West Ealing residents and campaigners are up in arms over retail giant John Lewis Partnership (JLP) plans to redevelop its Waitrose West Ealing store with towers and are calling on Ealing Council and its leader Councillor Peter Mason “not be entertaining any application for the West Ealing Waitrose site which exceeds the draft local plan height limits of 7-13 storeys”.
They have also raised concerns over the summer timing of the submitted application to Ealing Council and are asking for the deadline to be extended.
Campaigners and locals against high-rise builds had previously voiced their anger 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.
Ealing campaigning group, Stop The Towers (STT), raised concerns over the John Lewis Partnership plans for the site which would be ready to move into during 2027 if it gets approval.
Currently, 38 comments opposed it while 2 support it. To view the John Lewis application, click here and enter the reference number 233076FUL.
Campaigners from STT say that the application “fails to resolve any of the concerns about the development raised by local residents and Ealing Council during the public consultation phase.”
Among the concerns is John Lewis not following guidance from Ealing Council’s Local Plan which indicates the site is suitable for buildings to a maximum height of 13 storeys – John Lewis proposal is for 19 storeys.
In a letter to Ealing Council and to its leader Councillor Peter Mason, STT highlighted a number of concerns about the proposal and also timescales with it.
“You were very clear (tweet dated 27h February 2023) that Ealing Council would not be bullied by JLP into accepting buildings higher than stipulated in the local plan. You also made a pre-election promise to clamp down on towers in the borough.
“JLP’s planning application includes buildings considerably taller than Ealing Council’s site-specific guidance of 7-13 storeys. JLP’s plans exceed this guidance by over a third.
“Can you now reassure the many concerned local residents and supporters of Stop the Towers that Ealing Council will not be entertaining any application for the West Ealing Waitrose site.
“The JLP application includes the demolition of the current Waitrose building, which is less than 18 years old. This is contrary to Ealing Council’s recently announced policy on sustainability, which favours refurbishing existing buildings over redevelopment. Please reassure us that you are going to stand up for this policy also.
Residents also raised concern over the timing of the application.
STT said: “JLP has also behaved evasively by submitting its application on 4th August during the summer holiday period and then delaying the wider communication of the submission, with the public only advised through a leaflet drop on 19th August. This has left residents with a mere 13 days until the closure of the consultation period on 31st August to review and respond to the application comprising 190 documents.
In its letter to Councillor Mason, STT added: “We are disappointed that JLP has chosen the height of the summer holiday period to quietly submit this application. Will you support our request that the deadline for public comments on this application be extended to allow the many people otherwise engaged during this holiday time to comment?”
Justine Sullivan, co-Chair of Stop the Towers said: “The arrogance of John Lewis Partnership around its intention to overdevelop the West Ealing Waitrose site is breathtaking. JLP has ignored local community opposition to their excessive plans and ridden roughshod over Ealing Council’s guidance for the site.”
Ms Sullivan added: “Residents of West Ealing support appropriate and proportionate developments that will genuinely benefit the local community but JLP’s current plans will not deliver this. Unfortunately the company is behaving like the most rapacious of developers, ignoring the needs of the local community and disregarding democratically implemented local plans in a desperate attempt to plug the losses of its core retail business.”
Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Ealing Green Party chair Neil Reynolds voiced his concerns: “Making the application in August so the consultation over the holiday period is a cynical ploy, and it should be extended.”
He added: “Although the site is well positioned for much needed homes the plans propose blocks that are far too high. The council should firmly oppose the scale of this development.”
EALING.NEWS reached out to John Lewis for a comment.