold eg section 1.3. References to external documents are denoted by a number in brackets eg (1.). These documents are listed, by number in the References section – section 5.

2. Social and Community Services in Ealing Town Centre

2.1 Directory of Inadequate Services
The centre of Ealing is a social and community services ‘desert’. The Town centre boasts none of the following:

Community Centre
Quality, Large Hotel(s)
Open Entry State Primary or Secondary Schools
Fully Functioning Police Station
Integrated Transport Hub
Adequate Healthcare Services
Conference Centre
Sporting Facilities
Concert Hall
Professional Theatre
Information/Tourist Office/Citizens’Advice Bureau
High Quality Restaurants
Modern Meeting Rooms/Conference Centre
Children’s Play Areas
Elderly People Secular Activity Centres
Permanent, Dedicated Art Gallery

2.2 The opportunities for a wide range of social intercourse are very limited.

2.3 Community Centre
There is no open access, bespoke, community centre within the central Ealing area. This does nothing to foster social cohesion. Ealing Town Hall offers old fashioned, large rooms with poor acoustics but very few small meeting rooms of any standard. Community bookings ‘fight’ with Council meeting bookings.

2.4 Quality, Large Hotel(s)
There are no quality, large hotels in central Ealing. The Ramada Jarvis at Ealing Common, offering 189 beds, is almost a mile from the Arcadia site. This is the only hotel of any size within a mile of the site. Demolition has taken place 500 yards west of the Arcadia site to make way for the building of an economy hotel. However, the site has been deserted now for months.

2.5 Open Entry State Primary Schools

2.5.1 The 2001 Census states that there are 1,146 children aged between 5 and 15 years in Ealing Broadway Ward. The provision for State Primary schooling in the centre of Ealing is poor. There are no open entry State Primary Schools in the centre of Ealing. There are two faith-based State Primary Schools within half a mile of the Arcadia site (Christ Church and St Saviours) and no Reception Class vacancies at either school (3).

2.5.2 There are only three open entry State Primary Schools within one mile of the site – Grange, St John’s and Montpelier. There is only one Reception Class vacancy available across all three schools. Of all five State Primary Schools mentioned above, Ealing Council has plans to increase the capacity of just one of the schools – St John’s – by adding 15 new Reception Class vacancies in September 2009.

2.5.3 1.5 miles away are State Primary Schools Hathaway, Fielding, North Ealing, Little Ealing and Oaklands. There are currently zero Reception Class vacancies at these schools. Ealing Council plan to increase the Reception Class capacity of North Ealing, Fielding and Little Ealing by 90 additional places by September 2009 (4). However it must be pointed out that Arcadia site children will not be in the formal catchment areas for these schools and will not enjoy any priority in attempting to secure places at these schools.

2.5.4 It is totally unrealistic to expect children to be transported to State Primary Schools in the far extremities of the borough where vacancies do exist.

2.6 State Secondary Schools

2.6.1 There are no State Secondary Schools in central Ealing. There are four State Secondary Schools within a mile of the site – Ellen Wilkinson, Drayton Manor, Elthorne Park and Acton High. There are currently no vacancies in any of the years at two of these schools. Acton High has three Year 9 vacancies. Ealing Council has no plans to expand these schools.

2.6.2 Some two miles from the site are Brentside High, Dormers Wells and the Cardinal Wiseman faith school. They all have zero vacancies in all years. In fact across the whole borough, at the 13 State Secondary Schools there are just 21places available in Year 7 and just 52 places available in all years. It’s true that 21 Year 7 places are available at Northolt High but to expect children to travel 3.5 miles in rush hour traffic through a built-up area to school is absurd.

2.7 Fully Functioning Local Police Station

2.7.1 There is no fully functioning Police Station in the centre of Ealing. Ealing Police Station – 300 yards west of the site. There are no custody cells in the station. There are no patrolling Officers in the traditional sense and the Ealing Broadway Ward Safer Neighbourhood force, who are based at the station, includes just three qualified Police Officers.

