Arcadia Redevelopment - Proposals Have Been Rejected

Secretary of State says town centre plans 'inappropriate'

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The highly controversial Arcadia redevelopment plan which would have seen tower blocks opposite Ealing Broadway station has been rejected.

The plans included demolition of the current centre and proposals to build 567 units, within seven blocks of up to 26 storeys high, between Ealing Broadway Station and Christchurch.

The original Arcadia centre application was approved by Ealing Council in December 2008 and in January 2009 the then Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears called it in.

A public inquiry was held over the summer and heard from a number of parties including top planner Sir Peter Hall who spoke passionately against the proposals. He said the scheme would ''destroy the essence of what Ealing is''.

In rejecting the application the Secretary of State John Denham MP appeared to agree. He said there were significant areas of conflict particularly in relation to design and conservation. He concluded that :

'' the bulk, massing and certain aspects of the design of the scheme would be inappropriate in its surroundings. It would fail to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Town Centre conservation area and the setting of the Haven Green conservation area, as well as harming the setting of the Grade II* listed Church of Christ the Saviour.

'' ...its dominant and overbearing impact would seriously detract from the distinctiveness and identity of Ealing Town Centre and the Haven Green area.''

Liberal Democrat Councillor Jon Ball,  parliamentary candidate for the marginal seat of Ealing Central and Acton, stood down from the Planning Committee which considered the application in order to oppose it. He said:

“I am delighted by this decision which is fantastic news for Ealing and a body blow to the Conservative Council.

“This hugely unpopular scheme was pushed through against strong local opposition. The Council then spent £100,000 to defend it at the Public Inquiry, which has now firmly rejected it.”

Not surprisingly however Ealing Council believes the decision is a set back. Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Councillor David Millican, said:

“We appreciate that some people will be pleased with this decision, but also know that for a number of years many local people have had grave concerns about the decline of the town centre.

“This site is key to the long-term future of Ealing, both in terms of providing a prosperous town centre and jobs for local people. This development would have helped to secure the economic vitality of the town centre. We must continue to ensure the long-term future of Ealing, but this decision puts that back for quite some time.''

Glenkerrin - the developer - said it was meeting its architects and legal team this week, ahead of a possible appeal.

Director Sean O’Gorman said:

“We’re not ruling anything out. We’re looking to meet key members of the team this week and take it from there.”

He said the firm had spent close to £10 million on the planning process — along with a further £100 million on acquisitions.

“We’re bitterly, bitterly disappointed after three years of working through the due process,” he added. “We need to meet to look through the document and see what we’re going to do.”

It has until January 18 to launch an appeal at the High Court.



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December 21, 2009