A group of 200-300 Ealing residents gathered outside Ealing Town Hall on Tuesday night to call for the Council to stop approving the high-rise developments that are blighting our borough. As councillors arrived for the last full Council meeting before the London Mayoral election in May, they were greeted by representatives of residents’ groups from Acton, Central Ealing, Hanwell, Northolt, Perivale, Southall and West Ealing under the Stop the Towers Ealing umbrella protesting at the Council’s failure to respond to their concerns.
Stop the Towers Ealing is a new online hub that helps residents from all over the borough to visualise the effects of overdevelopment by creating 3-D images of the large-scale developments that are in the pipeline. These currently include some 124 new tower blocks of more than 10 storeys, but include several of more than 40 storeys.
Residents’ groups have been calling for a Tall Buildings Policy from the Council for more than 10 years – since the development of Dickens Yard and the failed Glenkerrin scheme (involving plans for a 40-storey tower opposite Ealing Broadway station, which was thrown out by the Secretary of State following a public inquiry). This should be part of the Local Plan that sets out how the borough will develop in the medium to long-term. The Local Plan should be reviewed to assess whether it needs updating at least once every five years, and should then be updated as necessary in consultation with residents.
Those parts of Ealing’s Local Plan related to development have not been updated since 2013, despite the fact that the borough’s housing targets will increase by 50% if the new London Plan goes ahead. Developers are explicitly ignoring the existing plan because it is so out-of-date.
In February last year, in response to a request from Ealing Matters, the Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Transformation, Councillor Peter Mason, said that the Council was embarking on a review of its Local Plan, and that he was ‘more than prepared to meet with (Ealing Matters) to discuss this, and find constructive ways in which the community organisations can have an input into planning policy.’ He indicated that the Local Plan Advisory Panel would soon be reviewing the Council’s statement of community involvement and that that might be ‘the best first step in moving this dialogue forward.’ Since when – silence! In the meantime planning applications for high-rise towers continue to be made and approved.
The protest on Tuesday night is further proof, if any were needed, of the growing frustration of residents with the Council on planning in Ealing.