2.7.2 Myself and many other residents have waited for up to three hours in recent years to be even spoken to by Police staff at the station. The size of the reception area rivals the size of my front room and its existence is an insult all 315,000 Ealing residents. For a Ward of over 12,000 residents and the 1,000s of office/shop/Ealing Council workers and visitors in the Ward every working day, this seems a remarkably ‘thin’ law and order infrastructure.

2.7.3 Ealing town centre has had a law and order problem every Friday and Saturday night for many years now. Young people gather in the centre – some travelling some distance to get there – and binge drink to the early hours in the morning in late night licensed pubs and clubs. Disorder on the street is not unusual. On 20th April, 2009 the Ealing Town Centre Club Boulevard had its licence suspended after Police were repeatedly called to deal with late night crime and disorder.

2.7.4 Many elderly residents and families will not visit Ealing town centre on Friday or Saturday evening.

2.7.5 In the Ealing LDF Annual Monitoring Report, December 2008 (5) crime (along with traffic congestion) were the main areas of concern for people in the borough.

2.8 Integrated Transport Hub

2.8.1 Network Rail’s boss told Professor Sir Peter Hall last year that Ealing Broadway Station was the third most in need of modernisation major railway station in the country. Access to the station is well nigh impossible for the disabled and difficult and dangerous for parents with prams and buggies. The ticket hall is tiny and often overcrowded. Dropping off and picking up loved ones at the station by car is confusing, dangerous and often expensive in parking fines. Bus stops are peppered all round Haven Green and there is no integration at all with train and tube services.

2.9 Adequate Healthcare Services

2.9.1 In May 2008 Ealing Hospital – Ealing’s only District Hospital – was voted by its patients as the worst in England (6). In August 2008 Ealing’s Mental Health Services were rated amongst the worst in England and Ealing’s General Practitioners (GPs) were rated in the worst 20% in England. In September it was announced that Ealing had the lowest spend on cancer and tumour treatment in England (7.). In October a Healthcare Commission inspection found that Ealing Hospital had breached its duty ‘to provide and maintain a clean and appropriate environment for healthcare’.

2.9.2 The nearest GP surgery to the site is Florence Road 400 yards away. The GP list size is 2,026, which compares unfavourably with the Ealing list size of 1,878. Ealing PCT describes the surgery as ‘under pressure’.

2.9.3 There is no NHS Polyclinic or integrated healthcare centre in the centre of Ealing nor any known plans to create one. There has been talk for six years about the creation of an integrated healthcare centre half a mile west from the site in West Ealing. The NHS promised a Planning Application to convert the base of a new block of flats on the old Daniels Department site in April 2008 (8) – but as yet none has been forthcoming. The NHS announced in May 2009 that it was reviewing the finances of the project. There is also much local opposition to the plans.

Ealing LDF Annual Monitoring Report, December, 2008 (5) cited
that in terms of community facilities the joint highest concern was the ‘quality of the health service’.

2.10 Sporting Facilities

2.10.1 Sporting facilities in Ealing’s centre are sparse. The centre boasts three squash courts, two gyms and a bowls club. Even the well established Ealing Cricket Club some 500 yards north-west of the site has a full complement of Colts (ie Juniors) and runs a waiting list for new playing members.

2.10.2 Ealing Common, as a designated Public Open Space and common land, cannot be used for sports facilities. Haven Green is unsuitable for controlled play facilities.

2.10.3 Ealing centre is a failure as a destination for people playing and watching live sport.

2.11 Concert Hall

2.11.1 Ealing has three senior and one leading youth orchestra and five choirs none of whom have an Ealing Concert Hall in Ealing in which to rehearse or perform. These music societies have to make do with church halls – of which there are precious few large ones in the centre. A hall of 1,200 to 1,500 seats is both practical and highly desirable for Ealing centre, and would provide a much needed target destination for the region.

2.11.2 The 2000 EDAW pre-feasibility report on a proposed Arts Centre in Ealing (9) recommended a flexible performance/audience space to cater for 750 people. The research and report was part funded by Ealing Council.

2.11.3 For its most popular concerts Ealing Choral Society, for example, has to perform in Central London often at Cadogan Hall in Belgravia.

