Questions Remain Unanswered About Collapse of Church Building
No permission appears to have been given for demolition
Residents of Junction Road and Carlyle Road are asking for answers after the collapse of the Living Hope church building this Tuesday afternoon.
The structure in South Ealing disintegrated just over a two weeks after a plan was submitted for its demolition. It is not clear at this stage whether the building was pulled down by contractors on the site or fell down due to structural weakness. It is understood that approval had not been given for this demolition plan but we have asked Ealing Council to confirm that this is the case.
Permission was granted last year to develop the site including the building at the rear on Carlyle Road into flats with a parallel application for a nursery. The application was made by Savill’s on behalf of Luxgrove Homes. The permission was granted on the condition that a demolition management plan was approved.
Residents say that work began on the site on Monda and that the authorities had been contacted that day due to concerns about the way the work was being done and tiles from the roof landing in neighbouring properties.
According to a local planning consultant we have spoken no preparatory work for the demolition plan should have taken place until the agreement was concluded.
It is understood that nobody was hurt in the building collapse but residents in adjacent homes became trapped for a while due to the debris.
Four police cars and a fire engine attended the scene and the police cordoned off the site.
One local resident told on social media how the debris from the church was now piled in her garden. When she complained to the site manager she was told that accidents like this happen all the time. He disregarded the suggestion that work should be suspended because the site was unsafe.
It is also suggested that no party wall agreement had been made between the developer and residents in adjoining buildings. A party wall surveyor told EalingToday.co.uk that proceeding with demolition work before a party wall agreement is in place is in breach of the Party Wall Act 1996.
The resident has reported the matter to the council, the police and the Health & Safety Executive.
Another person living in the vicinity told us, “My concern is that the council, face with a fait accompli, will just take the applicant’s word for it that this was just an accident and there will be no consequences. This would set a terrible precedent for the rest of the borough.”
Documentation submitted with the original application suggests that asbestos was present in the building roof. We have asked Ealing Council what measures are being taken to protect public health but they haven't responded.
The building was known as ‘Living Hope’ and it served an evangelical congregation until the beginning of the pandemic. Both the existing church occupier and nursery provider vacated the buildings during the lockdown. It is understood that the congregation plan to re-locate to other facilities in the area.
Luxgrove Homes was asked for comment and we await a response.
April 29, 2021