477 homes planned in giant new Ealing tower blocks but only 7 would be ‘big enough for families’
1,000 people have submitted objections to the plans
The controversial plan to redevelop Ealing Council’s offices, which includes the construcion of a giant 26-storey tower block, has been sent back to the developer.
Plans have been put in to demolish Perceval House on Uxbridge Road to make way for new council offices, commercial space and 477 homes.
But councillors have said they are “really, really upset” that just seven flats in the scheme would be three-bedroom properties, meaning hardly any of the properties would be “suitable for families”.
At a planning committee meeting yesterday (Wednesday, February 17) Ealing Council and Vistry Partnerships laid out plans for six residential blocks of flats on the site – one being 26 storeys tall.
More than 1,000 objections have been received to the online planning application.
Resident Fiona Peyton, Ealing Broadway ward councillor Seema Kumar and Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq spoke against the development, citing concerns over the height of the development impacting on neighbours, the potential loss of the area’s character and the inadequate number of homes for families.
Calling for the project that was “dreamt up” pre-Covid to be put on hold, Dr Huq said: “Take Ealing Council’s 10,000 and rising housing waiting list, and its own strategic housing market assessment.
“It insists on any future development having family housing and being affordable but what a mistrick here. Of 477 units just seven are three bedrooms. And 50 per cent on public land, that is a bare minimum. Mayor of London projects insist on 60 as a minimum.”
She added that it was “disappointingly small” that only 70 of the 477 homes were intended to be London Affordable Rent, which means they are deemed to be “low cost rented” homes.
Dr Huq added that she believed the 251 flats proposed for private sale could have trouble selling in a post-Covid world.
She added: “We know from Dickens Yard (a development of new apartments in Ealing) the price point has to be right and we know unlet retail space is a problem already just yards away from this one.
“How many more vibrant quarters can we take? How many boarded up shops is good for Ealing? We can fix this if we fix the mix now, we don’t want to be another Croydon, it went bust with an over-ambitious town centre project full of albatrosses [that were] unsellable. Let’s fix this now.”
Cllr Praveen Anand called for the application to be deferred, and this was approved by seven councillors to six.
He shared concerns with councillors that government guidance says opposite sex siblings should not share a bedroom after 10 years old and the problem this poses for mature families in this development.
He said: “We’re not paying much attention to the family mix.
“I really feel the three-bedroom emphasis which is not even 2 per cent… is substantially low for a development we are actually pioneering so I’m really, really upset about that.”
And he added: “We’re supposed to have a diverse community… we are actually forcing three-bed families [into] different areas, [into] deprived areas… why can’t we have a combined community where everyone can mix together?”
Ealing Council first began making plans over the future of Perceval House in 2015 and aims to create council offices “fit for purpose” for the 21st century and deliver housing in the borough.
Speaking for the applicant in the meeting, Sarah Parkinson told members that thousands of residents and businesses had been consulted in creating the plans and she believed the development would secure a new civic building that caters to the “changing needs” of the council.
She added: “In response to the concern of changing the character of an area, I don’t need to tell you how much Ealing has changed in the last 10 years, Ealing Broadway is a busy town centre at the heart of a growing borough with rapid access to central London.
“Ealing is a borough with a history of growth and change, it’s an area that’s moving quickly not standing still, we believe this development responds to that.”
The plans will now be handed back to the developer who will be asked to revise the scheme.