Fears Over 'Tower Block' Ealing

Draft New London plan could mean green light to massive development


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Huge housing developments comparable to the size of a town such as Stevenage could engulf Ealing over the next ten years.

perfume factory
( Artists impression of The Perfume Factory development due before planning in April)

That's the stark warning from a group of residents associations and community groups who have submitted objections to the Mayor's office over the draft New London Plan.

The plan sets out the framework for future development in the capital over the next 15-20 years, the first version was produced by Ken Livingstone in 2004 and there have been numerous alterations since. The final London Plan will be published in Autumn 2019.

Ealing Matters, a borough-wide alliance of community groups and residents’ associations, has submitted its objections to the consultation, which closed on 2nd March.

They say if this current version is approved, house building in the borough will increase by 116% per annum, more than twice as fast as across London as a whole.

This equates to 2,800 new homes to be built each year for the next ten years in the borough, compared with the 1,297 homes targeted in the current Plan.

They believe this could be achieved by:

Encouraging more tall buildings. Boroughs will be required to identify locations where tall buildings would be appropriate.
Relaxing the rules governing the density of new housing developments and making it easier to exceed the maximum.
Building on small sites. Boroughs will be set targets for new homes to be built on small sites. Planning permission for residential conversions and extensions, redevelopment of existing houses and development within the boundaries of a house (aka ‘garden grabbing’) will all be easier to obtain in the face of any local objections.

According to Eric Leach, Chair of the alliance: ''‘London badly needs more homes. However, the New London Plan expects Ealing to deliver far more than its fair share of new homes. Development on the scale proposed is comparable to creating a town the size of Stevenage thin the borough over the next decade, but the Plan fails to explain this target, and it provides none of the infrastructure that will be needed by either existing or incoming residents. It’s a developers’ charter. With Council elections coming up, people should be asking their candidates what they will be doing to stop Ealing being blighted by a building free-for-all.''

An Ealing Council spokesperson said, '' The council has not objected wholesale to the draft New London Plan. Whilst we support the need for increasing housing supply, our main concern relates to whether or not the Mayor’s ambitious targets can be actually delivered in practice. We understand and, indeed share, the Mayor’s challenging commitment to deliver more housing, especially more genuinely affordable homes.

''Ealing Council is ready to continue to play its part and would therefore welcome further opportunities to discuss how the Mayor’s aims and aspirations can be realised.''

Conservatives have oppesed the draft New Plan saying it was only good news for developers.

Councillor Greg Stafford says: '' Rather than protecting back gardens, the Mayor’s Plan removes the protection and in fact appears to be encouraging garden grabbing with a presumption in favour of 'infill development within the curtilage of a house.'
The housing density matrix has completed abandoned. This means there are no limits or guidelines to the appropriate density of developments in particular areas, so expect to see the continuation of 40 plus story towers being approved locally by Labour.

There are also no targets for family homes, despite previous commitments.  Boris's housing strategy had a target for 36% of affordable homes to be family sized.  There is simply no targets in the Draft Plan, but there is a suggestion that two bed units can now be considered suitable for family housing.  This is absolutely craziness, especially as most people know, that you can barely swing a cat in the average new 2 bed unit, much less try to house a family with children.
Finally, there are no major changes to Green Belt policies and cycling standards despite the Mayor’s fanfare.''

He said the proposals give 'a free pass to developers and paves the way for London to be a more densely populated concrete jungle.”

Meanwhile, campaigners against tall buildings are welcoming the news that last night Ealing planning committee turned down an application to build a nine-storey tower block next to Lidl in Hanwell. The so called ' Marshall Building' was described as ' out of keeping with the surroundings'.

Alistair Mitton who will be standing as ward representative for the Liberal Democrats says: '' It is wrong on so many levels, 9 storeys high is wrong, ghettoising affordable housing is wrong, the damage it would do to the character of the area is wrong, and for many the design is wrong. It is a shame the planners could not have seen sense with the 7 storey develpments on the Peugeot and Wickes sites, but at least this has been tunred down.''

Marshall Building
( Marshall Building next to Lidl in Hanwell planning application was refused 23/03)

To read more about Ealing Matters’ response to the draft New London Plan and its implications for Ealing go to Ealing Matters on Facebook.

20 March 2018 (updated)

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