The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is set to make a key decision on Ealing Council’s Perceval House scheme next Monday (24 May).
Campaigners opposed to the scheme are urging him to ‘call in’ the scheme as they are concerned that the decision is being rushed through and there has been insufficient time for people to lodge objections after the recent elections. Calling in would allow the scheme to considered at a public hearing.
The controversial plan to redevelop the council’s offices, which includes the construction of a 26-storey tower block, if not overturned by the Mayor would be passed onto Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick MP for the final stage of the application.
The meeting to consider the application was originally due to take place on Monday 17 May, but Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq called for it to be delayed to allow residents more time to register their objections, resulting in a week’s delay.
She said, “The impact of this hugely controversial plan will change the face of Ealing, Queen of the Suburbs, forever. Many residents are blissfully unaware of the 477 mostly-private sale flats, 10,000 square feet of offices, and inevitably more unlet shops which have not been consulted upon since way before Covid-19 hit. This proposal gambles away heritage public land which belongs to us all.
“I urge the Mayor to reject the hideous Perceval House redevelopment plans – they’re are a hugely inappropriate densification of what is a relatively small site. I understand Sadiq recently turned down a Lambeth Council approved planning decision for a similar tower in Brixton due to overwhelming public opposition. I hope that local residents in Ealing make their voices heard ahead of the review so the same can be done with the Perceval House scheme, which should have been strangled at birth.”
The MP has created a video about the scheme which is shown below.
The review will come less than a week after the new Leader of Ealing Council, Cllr Peter Mason, will have been in post. He is due to be confirmed in the position at the council’s AGM on Tuesday (18 May).
Opponents to the plans are outraged at the decision to refer the application to the Mayor so soon after the local elections.
Will French, chair of Save Ealing’s Centre [SEC], said he was worried the plans were being “hurried past the Mayor”, giving the community very little time to make representations on them.
“SEC and other local groups are looking to the Mayor to respond to our concerns and give what we say a fairer hearing than has been the case so far,” Mr French said. “He should begin by giving people more time to comment to him on the plans.
“It’s not even as if the development would provide many homes for local people to afford. Mainly one or two bedroom flats, very few of the homes are suitable for families, and the [Mayor’s] London Plan says that as the development uses Council-owned land far more than 50 per cent of the new homes should be affordable.”
The application received over 2300 rejections on Ealing Council’s website. Concerns raised included noise and light pollution, the environmental impact of demolishing the existing site, as well as the lack of affordable housing.
Justine Sullivan of the pressure group Stop the Towers said, “It’s universally acknowledged that this is a highly controversial scheme, given the council is so conflicted as the co-Developer and planning authority.
“A scheme of this size in the municipal heart of Ealing, which has received thousands of objections both from residents and national bodies should not simply scrape through planning with the slimmest of majorities or fast tracked to Stage 2 at the GLA.”
Now the application has been moved up to the next stage in the process, residents can make comments on the application here or you can write to Jules Pipe, the Mayor’s deputy for planning – firstname.lastname@example.org – to ask for a public hearing.
Rupa Huq said: “Ealing appeals to Sadiq to stop this monstrosity, which includes precious little family housing or anything affordable to the average resident. Either the Mayor stops it in its tracks, or we’ll try higher up.”
The Mayor’s press office has been approached for comment.