A key component of the planning system in England is the Local Plan. Created by the Local Planning Authority in consultation with its residents, each Local Plan outlines the long-term planning strategy for that area.
In London, each borough, including Ealing, produces its own Local Plan. A comparison of the status of Ealing’s Local Plan with those of the 32 other London boroughs shows how out of date Ealing’s plan is.
- Boroughs are required to report regularly on the effectiveness of their Local Plan through an Authority Monitoring Report (AMR). Ealing’s last AMR was in 2013/14. Only Hillingdon’s most recent AMR is older.
- Planning isn’t a static activity. Especially at times like these with the world changing so fast, plans need updating regularly. Government legislation recognises that the public needs to be kept informed of what the Planning Authority is doing. It requires boroughs to publish regular ‘Local Development Schemes’ (LDSs) that set out how they are updating their plans, in what order and when. Ealing’s most recent LDS dates back to 2015. It is older than the LDS of any other London borough.
- An integral part of the LDS is multiple stages of public consultation. Ealing’s most recent LDS makes no mention of general public consultation. The most recent public consultations relating to Ealing’s Local Plan go back to 2009/10 making them ancient compared with those of other London boroughs.
These failings are not going unnoticed by developers. An application made in December last year to develop the site at 80 Goodhall Street NW10 noted that ‘During pre-application discussions it was agreed that the OPDC’s emerging Local Plan took precedence over the Ealing adopted policies given that their local planning policies are out of date.’ Good that in this case there was at least the OPDC to fall back on. For the rest of the borough it is the Wild West.