2.12 Professional Theatre
Located on the site in Victorian times was The Lyric Theatre – a professional theatre. It’s true that a well established amateur theatre – the Questors – is located close by to the site, but it really can’t be compared to a professional theatre. Professional theatre-going Ealing residents visit professional theatres in London’s West End, Hammersmith and Richmond – yet another example of money leaving the borough and residents not visiting Ealing centre.

2.13 Information/Tourist Office/Citizens’Advice Bureau
If you are an Ealing resident, stranger in Ealing or even a tourist there is no central office/kiosk you can visit to obtain civic and tourist information. There is no Citizens’Advice Bureau in the town. The absence of any face-to-face information centre for residents or visitors is very unwelcoming and makes no contribution to social cohesion. To make things worse, there are precious few public, digital information services available at the Council’s web site. Even when the web site is working (it failed completely for three days in May, 2009), its poor news service, inadequate search capabilities and lack of substantive, maintained content must make it an inadequate, online information service.

2.14 High Quality Restaurants
The Automoble Association (AA) rates restaurants by awarding them between one and five Rosettes for quality. The AA had awarded zero Rosettes to any central Ealing restaurant (

2.15 Modern Meeting Rooms/Conference Centre
There are no central Ealing venue that offers in a single establishment or in cluster of adjacent establishments modern catering, meeting and accommodation services for weddings, retirement parties, exhibitions and conferences. There is no mid-sized conference facility anywhere in West London. The local prosperity which flows from such events is lost to the central Ealing economy.

2.16 Children’s Play Areas
There are no public play areas for Children within close proximity to the site.In the Ealing LDF Annual Monitoring Report, December, 2008 (5) in terms of community facilities, the joint highest concern was that ‘not enough is being done for young people’.

2.17 Elderly People Secular Activity Centres
For the first time in UK recorded history there are more people over 65 than under 16 in the UK. In the five central Ealing Wards there were 8,349 residents over 65. The provision of open entry activity centres for the over 65s is very limited. The lunch club at the Roman Catholic Polish Church in Windsor Road is one of the very few, albeit faith based, activity services for the elderly in Ealing centre.

2.18 Cinemas
There is currently no cinema in the centre of Ealing. In fact there is only one cinema (with nine screens), which is 1.5 miles from the site in North Acton. Activity on the site of the 1934 Forum.ABC/UGC/Empire cinema located closely across the road from the Arcadia site is one of demolition. Planning permission has been obtained to build a new cinema here but only time will tell whether this indeed becomes a reality.

2.19 Market
Some UK towns and cities of the same size or smaller than Ealing have vibrant open and covered markets. Parading my Northern background I can cite markets in the centres of Bury, Bolton and Southport. Nearer Ealing we have Shepherds Bush and Kingston. All Ealing can offer is the occasional market stalls close by in Ealing Broadway Centre, a small market in Acton and the Saturday morning Farmers Market almost a mile to the west in West Ealing.

2.20 Permanent, Dedicated Art Gallery
All that exists in the central Ealing area is Pitshanger Manor- some 400 yards from the site – in which small art exhibitions are occasionally mounted.

3. Cumulative Impact of New, Local Housing Developments (2005 – 2022)
3.1 Since 2005, many new residential blocks have been built in the Ealing Metropolitan Centre (EMC) and its environs. These blocks are Lido House, Luminoscity Court, Sinclair House, Dominion Plaza, Cavalier House, Lovelace House, Hyde House, Pershore House, Rosemore House, Glenpark Court and Bonneville House. In total they add up to 754 housing units (2). Most of these developments have been in the western sector of the EMC. If one adds to this the housing units being built now; those housing developments with Planning permission; and those planned by Ealing Council – we reach over 2,500 housing units being built by 2200. Using the Arcadia a factor of 1.615 residents/housing unit to estimate the number of new residents, we can anticipate over some 4,037 new residents in the EMC and its environs by 2022.

3.2 At present, and pending the completion of the LDF process, there is no adequate policy framework through which provision for proper social and community infrastructure can be made. The introduction of more residents into the area, on the scale likely to eventuate if this proposal receives consent, only exacerbates the problem.

4. The Development Proposal

4.1 Approach and presentation

I will now turn to consider the harm caused by this proposal in respect of social and community infrastructure by reference to the relevant national and local policy background.

