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Twelve Ealing Labour and Lib Dem councillors slammed for approving North Acton tall towers

Twelve Ealing Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors have been denounced by residents and opposition parties for approving a housing development that consists of buildings up to 17 storeys high on a site located by Horn Lane and the A40 Western Avenue.

Barratt London, part of Barratt Developments, was given Ealing Council planning committee approval last night to build Cloister Corner which will contain 300 homes on six buildings ranging in size from two storeys through to 17 storeys.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Councillor Gregory Stafford, who was the only councillor on the planning committee to say no said: “I sat on the planning committee last night and was the only member to vote against the scheme. Labour and Lib Dems continued with their campaign to force inappropriate tower blocks on residents across the Borough.”

Councillors who voted For the development:
Ealing Labour: Cllr L Brett. Cllr T Mahmood, Cllr D Martin, Cllr S Padda, Cllr R Wall, Cllr M Hamidi, Cllr A Kelly, Cllr S Khan, Cllr S Kohli, Cllr G Shaw, Cllr M Rice
Ealing Liberal Democrat: Cllr G Busuttil

Ealing Conservatives: Cllr G Stafford

The approval of the scheme comes despite local residents raising their objections both on the application website as well as holding a protest outside the planned housing development last Sunday (2 April 2023).

A further protest took place last night before the planning committee meeting.

Sheela Selvajothy, chair of the West Acton Residents Association said: “The application for the development at Cloister Corner was granted planning consent. This was a disappointing result, but not unexpected.”

Ms Selvajothy added: “In the three minutes allowed for an opponent to speak, Caroline (WARA member from Court Way) made the point clearly that this is not a site either designated or suitable for tall buildings. North Acton ward Councillor, Dan Crawford, made an excellent speech in opposition to the application. Unfortunately, only one member of the Committee, Cllr Gregory Stafford (Cons), spoke out against the application. Most of the other committee members either raised minor points or appeared to be disinterested. The only animation shown by several of the committee was to raise their hands to vote.”

View the full planning committee meeting below including North Acton Councillor Daniel Crawford speaking out against the development



Councillor Stafford told EALING.NEWS that the proposal goes against local plans. “The proposal was not in line with the current local plan or the proposed new local plan. The councils own design review panel and the GLA had concerns about the height and the police were not happy with the access proposal.

He added: “But the height and massing of the buildings should have been enough to reject the application. Any sensible person would see that building 16 storey tower blocks only 20 metres from normal two story houses is inappropriate. Residents have once again been let down by Labour and the Lib Dems in Ealing.”

Planning officers from Labour-run Ealing Council had previously recommended that the application should be approved.

They said: “It is considered the proposal will result in the effective and efficient use of this long neglected brownfield site bringing forward a wide range of high-quality residential dwellings included a high proportion of affordable homes. The scheme will result in a different scale of development but has been carefully designed to respond positively to the existing neighbourhood whilst providing an appropriate transition between the scale of development within the Opportunity Area and that within the surrounding roads to the south and west.

“The proposals have been subject of rigorous pre-application discussions and the design has evolved following feedback from the GLA and the Council’s Design and Community Review Panels. The proposals will cause some impact, but these are negligible given the urban setting of the application site and will not lead to any significant harm to existing living conditions. The proposed development includes a range of housing types all of which are to be built to a high standard meeting and exceeding policy requirements.

“The report concludes that the proposals would be acceptable and would accord with relevant National, Strategic and Local Planning policies and guidance and planning permission could reasonably be granted in this case.”

Residents fear the development will impact their lives negatively.

Speaking previously to EALING.NEWS, Melisa who lives in Cloister Road said her quiet residential cul-de-sac will be ruined: “I am next to the wall where they’re going to build a whole site. I mean, that’s my house next to it. I’m going to be losing between 25 and 30% of my light in the kitchen, in my bathrooms and in my area. This is a residential area. This is not designed for tall buildings. And if you can see Ealing Council talking about the green corridor, what does it mean the green corridor? All you see around this is a concrete jungle.

