An 'Unimaginative and Dreadful Piece of Planning'

Resident tells Ealing Today about concerns for his neighbourhood

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Locals are furious about a double-deck extension put up to accommodate more pupils at St John's School.

Dave Randles from Felix Road outlines his objections.

'''This is a complex problem which involves the entire regeneration of West Ealing and the 10 acre site currently occupied by the Green Man estate.

The area is an amalgam of rich and poor people trying to co-exist between BMWs, patio gardens, loft extensions, urine soaked stairwells and syringes.

Within the last 10 years several hundred flats have been built in the square mile surrounding St.John's School and the additional burden on the supporting
infrastructure such as affordable housing, transport links, traffic management, schooling, policing, parking and the health service has so far been completely ignored by Council and developers alike, partly through
negligence, but mostly for budgetary reasons.

The extension to St.John's School is an unimaginative and dreadful piece of planning which, not only fails to meet the needs of the School, but is an eyesore to everyone around it. It has been built as an emergency stop-gap with total disregard to local residents and families alike. The true cost of the development is probably closer to half a million pounds and yet still
doesn't satisfy the needs of the community.

Council planning consent was approved under "delegated powers" which means that the matter was never debated by any elected members of the Council's Planning Committee.When questioned on this, I was advised that this is a regular procedure if there are no objections to a planning application. The Council say that they sent out 194 letters to local residents but received no replies - perhaps this isn't too surprising if, as we suspect, none of the letters were actually posted.

My family and I have lived opposite the School for well over 15 years and we are pleased to see how it has developed since the new headmistress arrived. Although the need for school places is clearly expanding, I understand that things are not that desperate at the present time and that the alternative would have been to build a more substantial single storey brick building
similar to the one that they added a few years ago.

It distresses me that the Council can make decisions of this kind, seemingly without any
consultation or regard to the local neighbourhood or our quality of life - I guess we just have to accept that this is a poor area of the borough and nobody cares. In reality this is however an area which is currently going through a huge amount of change with the introduction of new flats, private dwellings, Waitrose and the proposed Crossrail. It is an up and coming area
in which many people are trying very hard to shed the past images of crime, abandoned cars and drug dealing.

Decisions like this do little to enhance the look of the area and encourage people to take a greater pride in their environment. How sad that the new extension has taken away the wildlife area and pond that used to be on the site - one of the last green spaces within the confines of the school.''

Dave Randles

August 20, 2009

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