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Locals concerned over John Lewis plans to build up to 19 storey high apartment blocks on Waitrose West Ealing site

Retailer John Lewis Partnership which owns supermarket chain Waitrose, is facing local anger over its plans to redevelop its Waitrose West Ealing site into a development which includes three blocks of apartments up to 19 storeys high.

Last summer, the retail giant announced its plans to build on the site and held a public consultation for its homes for rent proposal.

Waitrose West Ealing
Waitrose West Ealing. Photo: Google Maps

At the time, Nina Bhatia, executive director for strategy and commercial development at the John Lewis Partnership said: “Everything people love about our brand – quality, trust and service – we want to bring to the experience of renting a home with us. Our role as developer and operator, as well as an already established local business and employer, signals our ambition to bring long-term value to each of these communities.”

Following this, it is now providing local residents with an update on its plans today from 4pm-8pm (23 February 2023) and Saturday from 10am to 2pm (25 February 2023) at West Ealing Community Library in Melbourne Ave, W13. It says they will be there to talk to locals about its proposals and answer questions.

From 11am today (23 February 2023), John Lewis will be updating its website with the new proposals which will show more details of the development which will could offer up 500 homes on the site as well as a modernised Waitrose and other local facilities.

Ealing campaigning group, Stop The Towers (STT), had previously raised concern that John Lewis Partnership may be looking to build a 20 storey plus tower building as part of its plans to offer homes on the site which would be ready to move in 2027.





Proposed John Lewis development for Waitrose in West Ealing
Proposed John Lewis development for Waitrose in West Ealing

STT had an opportunity to meet with John Lewis along with Ealing North MP James Murray yesterday (22 February 2023).

According to STT, they say John Lewis is:  “ignoring both public feedback to their initial consultation, and totally disregarding the site-specific guidance, by planning three tower blocks of up to 19 storeys. The site-specific guidance for that site in the Draft Local Plan is 9-13 storeys, which is still taller than the current cluster of up to 10 storeys in that area. The proposals will dwarf the neighbouring streets, and as STT suspected, will use the controversial (and as yet un-started) Manor Road tower to justify the height.”

The local campaign group was also told by John Lewis that the retailer had been discussing these plans with Ealing Council for the past 18 months.

Justine Sullivan, co-chair of STT said: “Why has Ealing Council been talking with John Lewis about these plans since 2021, but not insisted John Lewis stick to Ealing’s own draft local plan? Now is the time for Peter Mason (Leader of Ealing Council) to stick to his election promises and ‘clamp down on tall towers’. Surely he’s not going to sit there and do nothing and let developers tell him his plan has no weight.”

EALING.NEWS spoke to a John Lewis spokesperson who answered the following questions:

Why has John Lewis given very little notice to local people about the public exhibition? When were local people notified about the exhibition
and how have they been informed?
Information flyers were sent on 8 February 2023 to more than 15,000 addresses around the site to land on doorsteps around 10 February 2023. We also emailed local community and amenity groups as well as elected representatives on the 10 February 2023 to raise awareness. We updated the consultation website with a pop-up informing anyone that visited that a new round of consultation would commence on 23 February 2023. In addition to the public exhibition, all the materials will be online from 11am today and open to comment from 23 February 2023 until 13 March 2023.

It appears there are three tower blocks of up to 19 storeys. Can you confirm that and also are there two staircases in each block or just one
staircase in each block.
We are proposing mews style homes which are ground floor plus two and ground floor plus four storeys then four buildings comprising ground floor plus ten storeys, ground floor plus 15 storeys, ground floor plus 17 storeys and ground floor plus 19 storeys. We do have two staircases in the four tallest blocks (not in the mews as they are below the height threshold). All our buildings over seven storeys or 18m have two staircases.

Previously in the draft it mentioned 9-13 storeys, why has this changed? According to one source, John Lewis has been talking to Ealing Council for the past 18 months, is John Lewis aware that Ealing Council has said it would be against tall towers?
The heights of the proposals are defined by the existing and emerging context neighbouring the site, including 55 West being constructed at ground floor plus 19 storeys and Green Man Estate at ground floor plus 15 storeys. The buildings would be staggered back from Alexandra Road so the taller buildings are located as far back as possible towards the railway line with the tallest building located towards the east of the site i.e. towards the Elizabeth Station, 55 West and Luminosity Court.  Our analysis supports the heights proposed and we are engaging with the Local Plan process.

Ealing’s adopted Local Plan sets out a target of delivering 14,000 new homes over 14 years  (2012 – 2026) within the borough. However, the London Plan for Ealing targets 21,570 homes by 2029 so 2,157 homes per year.

London Planning policy also directs new homes to be built in easily accessible and sustainable locations like this with  great access to nearby amenities and local transport links, such as the neighbouring Elizabeth Line Crossrail Station.

The size of the existing site allows the store to be redeveloped to provide a significantly improved shop while retaining a temporary shop for continuation of trade during construction.

By making better use of an already developed site, we can deliver much-needed new housing, both private and affordable, for the local area as well as improved public realm and facilities.

Many residents feel John Lewis is not listening to them and the needs of the local community with how this development is now looking. What does John Lewis say to this and will you make changes based on resident feedback? Will you reduce the height of these blocks to how you originally presented the idea?
This is very much an evolving design – we introduced the idea of rental homes last summer so this is the first time we are sharing  more detailed proposals. Our analysis supports the heights we are proposing, however these consultations are designed to give local people every opportunity to share their views to help shape our plans. 

EALING.NEWS asked Ealing Council for a comment on its talks with John Lewis. A spokesperson for Ealing Council told EALING.NEWS: “The consultation began yesterday, and the public are invited and encouraged to share their thoughts on the John Lewis’s proposals for the site by visiting Waitrose West Ealing.”

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