Ealing residents have protested today (15 October 2022) to Ealing planning committee councillors and officers as they visited historic Twyford Abbey in West Twyford to see the site where Clarion Housing is proposing to build 326 flats spread across the site in seven blocks.
Councillors from the planning committee and other Ealing officers inspected the more than 1000 year old Twyford Abbey and site which mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book and were greeted by scores of protesters both young and old.
Ealing residents are objecting to a proposal from Clarion Housing that would see the historic Twyford Abbey site located in West Twyford being built on with 326 flats spread across the site in seven blocks. The more than 1000 year old Twyford Abbey and site is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book.
Clarion says in its plans that “Our vision is to open up the Twyford Abbey grounds to the public for the first time, providing access to previously closed off parkland and delivering much needed housing to the area”. It claims that 36% of the housing built will include 36% “genuinely affordable homes” and that the Abbey building will be saved. “Our aim is to preserve this rich history and restore the Abbey to its former glory.”
The proposals for the development will be discussed at a Ealing Council planning committee meeting at Ealing Town Hall on 19 October 2022 and residents and local Hanger Hill Liberal Democrat Councillor Athena Zissimos and Conservative Councillors Fabio Conti and Gregory Stafford have voiced their concerns along with Ealing Central and Acton MP Dr Rupa Huq.
On Ealing Council planning application proposals, out of 247 comments received (as of 14 October 2022), 240 have objected to it.
Robin Chambers, who has lived in his house near to Twyford Abbey since 1982 wrote in his objection and has shared with EALING.NEWS what will be lost if the plans are approved. He sent photos of his garden to EALING.NEWS and said: “All the trees will be felled and the woods behind Brentmead Gardens. We will have a road running at the bottom of our garden with 24/7 traffic.”
In his letter to oppose the development, Mr Chambers said:
“I strongly OBJECT to Clarion Housing proposed huge housing development in the grounds of Historic Twyford Abbey, which has existed from the 11th century and mentioned in the Doomsday book of 1086. When we moved into our house in 1982, cows grazed in the field at the bottom of our gardens.
“If planning permission is granted, 150 trees with TPO and woods will be destroyed, also the wild life. Bats foxes etc., we will get bricks and mortar, more pollution.
“The residents in Iveagh Avenue will have 6 storey apartment blocks 30 metres from the back of our houses. A road will run along the bottom of our gardens, with traffic 24 hours a day. The noise and fumes, the loss of privacy, as people will be able to look into our bedroom/kitchens, etc., how can we enjoy our gardens??? The site has a FLOOD ZONE, in the north field where the apartment blocks are proposed. Where is the water going to go?? Straight onto our properties.
“With balconies drying washing, storing furniture, music blaring out etc. Loss of sun/light. Loss of oak. Horse chestnut and many other very old trees.
“West Twyford is SATURATED WITH high rise developments, houses are not needed in West Twyford.
“Ealing councils own logo is an Oak Tree, and you have a department promoting planting of trees, preserving open spaces. Letting grass grow etc., The Grounds of Twyford Abbey are the lungs of the area, helping with the pollution and noise from the NCR. The Grounds are M O L, and cannot be built on, and all previous housing developments have be TURNED DOWN, and NOT APPROVED.
“The site is of significant importance of Nature Conversation, and Ealing describes the site as Green Space with Heritage Status.
“Traffic congestion from the site will add to the already congested Twyford Abbey Road.
“Ealing Planners and council officers, please think deeply. And see what the impact will have on West Twyford if you approve it. West Twyfordwill be no more, you WILL HAVE KILLED OFF A HERITAGE WHICH HAS BEEN HERE SINCE 1086.
“I invite you to come and view the North Field from my house, and see for yourselves, the beauty of the trees, peace and quiet, lovely grounds. This environment will all go to the bulldozers, trees, woods, wildlife. The residents will be faced with walls of bricks and concrete.
“DO NOT APPROVE THIS PLANNING APPLICATION, Clarion housing has a very bad reputation, with residents living in very poor conditions, and have been summoned before parliament.”
Local resident Jean-Paul Beaini raised his objection:
“West Twyford residents (including the primary school which is directly adjacent to the site) are very concerned about the environmental impact and the sheer scale of the development. 330 new homes and 150 new parking will overwhelm local amenities and the destruction of seven acres of woodland will damage local ecology, air quality and wildlife.
