Posted: 01.04.21 at 17:26 by Dimitris Kouimtsidis
FOLLOWING last night’s (March 31) Planning Committee meeting, the controversial Perceval House redevelopment has been approved, again.
This is the third time a meeting has been held to discuss the proposal in just the space of six weeks.
However, that approval was overturned on March 19, due to technical problems with the live stream, which meant that the last 40 minutes were not broadcast.
After much criticism from community groups and Ealing Central and Acton MP, Rupa Huq, a third meeting was planned for yesterday, despite it taking place during the pre-election election (purdah) period.
The proposal was approved for a second time, after Councillors voted eight to four in favour of the project, with one abstention.
Ealing Central and Acton MP, Rupa Huq, spoke out against the proposal and said: “477 new homes - but none at social rent.”
“Shameful! No consultation for a year.
“But 2,300 and rising objections - huge local opposition.”
She added that the plan would adversely impact the elderly residents of nearby Apsley House.
Located on Longfield Avenue adjacent to the Town Hall, Apsley House is housing for people aged 55 and over who occupied council or housing association homes with one or more spare bedrooms.
The Labour MP said they “would face living on a building site [with] 78% of their light stolen - ignored as they’re seen as set to die soon anyway.”
She also raised concerns about fire safety, as well as the lack of genuinely affordable housing and three-bedroom family units.
One Apsley House resident said: “There’s 70 people in this block, most of us are over 65.
“Quite a few of us can’t go out, we rely on the sun coming through our windows which is why we have such large windows, and we’re going to have no sun all of a sudden.
“What are we supposed to do, sit in the dark all day?
“I know we’re pensioners but we’re still citizens and we’re still your constituents.
“It’s about time instead of thinking about the mighty pound you started thinking of your constituents.”
Justine Sullivan from Stop The Towers said: “I’m disappointed, but not at all surprised with the result, because Ealing have failed to keep their local plan up to date.
“This has allowed mass over-development and tall buildings to be built in inappropriate places with no regard to the negative impact they have.
“We are really shocked and saddened that some of the councillors totally dismissed the voices and concerns raised by the pensioners at Apsley House.
“This is a very poor legacy for the future of Ealing.”
Will French, co-founder of Ealing Matters and Chair of Save Ealing's Centre, said: “This is a huge scheme that will impact many local residents and change Ealing forever.
“If you look at it carefully, you’ll see there are next to no real benefits from the plans particularly in our new post-COVID world when the demand for both council office space and high rise blocks of flats looks to have peaked.
“Ealing needs to pause for a while to reflect on what it is trying to do and consult with stakeholders including the Ealing public about what’s best for the Borough.”
Cllr Miriam Rice who voted in favour of the development, said: “I think this development is the kind of thing we need in order to meet those needs of people in Ealing that are suffering in poorer accommodation in Ealing so I’m very supportive.”
Following the meeting, the Ealing Central and Acton MP, Rupa Huq, told Nub News: “I am deeply disappointed by the decision to approve the hideous Perceval House redevelopment plans.
“The commercial developers, Vistry, are calling all the shots here.
“They haven’t listened to locals for over a year and refuse involvement of Ealing Council's new standing panel to assess planning application quality.
“Its internal design review gerrymander was back in 2019.
“So much of what is being proposed here completely goes against the Council’s planning policy.
“Ealing needs more genuinely affordable housing for working families, not high-rise luxury flats that will sit empty.
“Despite the thousands of objections, despite the many legitimate concerns that have been raised, the planning committee has given carte blanche for these greedy developers to transform municipal land into a series of ugly blocks that don’t adhere to fire safety best practice.”
When asked about what steps she would take next, Dr Huq said: "Watch this space" and vowed to 'fight on'.
The scheme will now be referred to the Greater London Authority and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government for final planning approval.
If they agree, the demolition of Perceval House could start as soon as this December.