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Ealing Council to present new Local Plan next week following concerns and criticism over its initial draft

Ealing Council has announced that the latest version of its new Local Plan is set to be presented before a full council meeting next week (21 February 2024).

The plan, which sets out what the council is seeking to do for the next 15 years, covers a range of issues across Ealing including housing, environment, leisure, jobs and more.

A consultation on the draft local plan took place from November 30 2022 until 8 February 2023.

Residents also set up a petition who felt the deadline of 8 February 2023 was not enough time to go through hundreds of pages of detailed information the council asked people to comment on

One Hanwell resident told EALING.NEWS: “This really is not enough time to respond. We need to consult with each other, we need to find out what these complex documents mean. It takes time. The council has the means to do this but we are just ordinary working people. The council leader needs to realise we can’t respond in such a short period of time for something they’ve had months if not years themselves to prepare and get experts to write for them.”

During 2023, both residents as well as organisations and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan raised concerns over what they saw in the draft.

Labour-run Ealing Council says it has been listening to locals across Ealing to finalise the new plan which will have a consultation starting on 28 February 2024 and running for six weeks. In a recently released video by the council, it highlighted five key areas which are included in the new Local Plan.

Ealing Council new Local Plan
Ealing Council new Local Plan

In a statement, Council leader Councillor Peter Mason said: “Our vision for the local plan is one where growth is spread across all of our boroughs 7 towns, so that our residents can have access to genuinely affordable homes, good and well-paid jobs, and live in communities filled with identity and pride.

“We want to take advantage of the strengths that Ealing has to offer, unrivalled connectivity with 5 Elizabeth line stations, the A40 and the soon arriving HS2, industrial opportunity with Park Royal and Southall, and the wealth of green and open spaces across the borough.

“We’ve engaged with thousands of residents from across the borough on this plan, and we know that building upon these areas  will allow us to make Ealing a destination rather than just a dormitory suburb, where new businesses can grow and thrive, and our residents can live, learn, and raise a family.”

On the initial draft plan, concerns were raised across a wide range of areas including tall buildings and open land.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England London (CPRE London) said they would be challenging Ealing Council’s draft plans which they claim will remove protections from parks.

According to CPRE London, Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) sites, which have the same level of protection as Green Belt, including Acton Park, will lose their protection completely.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS in 2023, Alice Roberts, head of campaigns at CPRE London said: “It is unprecedented for a borough to seek to remove official Metropolitan Open Land protection – which gives the sites the same protection as Green Belt – from vast areas of land – eight large sites in fact. These sites are nearly all in constant use for recreation or sports or as parks and it’s vital the protections remain in place for future generations. Some small parts of these sites may have gone out of use but the answer to this is to work with local sports clubs and wildlife groups bring them back into use or create critical habitat to tackle the nature crisis, not to exclaim that they no longer need to be protected.”

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan raised concerns over many parts of Ealing Council’s proposed 15 year local plan when first shown the draft and called parts of it “inappropriate” as well as highlighting concern over the council’s “proposed approach towards its Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land.”

The Mayor also sought Ealing Council to be clearer on tall buildings and said: “The draft Plan does not clearly identify areas it considers suitable for tall buildings in a single map”.

Full details of the council’s new draft local plan will be unveiled on 21 January 2024 during a full council meeting and will also be uploaded to its website.

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