“The London Borough of Ealing’s current development strategy states that ‘plans for building much needed housing and other development will not mean building on green space’ so we cannot understand how the planners have recommended that this development proceeds.”
Liberal Democrat Councillor Athena Zissimos, who represents the Hanger Hill area has spoken out for the residents. She said:
“West Twyford is a disadvantaged patch of Ealing crammed between the A40, the North Circular, the Park Royal Industrial Estate, and the new Lakeside development. Twyford Abbey and its seven acres of continuous woodland are the lifeline of the residents, its lungs, its only open space, designated metropolitan open land, it is quiet and peaceful. It has tree preservation orders (TPOs) on its trees, there are bats, there are birds, even if the residents themselves have no access, they know it is there, the trees are overheard, and the air is a little bit less polluted.
“West Twyford Abbey and its surroundings have existed in some form or other since the 11th Century when it was mentioned in the Domesday Book. There has been a church and a manor house within the seven-acre grounds since the 13th century. The question is whether Twyford Abbey and its surroundings worth preserving?
“Liberal Democrats say that all around West Twyford there have been major redevelopments, Lakeside Drive, and now Hanger Lane Gyratory development. Nearly 2000 new homes have been built or are planning to be built in the immediate vicinity.
“This is to be swept away. To give residents direct access to the ground of the Abbey the price to pay is 326 flats. Is it a price worth paying? The development is before the Planning Committee on Ealing Council on the 19th October, let us hope the planning committee, makes the right decision.
“In the quest for more housing, we are on the brink of forgetting that maybe that there are more important things. The environment and the beleaguered existing residents. Let us see whether the Labour-run Planning Committee do the right thing.”
Hanger Hill Conservative Councillors Fabio Conti and Gregory Stafford have voiced their concerns:
“Ever since plans for this development came to light last year, we have been working closely with local residents to oppose the proposal including attending meetings between residents and the developer to raise objections. We will be speaking against the proposal at the planning committee next week. Not only is the scale of the proposals unacceptable, 326 units up to six stories high, but it is the removal 150 trees including an area of woodland that are all meant to be protected which really demonstrates what a shocking plan this is. It completely goes against Ealing Council’s own commitments to rewild and regrow our borough, at a time where we need to be protecting our green spaces, this development will instead develop on the final green space left in West Twyford.”
Ealing Central and Acton MP Dr Rupa Huq has also written to the planning committee to ask them to reject the proposal:
“I am unconvinced that this proposal represents the best possible long-term, sustainable and sensitive solution for the future of the Twyford Abbey site that would safeguard the heritage and biodiversity of the site and provide real benefits to the Abbey’s neighbours. Along with local residents, I believe this application represents gross over-development of a sensitive site, which should be rejected.”
In its comment on the application, Ealing Civic Society said they see “no overwhelming reasons” for refusal of the application:
“While it is regrettable that many features of the Abbey building have been lost, we are supportive of its sympathetic restoration and consider its conversion to high quality residential apartments to be appropriate. We consider that the style of the replacement infill entrance is out-of-keeping but accept that this is intended to distinguish the new-build from the original. We also welcome the approach taken to the design of the new-build blocks, taking inspiration from features of the Abbey architecture, although we have suggested the incorporation of more such features to add interest.
“We are aware of local concerns around the loss of green space designated as Metropolitan Open Land and would generally resist this. However, we accept that in this case, the opening up of the space to public access, retention of the walled garden and ‘cottage’ building and the bringing back into use of a listed building at risk contribute to special circumstances under which the benefits of the proposals may outweigh the loss of MOL.
“We also recognise local concerns regarding traffic problems and the lack of local infrastructure to support new residents. These matters are common to many proposed developments in the Borough and have been extensively covered by other objectors so we do not address them here.
Overall, we consider that the proposals represent an improvement over earlier proposals for school development and see no overwhelming reasons why they should be refused.”
Another objection said:
“The area is already over build in recent years and the green space needed for locals. the traffic in the area would also be worsen adding to air pollution and making the life even more difficult for current residents. there would be more strain on current public facilities.
Considering the area is one of most polluted areas local council should look into improve the area rather adding another 300 flats to already populated area. reducing the green space is also going to degrade the air quality.
overall I think it is a unthoughtful idea and local council should stop the plans.”
The Ealing Council planning committee will be meeting from 7pm at Council Chamber, Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, Ealing W5 2BY