Call for Official Enquiry into Ealing Town Centre Scheme Approval
Claims of bias and breaches of regulations over town centre application
Ealing's boss is being asked to launch a formal investigation into the planning department after a controversial application for the town centre redevelopment was given the green light.
Campaigners from Save Ealing Centre (SEC) believe there have been breaches in regulations and protocol during the process, which saw developers Benson Elliot and Londonewcastle plans to to overhaul 9-42 The Broadway approved by Ealing's planning committee.
The developers are part of a consortium that helped fund a delegation from Ealing to attend the annual MIPIM conference in the South of France.
SEC has written to Ealing's Chief Excutive (pdf), Martin Smith, claiming evidence of bias in the handling of the application. They point to several examples which they claim show the committee didn't act in a independent quasi-judicial manner,as required by law.
Conservationists,The Victorian Society have already taken the 'highly unusual step' of asking the Secretary of State to intervene over the town centre plans, which have been described as a 'dystopian nightmare.'
Writing on behalf of SEC, Julian Smith says there have been a number of departures from required procedure:
''This, coupled with a lack of transparency in decision making, leads us to suspect that pressure is being applied by third parties, and we trust that you will endeavour to locate those individuals involved and bring them to account.''
The letter continues: '' In the event that you are able to confirm that the planning department and committee have not been operating properly then the decision taken with respect to the above, and other recent, planning applications must be re-assessed. We believe that the only fair and proper way to do so is to hold independent inquiries for all major strategic planning decisions taken whilst the current executive director of regeneration and housing, chair of the planning committee, and council leader have been in post.''
An Ealing Council spokesperson said:
"We can confirm we have received a letter this morning. While we are confident that we have acted appropriately the matters raised in the letter will be investigated and the group will receive a comprehensive response."
17th March 2016