“Cloister Road is a really narrow road and we already have a specific problem with the parking spaces. This is currently a dead end and they want to open it. It is a safe place for children. There is no need for another road to be open. We want our cul de sac to be safe. So children can play. We have a little community and this will be lost.”

Melisa said she is not against new homes, but is against homes which do not suit the area and the impact they will cause. “I am not against building new homes. They have to be built according to what is in the surroundings. This is a residential area.  They can build housing here which can include houses and low rise flats. There is a development on the other side which is respectful of the area. We are quite happy with that we are not against it. It’s the height that Barratt London are proposing that we are against. This is just like another concrete jungle.”

Another resident, Ron, expressed his concerns that there isn’t the community infrastructure to support it. He told EALING.NEWS: “It’s been a mission creep situation slowly getting surrounded by massive mega ghetto towers. And it’s got to stop. It’s already impossible to get a GP appointment. There are no improvements to the improvement to infrastructure and it’s overcrowding. This is not appropriate for this location.”

In its application Barratt London says it plans to build 300 homes on six buildings ranging in size from two storeys through to 17 storeys.

Local resident Ryan also raised his concerns. He told EALING.NEWS: “We live in an area where we will have a tall towert literally peering into pretty much our garden. We also need infrastructure facilities for people to be able to do go about their day to day life, and there isn’t the infrastructure here for this.”

Protest banners against Cloister Close
Protest banners against Cloister Close

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Ealing Green Party chair Neil Reynolds said: “There is a housing crisis, and the Green Party supports the use of brownfield sites in particular to deal with this. Councillor Crawford is right to share his residents concerns however, 17 stories seems excessive.”

A spokesperson for Cap The Towers which has been raising awareness regarding a large development in nearby Friary Park said: “Cap the Towers has been appalled to see what is being planned at so-called Cloister Corner.  Ealing Council is incapable of understanding the elementary planning argument that tall buildings should not be placed in the heart of a suburb of two or three storey houses.  The residents in the streets surrounding North Acton Playing Fields already have the most grotesque heights bearing down on them from the north and in the south the great cluster of 7 ugly towers that is Friary Park have begun to emerge.”

They added: “Now to add insult to massive injury, they are to have towers even closer.  This part of Acton will be hideously overpopulated and that will be just as miserable for all those who find new homes here as it will be for all of us.  Well done Ealing Council.”

A previous application by another development company was approved in January 2018 to build 149 homes in buildings ranging from three to nine storeys. At the time there were only a handful of comments raised but now with the new application from Barratt London which bought the land in 2021, 54 members of the public have raised objections.

These include:

“In keeping with the local development and houses on Cloister Road, the proposed constructions should not go beyond 4 storeys. Anymore and it is not in keeping with local residential developments on this side of the A40 and will impact local residents in terms of garden and property privacy. The new proposal of building from 3 to 17 stories is excessive and overdeveloped. This area is not suitable for tall buildings. The proposal does not meet policies in Ealing’s Local Plan or the London Plan.”

“This site is not suitable for a 17 storey building! This is surrounded by 1920s two storey houses, this will block light into surrounding homes and will look completely our of place. The site is not one that is identified as suitable for tall buildings, there are clear reasons for that.
Overdevelopment in the area has put a severe strain on electricity provision, sewage system, and local services. There is not enough green space for the development and the local ‘park’ (actually sports fields), North Acton Playing fields, is crowded over weekends as it is.”

“The proposal for the buildings will impact the residents in cloister road greatly. The majority of the housing is two storey and these buildings are not in keeping with the suburban area. The privacy of the local residents has not been considered and these tall buildings overlook many of their gardens and homes.”

“This development as proposed is completely out of character with the surrounding streets, mainly on the grounds of excessive height, which will be a jarring contrast with the surrounding streets which are mainly of 2 storey houses. It will also put an unfair stress on the local G.P. surgery in Cloister road. The plans do not appear to have enough access for multiple fire engines and the other emergency vehicles that would be necessary in the event of a fire.”

EALING.NEWS approached Barratt London for a comment previously but was told “we can’t help with comment on this occasion”.

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