This proof will refer to sections of the Glenkerrin document ‘The Arcadia Development Ealing: 8. Socio-Economics’ by underlining and emboldening the section subtitles eg PPS1 (Ref: Arcadia 8.1) ‘Social Progress’


4.2.1 PPS1: Delivering Sustainable Development, 2005 (Ref. Arcadia 8.4)
The Arcadia proposal fails to explain how ‘Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone’ is attained. The proposal mandates squeezing 1,338 residents into a small town centre whose existing residents and hinterland neighbours already suffer very poor social and community services – both quantitatively and qualitatively. See section 2.

4.2.2 PPS1: (Ref: Arcadia 8.5)

‘Giving high priority to ensuring access to….leisure’
In a 4+ acre development, all Arcadia is planning is a small gym – when two gyms already exist close by. We ask the question where are the leisure facilities in the proposal?

4.2.3 PPS3: Housing 2006 (Ref: Arcadia 8.7)
‘…(Developments) should be located in areas with good access to jobs, key services and infrastructure’. The primary social and community infrastructure services for law and order, education and healthcare are simply non-existent or extremely inadequate now – with no improvements on the horizon, See sections 2.

4.2.4 The Arcadia proposals, the Metropolitan Police and the NHS hold out negligible hope that ‘key services and infrastructure’ will be provided in the future for the current Ealing Metropolitan Centre (EMC) residents and the 916 (2,442 with Dickens Yard) new residents.

4.2.5 PPS6: Planning for Town Centres, 2005 (Ref: Arcadia 8.8/8.9)
This policy highlights the benefit of mixed use development. Arcadia is primarily a housing development, with a retail element and a gym. As such, it constitutes a wholly inadequate ‘mix’ with no leisure, community, office, sport, culture, law and order, healthcare, education, hotel, cinema, theatre, conference/meeting/exhibition rooms, play areas, or elderly centres in the mix at all.

4.2.6 Homes for the Future: More Affordable, More Sustainable – Housing Green Paper, Communities and Local Government, 2007 (Ref: Arcadia 8.10)
SEC is not ignoring the Government’s home building targets. But we do not think that building 567 homes on the Arcadia site opposite Ealing Broadway Station (EBS) the most appropriate use of the land. It will remove for generations the much needed spatial option to the immediate west of EBS for the transformation of EBS into a 21st Century integrated transport hub. There are plenty of other brown field sites in the borough, including those in Greenford and Southall, which have the space to build large housing developments and a wide range of on-site social and community facilities.


4.3.1 The London Plan: Spatial Strategy for Greater London, 2008 (Ref: Arcadia 8.13 – 17)
This plan notes the importance of ensuring social and community infrastructure is retained, enhanced and expanded where needed.

4.3.2 The Arcadia plan means only that the existing, inadequate social and community infrastructure is retained. It offers no enhancements to, or expansion of, that inadequate infrastructure.

4.3.3 The London Plan: 3A.7 Large residential developments
‘Boroughs should encourage proposals for large residential developments in areas of high public transport accessibility, including the provision of suitable non-residential uses within such schemes. Boroughs should prepare planning frameworks for all large residential sites of 5 hectares or more, or that are capable of accommodating more than 500 dwellings. The planning frameworks should be prepared in consultation with local communities and other key stakeholders’. The Arcadia plan makes no reference to this requirement or indeed to any such framework. At 567 dwellings, Arcadia clearly qualifies according to The London plan as a ‘large residential development’.

4.3.4 The residents’ groups closest to Arcadia are Central Ealing Residents’ Association (CERA), Gordon Road and Surrounding Streets Residents’ Association (GRASS) and Walpole Residents’ Association (WRA). The fact that the Borough of Ealing did prepare a planning framework for the Arcadia site and certainly did not consult on this matter with CERA, GRASS or WRA appears to be a serious failure in process.


4.4.1 West London Sub-Regional Development Framework, 2006
(Ref: Arcadia: 8.18-20)
The Arcadia proposal does not refer to:
‘75. Community facilities. Through Local Development Documents, Community Strategies and area frameworks for major new developments, boroughs need to ensure an appropriate range of community facilities to meet the diverse needs of the local population. This needs to include appropriate religious facilities, as well as libraries, community centres and premises to encourage voluntary activity. These plans will be especially important in areas of significant new development, for example main town centres and Opportunity areas’. The Arcadia proposal contains no provision for a community centre or premises to encourage voluntary activity.


