Fury Over Labour Politician's Plans for Million Pound House

Neighbours say extensions detrimental to conservation area

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Dr Onkar Sahota

Castlebar Road property


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Neighbours have reacted furiously over building plans for a 128 year old house in Ealing's Haven Green Conservation area.

The substantial property on Castlebar Road - bordering Longfield Walk - was the former home of James Wills - the builder for Edward Wood Esq, owner of the "Hanger Hill Estate, Ealing".

It was bought in 2011 for £1.4million by Ealing and Hillingdon GLA representative Dr Onkar Sahota.

The house has been empty for over a year but in December a planning application for its redevelopment was submitted to Ealing Council.

Dr Sahota wants to add a basement, extend the house both sideways and to the rear and also make changes to the roof.

Neighbours say such a huge amount of work would be extremely disruptive and highly detrimental to the area.

They are also very concerned that any excavation work on the Victorian house - with the history of subsidence in the vicinity - could lead to structural damage in neighbouring properties.

Nearly 100 people have signed a petition and objection letters have been sent in to the Council.

Judy Jaafar lives next door and says feelings are running high: '' All of us on this part of Castlebar Road have done different things to our interiors, but none of us has substantially changed the exterior appearance of our properties other than a couple of small conservatories.

''We are all mindful of living in a conservation area and the responsibilities that ensue. We are also very aware of the precarious nature of the geological strata on which all our properties sit and the ever-present danger of yet more cracking and structural damage caused by subsidence.

''No. 43 is massively underpinned already and any significant excavations could cause major engineering problems which would affect the stability of no.43 itself and potentially my house as well, as they would be digging under my foundations.

''The current submitted plans would allow for the creation of a completely incongrous building, visible to all, at a very prominent location in the middle of a conservation area.''

''I cannot help but think that if someone wanted a four storey house with basement recreation area they would be much better advised to buy a plot of land and build from scratch rather than try to turn a Victorian silk purse into an ill-conceived sow's ear.'

Victor Mishiku, who is heading the local campaign, says Dr Sahota's name is filled in incorrectly on the planning application and information on the form states that the politician is living at the property - when he isn't.

He says Dr Onkar's agent would have had to sign a declaration stating details on the form as true and accurate:

'' In this case, they are not true and accurate and thus,  I would have thought that the Application is technically invalid.   Be that as it may, I think that it would be far better if this applicant was not permitted to cause all this unneighbourly disturbance to Longfield Walk and its Victorian surrounds in Castlebar Road/Carlton Road.''

Dr Sahota owns several properties in the area and was elected GLA member in May 2012.

He told Ealing Today: '' "I have made an application for planning permission for works to my house. This application is currently under consideration and awaiting decision of the planning authority.

''I am following the procedures in the same way as anybody else who wants to make improvements to their house. The application is as usual, currently undergoing the statutory consultation process and I will be informed when they have made their determination"



7th February 2013

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