Ealing Council has deferred the decision to demolish Perceval House and replace it with 26 storeys of high-rise flats following Rupa Huq MP’s intervention at a virtual meeting of the Planning Committee last night (17 February).
Councillors voted 7-6 to require changes to be made to the scheme to improve the housing mix after two hours of debate.
The decision was made after concerns were raised regarding the lack of affordable housing, and the limited number of units suitable for families. Only 7 out of 477 flats would be three-bedroom.
Among those who spoke in opposition to the proposed redevelopment — which has received almost 1400 objections on the Council’s website — were Fiona Brown, a local resident, and Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq.
In a rare five-minute address to Councillors, the MP said: “Let’s fix this now. Let’s ensure that we can say to our children we did everything possible, not just conform to the bare minimum for a developer who wanted to turn a quick profit before getting out and leaving us to deal with the fallout.”
She added that Ealing Council’s Design Review Panel (DRP), which convenes in two weeks’ time to adjudicate on future planning applications, should have the opportunity to scrutinise the proposals before any final decision is made.
After the meeting, Huq told us: “I am delighted by the decision to defer. I simply could not stand to allow this 26-storey monster tower, so ill-suited to Ealing’s housing needs, to be waived through. It’s a proposal that was dreamt up pre-Covid by a greedy commercial developer, which is now completely inappropriate to future market demands when we are all told we face a new normal.
“The Council must insist on housing that tackles the spiralling number of working families on the housing waiting list — over 10,000 at the last count. It must insist on the very best fire safety practice. These blocks need two fire escapes — it’s not a legal requirement, but post-Grenfell it’s clearly the right thing to do.
“We now have the chance to rectify these problems, and draw upon the expertise of the architectural experts that will sit on the Design Review Panel. I am clear that if these issues aren’t addressed, then the Planning Committee must reject the application.”
The Ealing Stop The Towers group also made representations against the proposal, pointing out that the main tower would be as high as New York’s Statue of Liberty. They also claimed that, with vacant units in the nearby Dickens Yard development, the financial case for the scheme may be unsound.
Stop the Towers had asked for a second resident to speak but this application was rejected.
The planning reference is 203275FULR3.