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John Lewis planning appeal to Ealing Council over its West Ealing towers housing development

Retail giant John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has said it will be making a planning appeal to Ealing Council in order for a decision to be made on its application to convert its existing Waitrose in West Ealing into a new store with 428 homes to be built and offered for rent.

Campaigners against high-rise builds had previously raised their concerns over the development which includes four buildings – 19 storey, 17 storey, 15 story and 10 storey as well as a number of mews homes built around them.

Locals had also voiced objections to the plans with a consultation ending on 6 October 2023 showing that 96% of those responding were against it. Of 653 responses 630 objected and only 16 were in favour.

In a statement, John Lewis said that its appeal “is on the grounds of a ‘non-determination’, meaning the application, which was submitted nearly a year ago and is still being reviewed by Ealing Council, will now be considered by a planning inspector.”

Katherine Russell, director of build-to-rent at JLP, said: “We have taken the decision to appeal for non-determination of our planning application to build new rental homes nearly one year on from first submitting it to Ealing Council.  Our proposals will create hundreds of homes at a time when all political parties agree there’s a desperate need for more housing and local investment to spur economic growth, with a priority on brownfield land. “

Ms Russell addded: “An appeal is not something we take lightly, however, we believe we have strong grounds to be successful given the opportunity to transform an under-used brownfield site close to the publicly-funded Crossrail station with new homes and investment that will benefit the wider community.”

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, an Ealing Council spokesperson said: “The council has consistently raised a number of concerns with this application and the applicant has previously been keen to extend time for determination while dialogue continued to see if those concerns could be addressed.”

The spokesperson added: “It is extremely disappointing that they now seem to have decided to appeal non-determination rather than wait for a local decision. Up until this morning our understanding was that they were considering amendments to address our concerns.”

During the initial consultation process in 2023 for the development, Ealing Council Leader Councillor Peter Mason took to Twitter and commented: “… at the moment it feels like a big institution are trying to twist arms & bully through a scheme, that could be far better, through a precarious planning process using the ever present threat of an appeal.”

Councillor Mason also criticised the height of the buildings. He added: “Our recently published new Local Plan sets out very clear guidance on a range of sites that we believe will be developed over the next decade. The guidance here was for a 7 – 13 storey development. I’m certain that this will still be too big for some.”

James Dunne, head of operational real estate at abrdn, which has a £500m joint venture with JLP commented: “We remain fully committed to our strategy of creating thousands of critically needed quality rental homes alongside John Lewis Partnership and look forward to the outcome of the ongoing due process in West Ealing.”

John Lewis Partnership said of the homes being built that “many of which would be affordable and targeted at key public sector workers such as nurses or teachers. Our ambition is that 35% of the properties are affordable housing with a focus on provision for key workers.”



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