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Campaigners say Ealing Council’s 15-year Local Plan is “seriously flawed” and “almost impossible to read”

With public consultation closing on 10 April 2024 for Ealing Council’s 1,200 page 15-year Local Plan, Ealing Matters, a network of over 60 residents’ associations and community groups across the borough says it has “assessed the plan and considers it to be seriously flawed” and “the documents are almost impossible to read”.

The local plan provides information on housing, environment, leisure, jobs and more on what Labour-run Ealing Council plans to do across the borough and its seven towns of Acton, Ealing, Greenford, Hanwell, Northolt, Perivale and Southall over the next 15 years.

Ealing Matters is calling on residents who haven’t commented on the plan to do so.

In a statement, Ealing Matters said: “This is the last opportunity you have to comment on what the council is planning to do with your borough over the next 15 years. The feedback we’ve had so far on the consultation has highlighted the problems people face in understanding the local plan.”

It added: “While the council says it will affect every aspect of everyday life in Ealing, the documents are almost impossible to read, and it seems to have been made as difficult as possible for people to comment on them.”

The group has highlighted a top 10 of concerns.

It said: “Many people have legitimate issues to raise. They can be grouped into 10 broad areas:

“1. The plan itself is verbose and repetitive. It is simply impenetrable to the vast majority of Ealing residents unfamiliar with planning jargon or issues.

“2. Ealing’s housing target of more than 40,000 homes over the next 15 years is excessive and undeliverable. But if it were to be delivered, it would create unmanageable population growth of more than 80,000 people (more than the population of Guildford) according to GLA projections.

“3. The infrastructure plans to support this very high growth rate are sketchy at best.

“4. The plan’s proposals for wholesale redevelopment of relatively new and serviceable buildings will exacerbate climate change.

“5. Valuable areas of metropolitan open land (London’s equivalent of green belt) are to be lost. A new policy of ‘enabling development’ will justify developing them in the council’s interests.

“6. There are no policies to protect the borough’s heritage.

“7. Tall building heights, especially in Ealing and Acton, are excessive and unjustified.

“8. There is no vision or strategy for the near total redevelopment of Ealing metropolitan town centre that the plan envisages.

“9. The plan’s 82 individual development sites have the potential to have considerable impact on the borough and the proposals for them are totally insufficient.

“10. Ealing’s proposals for monitoring the plan are no more adequate now than they have been over the past 10 years.

When the plan was discussed at a council meeting on 21 February 2024,  it was called by opposition party Liberal Democrats as: “impenetrable waffle, jargon and repetition. The Labour administration have failed to engage local people by failing to produce an accessible plan that residents can meaningfully engage with.

During the heated discussion between Ealing Council cabinet members and opposition parties over the presentation of the local plan document, Council leader Councillor Peter Mason said: “It has to be a legally tight document. It sets out a vision for the borough but it also very importantly has to tell developers what they can and can’t do. That requires, unfortunately, a level of precise language that means it has to run to quite a few pages.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Jon Ball added: “The Local Plan and supporting documents total 1,209 pages of impenetrable waffle, jargon and repetition. The Labour administration have failed to engage local people by failing to produce an accessible plan that residents can meaningfully engage with.

Chair of Ealing Green Party, Neil Reynolds told EALING.NEWS of his concerns over the local plan and how it is presented to residents. He said: “Ealing’s local plan must strike a balance of being detailed enough to explain plans for a large and diverse borough but also be clear and concise so that it can be read and commented on by residents and councillors.”

Mr Reynolds added: “At 1,200 pages the promises of transparency at the election ring hollow however. Sir Humphrey in Yes Minister would be proud of the obfuscation in this document, it contains plans to develop metropolitan land and how public services will be paid for. Representations by local organisations on this document will be much more difficult to make because it is literally the length of war and peace!”

The local plan consultation started on 28 February 2024 and will end at 6pm on 10 April 2024. Residents can view the plan on Ealing Council’s website by clicking here and download the 16 PDF documents that have been produced which run to 1,200 pages. Comments addressing the information provided in the local plan can then be emailed to localplan@ealing.gov.uk

As well as downloading and printing out the local plan, Ealing Council has put hard copies in all libraries across the borough.

Are you an Ealing resident with a story to share? Or spotted something we should know about?
Get in touch with us by emailing: news@ealing.news or tweet us on Twitter @_EalingNews

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