4.5.1 London Borough of Ealing Unitary Development Plan (UDP) 2004

10.21 Preffered Use: Site 63’ –

‘Development to improve Haven Green open space’.

The Arcadia proposals offer no facilities whatsoever to improve Haven Green. 916 new Arcadia residents will overcrowd an already crowded green. The cumulative impact of 2,422 Arcadia/Dickens Yard residents will make the overcrowding much worse.

‘Supplementary Planning Guidelines Preffered Uses/Mix

‘Mixed use redevelopment comprising Town Centre uses, retail, leisure (including some residential), offices, cinema (alternative location to site 58 and/or 60), transport/interchange (option site for bus station and interchange with Ealing Broadway Station), public realm.’

What can ‘Town Centre uses’ mean? Dictionaries don’t contain any definition but the UK Government provides one:

‘(Town centre) describes city, town and traditional suburban centres which provide a broad range of facilities and services and which fulfill a function as a focus for a community and for public transport’ (

The Arcadia proposals are not ‘broad’ but are in fact are very ’narrow’ – ie they are for substantial housing, retail, a tiny amount of office space and a gym. The Arcadia proposals contain no plans for a cinema, a transport/interchange, leisure (except a gym), a bus station or an interchange with Ealing Broadway Station.

The UDP identifies six specific Town Centre development sites (57, 58, 60, 62, 63, and 64). ‘Preferred Use’ across all these sites includes use for social and community infrastructure namely ‘new Public Library, cinema, community units, education development, quality public space and hotel’. In the five years since the UDP was adopted no development has taken place on any of them. The development status of each of these sites can be summarised thus:
57: Ealing Broadway Centre – no plans submitted/no development as yet
58: Dickens Yard – St George’s proposal is ‘stalled’. It has still not submitted to regional government after Ealing Council’s adoption of the proposals in November, 2008
60: 80% of old cinema demolished. No development as yet. Site currently inactive
62: New Broadway/High Street (old Lamerton’s) site. No development/ no submitted plans as yet
63: Arcadia – Government Public Inquiry
64: Ealing Broadway Station. No plans submitted/ no development as yet.

4.5.2 As a consequence of the lack of any Town Centre development, there has been no addition to or extension of the inadequate social and community infrastructure detailed in section 2.

4.5.3 It is therefore not an unreasonable contention that the UDP is not credible on the subject of Ealing Town Centre as after five years NONE OF THE 2004 UNITARY DEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR THE SIX SITES HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED. THAT REPRESENTS FIVE YEARS OF PLANNING BLIGHT FOR 32 ACRES OF EALING TOWN CENTRE.

4.5.4 The following UDP requirements are not met in the Arcadia proposals:
8.6 Facilities for Young Children
The Council will require major schemes to incorporate a range of facilities for young children and their parents and carers

Table 8D
‘Facilities for Young People.
1. The range of facilities will depend upon the scale of the development but should include:
(i) Babycare rooms, (available to men and women);
(ii) Indoor and outdoor play areas;
(iii) Pram and buggy parks;
(iv) Creches and nurseries.’

4.5.5 There are no public play areas in the centre of Ealing. The Arcadia plan includes no provisions for (i) to (iv) above. It also isn’t clear whether the terms of the lease will allow children to play in the amenity areas. The accepted standard for play space provision is 10 square metres per child to be provided within the development for every child of pre-school and primary school age.

4.5.6 Local Development Framework (LDF): New Issues and Options, 2007 (Ref: Arcadia 8. 22 – 25)

As the Arcadia plan points out that the Borough of Ealing does not have an adopted LDF Development Strategy. Public Consultancy on this strategy was scheduled for 5th June, 2009 to 17th July, 2009 – but has now been re-scheduled for September, 2009.

