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9-42 The Broadway

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Campaigners have written to Ealing's Councillors (pdf) urging they put their political differences aside and sort out problems within the planning department.

It follows the announcement that the Secretary of State has intervened in the controversial application to redevelop Ealing town centre.

Save Ealing Centre (SEC) believe there were breaches in regulations and protocol during the process, and have claimed the planning committee didn't act in a independent quasi-judicial manner, as required by law.

It's the second time an application for the area's redevelopment has been called-in, seven years ago an inquiry was held into what was then known as the Arcadia site.

SEC say the planning and regeneration functions in the council are too closely linked and this is leading to unsuitable schemes being pushed through.

They have now written to Ealing's elected members urging that they should take action to change the current situation.

In the letter they say: '' you should instruct the planners that decisions and recommendations (including those during pre-planning) must be based on fair and balanced consideration of all relevant planning policy, legislation and guidance. Undue weight must not be given to those policies that conveniently support proposals and applications favoured by the regeneration executive.''

They're also urging the Council not to employ an expensive barrister to participate in the town centre public inquiry.

'' At the Glenkerrin inquiry over £70,000 of public money was wasted on a QC to support a developer who cared only for their own profit. The planning inspector may have questions about processes followed by LBE officers and we believe these should be answered personally by those officers. Lessons which were clearly not learned by LBE after the previous fiasco need to be learned now and this will not be helped by hiding behind a highly paid QC.''

Ealing is a Labour controlled authority and has 53 Labour councillors, 12 Conservative and 4 Liberal Democrat.

SEC want them to put aside political differences, work together and follow due process in planning.

We have given Ealing Council the opportunity to comment and Council Leader, Julian Bell, says: '' I read the letter from Save Ealing Centre and completely disagree with their analysis of planning in Ealing. Our planning department deals with a huge volume of applications efficiently and correctly. Ealing is benefiting from huge regeneration with levels of  investment that other boroughs could only dream about.  I will not apologise for strengthening our local economy or ensuring that we deliver  new jobs and homes.  

''I am very proud of the diligence and professionalism of our officers. Both our planning and regeneration teams are highly regarded within their sectors and ‘Save Ealing Centre’ is wrong to imply that our planning department acts with anything other than the highest levels of professionalism or that it doesn’t make recommendations in accordance with planning policies.

''Ealing is a borough that is working hard to secure the borough’s long-term future and is on the up.  We will continue to encourage this.

''I am confident that the planning inspector will agree with the GLA and the Mayor of London to uphold the decision that the council has made for the development at 9-42 the Broadway.''

SEC open letter to Ealing Councillors can be read here

2nd June 2016 (updated)


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