Ealing Central and Acton MP Dr Rupa Huq has written to Ealing Council planning committee members raising her concerns that a planning application for redevelopment of the 1930s East Acton Arcade, used by a snooker hall and other retail, into a hotel will be damaging for local people and the businesses that are based in it.
As well as London Snooker, which has 21 pool and snooker tables and is open from 10am to 2am 7 days a week, the site is also home to Al Manara Butchery, King Kebab and Eye Spy Opticians.
In a public consultation that has been running since earlier this year, 88 people have raised objections to the plans from Kaz Investments Ltd with Ealing Council on its website in advance of the planning meeting on Wednesday (17 August 2022) .
According to Kaz Investments Ltd plans, first submitted by its agent Avison Young in January 2022, the planned hotel will be 5 storeys high and contain 129 rooms and on 3 August 2022, Kaz Investments, through its agent submitted a briefing note. It claims that more than £500,000 a year in revenue will be generated to local businesses through hotel residents eating, drinking and using services in the area once the hotel is up and running. It also says it will create 40 jobs at the hotel.
In her letter to Ealing Council planning committee members, Dr Huq said: “I cannot support this development as vibrant businesses within the existing structure who have spent decades building themselves up there face an uncertain future. They have not been given any assurance of where they can relocate to.”
She added: “If the council were to assist the businesses, this could be a much more attractive proposal. While I accept that the building is not the most flashy or modern, within it there is a well-loved optician with 3000 registered customers and a snooker hall which has unique types of tables unavailable anywhere else in London. Let’s not throw them under the bus in our haste.”
Existing business Eye Spy Opticians also raised its concerns: “We are the only opticians here for the local community. We have 3000 patients, ranging from the elderly to children. We were at first led to believe that we could carry on as an opticians, and the shops will stay. But later on plans were completely changed. Our shop is in ideal place, due to parking accessibility, we have elderly and disabled patients come without difficulty. Where will they all go now? The snooker club is a place for local people to come and socialise. I hope the council reconsiders the proposal and acts with the community as its priority. I don’t think the community is going to benefit from a hotel.”
In February 2022, Ealing Civic Society said: “Ealing Civic Society objects to this application. We regret the proposed loss of the existing building which, in its original state, would have been worthy of consideration for local listing and which retains a facade that could be restored to its original form. In addition, the loss of daylight to nos. 1 and 3 Brassie Avenue, due to the proposed construction, would be unacceptable. This would result from the increased height and massing of the planned building. We note that a partial history of the existing building has been identified but a full history is not known. If the Council is minded to approve this application, we recommend that a condition is included requiring detailed historical research to be carried out on the original building and recorded in the Ealing archives.”
In its application, Kaz Investments Ltd says it would offer space to existing businesses within the new development.
But those existing businesses fear they will not have the same space they currently have and the rent they pay would be more.