4.5.7 Ealing Metropolitan Centre Spatial Development Framework, 2008 (Ref: Arcadia 8.29 – 33)
This is the Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design study which seeped into the public domain on Friday 2nd May, 2008 and was adopted as ‘material consideration’ for planning purpose by Ealing Council Cabinet on 6th May, 2008. In the Autumn of 2008, SEC published a review of the study (10). Below are two relevant extracts:

‘1a. Tibbalds does not deal with the role of the centre in serving the needs of the growing population of the borough and the surrounding area as a whole, and instead over-emphasises certain elements, particularly new homes and shops thus crowding out other issues.
1d. There is no development of any coherent vision for the centre of Ealing, and the study is inhibited by its acceptance of the assumptions made in existing planning applications for the Arcadia centre and Dickens Yard.’

4.5.8 Leisure and Other Community Facilities (ref: Arcadia 8.61-63)
The Arcadia plans suggest that two gyms and three squash courts are adequate leisure facilities for the 13,500 Ward residents. Arcadia’s response to this paucity of facilities is – another gym.

4.5.9 The proposal suggests that Ealing Town Hall satisfies the needs of local groups for community space. The reality is that the space is old; poorly maintained; has poor acoustics and audio-visual facilities; has a few large rooms but any small rooms; the Council has priority on bookings; and there is no on-site daytime weekday car parking.

4.5.10 Law and order services are summarised in just 10 words. Inadequacies in Policing are described in section 2 of this proof.

4.5.11 Open Spaces (Ref: Arcadia 8.64)
The Arcadia plan states ‘the site has very good access to high quality open space, with Haven Green immediately to the north’.
Regular human observation will inform you that Haven Green is consistently well used by residents – on a sunny Saturday 30th May, 2009 afternoon there were some 100 people enjoying the green . Haven Green is also quite small – in fact it is not much bigger than the Arcadia site. With the St George Dickens Yard plan also claiming Haven Green as its primary open space, the influx of almost 2,442 new residents could very well overload the green and significantly reduce or even eliminate its ‘quality’.

4.5.12 Private and Public Space (Ref: Arcadia 8.80 -83)
There is only 3.3 square metres of amenity space per resident, which is well below acceptable standards. This is all provided as roof gardens on four of the blocks. Some of these gardens would have to be protected with screens to keep down the wind levels. It is not clear whether the residents from the three remaining blocks would be able to access the gardens on the other blocks, and the practical arrangement would in any case discourage them from doing so. There are no other common facilities at all provided for residents. This is inappropriate, given the size of the development, and would work against community cohesion and any sense of belonging. The main walkways will be exposed sunless canyons, with the principal ones aligned to the prevailing wind.

4.5.13 Permanent Indirect Impacts (Ref: Arcadia 8.84-102)
SEC fundamentally disagrees with the Arcadia plan assertions that the impacts on healthcare and education will be negligible. No provisions for healthcare or education are to be made on the Arcadia site and section 2. of this proof amply describes the current healthcare and education inadequacies in the area.

4.5.14 As far as wider regeneration benefits, unless the social and community infrastructure of the town centre is significantly improved, even less people will visit and spend time and money in the centre. The revitalisation of Ealing town centre will only be achieved if social and community facilities and service are located in the centre.

4.5.15 Social Impact Statement (SIS) (Arcadia Ref: Appendix 8a)
Page 1: ‘Consultation was undertaken for the SIS as part of the 2007 application’. This ‘consultation’ did not involve any form of consulting with the three closest residents’ groups, namely CERA, GRASS and WRA. To not consult with the local society who are the ones closest to the development and who are the ones most likely to be directly affected by the development is contrary to any normal processes of human decency.

4.5.16 ‘Table 3: Assessment of Impact of Proposed Development
2.Community Facilities & Green/open Space
Enhancement of community facility and/or green/open space (on or off site)
Floorspace increase (square metres)
Green/open space gained/enhanced (hectares)

The absence of any data here confirms that there are no positive impacts with regards community facilities and green/open space

4.5.17 Residential Development
‘5. Any other education or training needs which may be generated by the development
To view the viable primary or secondary State education of Ealing Town Centre children in schools with vacancies in the far flung extermities of the borough is completely misguided. See section 2.

