|Gough blasts 'juggernaut of development'|
Local Tory candidate says proposal are too much, too fast
Neighbourhoods that survive in the long-term are those that have the opportunity to evolve gradually. Change that comes slowly can be absorbed by the community and developments that seemed unbearable when first built can become part of the scenery. But recent development in the constituency, some of it already being built, some approved for development and some so far merely proposed is too much, too fast.
Local Council Planning Committees are sometimes in a difficult position. They are occasionally opposed to the developments they approve, but pass them because they suspect that they would lose any (expensive) appeal against a rejected application.
They end up as the focal point of opposition by local action groups, but in truth our local efforts ought to be directed at the primary causes of over-hasty residential and commercial building projects. I refer to Ken Livingstone and John Prescott. Both of these ego-centric individuals have bestowed upon themselves increasing powers to permit "development" (destruction, more-like) of both green- and brown-field sites. increasing the required minimum levels of affordable housing to a point where developers are forced to contemplate unacceptable density levels, in order that they retain a margin of profit.
Even the most confident London Borough Councils find it difficult to oppose the Mayor's directives in this regard. The consequences of these arbitrary targets are clear for everyone in the neighbourhood to see:
1. Prestolite Electrics development in Larden Road - over 600 new residencies proposed in the initial application of which close to 100% were originally ear-marked for affordable housing.
2. Allied Carpets on Goldhawk Road - a proposed 10 Storey Tower that even the Leader of the Hammersmith & Fulham Borough Council has opposed...
3. Somerfield, The Vale - closure of the only supermarket between Acton Town Centre and Shepherd's Bush, in order that the accompanying real estate could be made available for the ludicrous "Work-Live" apartments that are planned for the site. (The "Work-Live" apartments are a cunning means by which developers and Planning Committees get round previously self-imposed building restrictions. If an area is not designated a residential area, then theoretically it ought to be impossible for residential development to take place there. Build "Work-Live" apartments - one bed studio flats to you and me - and suddenly you can build living quarters in an employment zone).
4. The Guiness Sports Field plans on Twyford Abbey Road.
5. The North Thames Sports Ground on Twyford Avenue - here the owner won't let school children play sport on the open spaces and purposefully allows the area to become derelict in order to improve the chances of having a planning application waved through.
There are many others. You probably know of plans near you that you are actively opposing. And as the numbers of local residents rise, so the local infrastructure comes under intolerable strain. And so we begin to see, for example:
What would the Conservatives do differently, you might legitimately ask?
Residents and conservative-minded politicians (note the small 'c') are often accused of NIMBYism when opposing new projects. But it is not NIMBYism to want to preserve the delicate balance of one's local neighbourhood - neighbours know what their local community can bear, and what it can not. Their voices, by which I mean YOUR voices, should be listened to a lot more closely.
Jonathan Gough - Conservative Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush
This article was originally published in a Monthly newsletter from Jonathan Gough. You can sign up to receive this newsletter by visting www.ealingconservatives.com