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“Misleading residents” appear on Ealing Council website announcing “big support for regional park”

Ealing Council has been accused of “misleading residents” after a photograph showing a large group of people under the headline “Big support for ‘game-changing’ regional park” appeared on the council’s website. 

The image, which was not taken in Ealing, has been revealed as staff from Prior + Partners, a firm of architects the Labour-run council has appointed “to help the council develop more detailed plans for the regional park”. 

The photograph along with the council story on its Around Ealing site says: “Residents have given Ealing Council the thumbs up for a new regional park in the borough. It is hoped it could prove to be as transformative for west London as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has been for east London.”

But according to locals and using a Google reverse image search, the photograph that appeared is actually a team photograph Prior+Partners uses to promote itself as an employee on the careers page of its website.

Ealing Council said that following its consultation on the plan, which ran from 31 October 2023 to 19 December 2023, “more than 6,000 people took part and shared their views” and “more than 77% supporting it”. It also revealed: “There was also strong backing for a new outdoor cultural venue in the park, with more than 73% giving this their seal of approval.”

The council added that “detailed analysis of all the responses is under way and will be shared with residents shortly.”

Commenting on the photograph featuring Prior + Partners workers, an Ealing Council spokesperson told EALING.NEWS: “In relation to the image used in the referenced article, the article is not only mentioning overall consultation findings, but also announcing that we have appointed consultants to help us develop plans for the new regional park. So the header image of the story naturally is the team we have appointed, which is mentioned in the alternative text of the image on AroundEaling.com.”

Following a call from EALING.NEWS to Ealing Council, the story now says at the end of the article: “Image description: A group photo of the team at Prior + Partners”.

Local people, opposition parties and campaigners have raised their concerns about council plans for a regional park which include closing Perivale Park Golf Course as well as the recent image used by the council of Prior + Partners workers.

Neil Reynolds, chair of Ealing Green Party told EALING.NEWS: “The image used is misleading. Whether intentional or not the council should replace it. Perhaps they could use a group of people who enthusiastically support it, if indeed they exist. It raises the question of why it was used in the first place.”

On X (formerly known as Twitter), residents expressed their concerns.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Councillor Gary Malcolm leader of Ealing Liberal Democrats said: “Liberal Democrats in Ealing want to see a regional park but it is a shame that the council seems so pig headed in its view that a regional park in Ealing should not include existing facilities such as the Perivale golf course.”

Councillor Malcolm added: “When a resource like the golf club is to be killed off it shows they are not listening to many of its residents. You can have a regional park and a golf club within it.”

Mr Reynolds added his concerns about closing the golf course. He said: “I do not understand properly the logic for closing the golf course because the proposals to replace it are so vague. It’s not clear what the environmental or recreational benefits are. The council should make its case transparent so residents can properly be consulted.”

Another issue raised about the feasibility of a regional park is over how Ealing’s flood defences could be impacted. The Brent River & Canal Society has previously voiced its concerns and told the council not to build on the Brent flood plan.

Steven Toft, trustee for Brent River & Canal Society told EALING.NEWS: “The Brent River & Canal Society is in favour of a regional park in principle, with the caveat that nothing should be built on the Brent flood plain as this would increase the risk of flooding. The Brent River Park is a critical component of Ealing’s flood defences.”

Brent Valley Golf Course. Photo: Brent River & Canal Society
Brent Valley Golf Course prevents flooding. Photo: Brent River & Canal Society/Phil Alford

“The parkland between Hanger Lane and the Wharncliffe Viaduct regularly floods after heavy rain. That is what it is supposed to do. It acts like a giant natural sponge. It absorbs and retains the surge of water that would otherwise swell the river and cause problems for homes and businesses. For this reason, BRCS will resist any reduction in flood plain volume or new hard-standing in the park.”

“The council is in early stages and hasn’t put forward any specific proposals yet. We can’t say much more until we know what it is the council is planning to do. It’s worth noting that Ealing Council stated years ago that the Brent River Park acts as a Regional Park.”

“With our park’s 50th Anniversary coming up in 2025 we would like to see Ealing Council go even bigger and give the whole of the Brent River Park Regional Park status, not just the bit they perhaps wish to rewild and/or build on. We are looking forward to working with Ealing Council on this proposal as it progresses. Anything that benefits the Brent River Park, wildlife and community has the potential to be truly fantastic.”

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