Secretary of State 'Calls In' Ealing Town Centre Plans
Planning Inspectorate to hold inquiry into controversial plans
The Secretary of State has intervened in the controversial application to redevelop Ealing town centre.
The scheme to overhaul 9-42 The Broadway by Benson Elliot and Londonewcastle has been called-in which means there will now be an inquiry held by the Planning Inspectorate.
Ealing council approved the plans in February - despite huge opposition.
The proposals have been described as a dystopian nightmare which would rip the heart out of Ealing and turn it into 'Gotham City'.
Campaigners from Save Ealing Centre (SEC) believed there were breaches in regulations and protocol during the process, and claimed the planning committee didn't act in a independent quasi-judicial manner,as required by law.
The Secretary of State has informed Ealing Council that the application has been 'called-in' and wants to look into the propsals to make sure they are ''consistent with Government policies for ensuring the vitality of town centres, delivering a wide choice of quality housing and conserving and enhancing the historic environment.'
Julian Smith from SEC has welcomed the news:
Save Ealing's Centre (SEC) is pleased to report that the very unpopular planning application to destroy a large part of our historic town centre and replace it with huge ugly buildings has been called in by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Jon Ball was one of the councillors who voted against the scheme. He says:
''I am delighted that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has listened to the appeal by our Conservative Group Leader and many other residents and asked the Planning Inspectorate to review this application in the light of national and local planning as well as conservation area policies.
''The fact that many residents believe that it would leave Ealing looking like Gotham City says it all. Residents rightly want a development that will enhance or preserve the historic fabric of Ealing, not destroyed it completely.
''It is great news for Ealing that the application has been called in and there will be an inquiry by the Planning Inspectorate."
It's the second time plans for the area have been called in. Seven years ago an inquiry was held into what was then known as the Arcadia site.
Opposition was spearheaded by SEC and after an 11 day hearing the Inspector recommended the plan was should be rejected. This was accepted by the then Secretary of State, John Denham, who described 'the dominant and overbearing impact' as 'inappropriate' for the town centre. That plan was withdrawn.
Leader of Ealing Council, Councillor Julian Bell said:
"I still wholeheartedly believe that the scheme will transform Ealing town centre, creating new shops and restaurants, as well as enhancing Ealing's cultural offer. It will replace rundown buildings with a significant number of new homes and transform the space opposite the new Crossrail station."
26th May 2016 (updated)