Cautious Response To Pledge of Community-led Development

New Ealing Council leadership promises new approach to planning

Skyscrapers still set to dominate more of Ealing Borough's skyline. Picture: Red Block Rebels
Skyscrapers still set to dominate more of Ealing Borough's skyline. Picture: Red Block Rebels

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Local amenity groups and campaigners against over-development have given a guarded welcome to the ‘new approach’ of the recently installed Ealing Council leader.

Cllr Peter Mason has pledged to put ‘community led development in the driving seat of regeneration’ and announced an immediate review of the council’s policies on tower blocks.

There is no mention of outright opposition to skyscrapers in the borough but there is a commitment to set out where tall buildings are inappropriate in the borough.

In addition it is promised that town development plans, created with communities, setting out the vision and infrastructure needs of the borough’s seven towns will be implemented.

The Ealing in London inward investment brand is to be ditched, a publicly accessible register of any meetings between developers and councillors is to be maintained and Ealing councillor will no longer attend the MIPIM conference in France.

As one of his first actions, Councillor Mason has written to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, asking him to work with Ealing to produce a new vision for the development of Southall, revoking the Opportunity Area Framework.

No mention is made of the current intentions with regard to controversial schemes such as the Perceval House development and the Gurnell Leisure Centre project.

Councillor Mason said, “COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work forever. We’ve spent more time in our local areas than ever before; more of us are working from home and lots of us either want to keep it that way or to work more locally and flexibly. People are feeling more invested in the future of their neighbourhoods than ever before.

“Many people don’t feel in control of the areas they live in, and I want to change that. From now on, communities will be in the driving seat when it comes to regeneration in Ealing. Local communities need to lead the process of changing our borough, not developers.

“I want to ensure that local people know their council is on their side and to build an open, transparent and inclusive culture. That’s why I’m announcing steps to make interactions with developers more transparent.”

Cllr Shital Manro, cabinet member for good growth, and chair of the borough planning committee said, “We have a long and proud history of industry and creativity in Ealing, and our borough should be a place where people can live and work in good, well-paying jobs. Space for jobs and employment will be at the heart of our new approach to regeneration.

“We look forward to starting a conversation with local people about what they want to see happen in their communities, and how we can shape the future of Ealing together.”

Justine Sullivan of the Stop the Towers campaign said that the group cautiously welcomed the announcement adding, “Stop the Towers has been actively talking with Peter for the past year and are pleased that the views of the thousands of local residents we represent are beginning to be heard.

“As immediate evidence of this change of policy, we’re calling on Ealing Council as co-developer of the controversial Perceval House scheme to now unilaterally withdraw this from the planning process and confirm that the current scheme will not proceed.

“This would be concrete evidence of a change of policy.

“Stop the Towers will continue to campaign for appropriate, sustainable developments across Ealing. And will continue to hold the current council administration to account for its planning policies and decisions”

Another local campaigner said, “Peter needs to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. It is all very well constantly repeating the mantra about being open, transparent and inclusive but there needs to be a root and branch reconsideration of the way the council handles its interactions with the public and engages with the community.”

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May 26, 2021

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