Commercial Development
4.5.18 ‘12./13. Need for active leisure and culture facilities for residents, employess and/or visitors. Estimate no of places needed.’
No commentary provided – which indicates lack of interest in the topics by Glenkerrin.

4.5.19 ‘15. Community Perspective on Social Impact
Ealing Community Network (ECN) provides a Commentary here. There are some good words here but no comments on education, healthcare, and law and order. The suggestion of a new gym is worrying. Firstly as there are two already in existence close to the arcadia site and secondly as Arcadia is actually proposing a gym.

4.5.20 ‘16. Impacts on Police Resources
The Metropolitan Police are quoted as ‘currently planning to rent space in the area for the Ealing Broadway Safer Neighbourhood Unit’ The Met’s Safer Neighbourhood Policing (SNP) initiative was launched in April 2004. Five years on, there are very few Ward based SNP ‘units’ throughout the whole of Ealing and none of them have manned front desks for public access. The location of an Ealing Broadway SNP unmanned front desked ‘unit’ would provide a minimally improved local law and order service.

4.5.21 Figure 1: Education facilities within 1 km of site
The picture higlights the absence of any open-entry State Primary Schools. The picture fails to depict any State Secondary schools – accurately as it turns out as there are none.
The primary school capacity table depicted is now out of date and erroneously lists primary schools which are not in ‘central Ealing’.

4.5.22 Figure 2: Community facilities within 1km of site
There is minimal social and community facility data depicted in the picture or in fact defined in the legend. Suffice to say that the picture shows no hotel, conference centre, community centre, information centre, professional theatre, cinema, swimming pool, bowling alley, children’s play ground or ball games facilities except three squash courts.

4.5.23 Figure 3: Primary health care facilities within 1 km of site.
The nearest GP surgery is, at 500 metres from the site not close to the site, and over-subscribed at 2,026 patients/GP.

4.5.24 Figure 4: Open space within 1 km of the site.
Haven Green is the only open space close to the site. At just over 4 acres in size and heavily used already, its use by Arcadia residents and also Dickens Yard (2,442 in total) could make its use a less than pleasant experience.

5. Conclusions

5.1 The current social and community infrastructure in central Ealing is seriously inadequate.
5.2 No-one seems to want to develop other major UDP adopted Town Centre development sites which would provide some much needed social and community infrastructure
5.3 The Arcadia plans offer no prospect of any improvement in the social and community infrastructure of the town centre
5.4 The Arcadia plans use up valuable space in our town centre which needs to be used for an integrated transport hub along with a plethora of missing social and community facilities.
5.5 The 916 new Arcadia residents will further overload our inadequate social and community infrastructure – and reduce the quality of service and life for existing and new residents.
5.6 The cumulative impact of 2,422 new Arcadia/Dickens Yard residents will further overload our stretched social and community infrastructures – possibly to breaking point


(1) 26th February, 2009 Ealing Council Cabinet Meeting Report: Approval of Funding for Town Centre and Regeneration Programme – s106 and Capital.
(2) West Ealing Neighbours Report: New Residential Blocks in the EMC and its Environs – 2005 to 2022: 21st May, 2009
(3) Ealing Primary and Secondary Vacancy Reports: 8th May, 2009.
(4) Ealing Council: Determination of proposals to extend nine Primary Schools in Ealing Borough: 24th April, 2009
(5) Ealing Council LDF: Delivering Local Development 2007/8: Annual Monitoring Report, December, 2008
(6) Care Quality Commission (formerly the Healthcare Commission) –
(7) The Kings Fund –
(8) Ealing Primary Care Trust: A Proposal for the West Ealing Integrated Care Centre: NHS LIFT, April, 2008
(9) 2000 EDAW Pre-feasibility Report on proposed Art Centre in Ealing
(10) SEC’s Full Response to Tibbalds Report May 2008 on Spatial Development Framework for EMC

One Reply to “SEC Social and Community Infrastructure”

  1. Hi, I’d just like to say, what a cool post! i am just doing a bit of research for my website but i had trouble reading this post due to the text protruding in to the side menu…. edit… apologies, my fault, its my outdated version of chrome causing the fault. Might be worth telling peeps to update. Many thanks.

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