Ealing residents push back on plans for ‘eyesore’ towers

·3-min read
A CGI image of what the development could look like (Screenshot)
A CGI image of what the development could look like (Screenshot)

Residents in Ealing have warned that the borough’s skyline is under threat from a new development that will leave them “horrendously overlooked” by several large towers.

In 2019, Ealing Council approved planning permission for 990 new homes, including towers of up to 24 storeys in height, on the Friary Park estate in Acton.

But developers Catalyst and Mount Anvil have already proposed plans to expand the scope of the project, increasing the height of the towers by as many as 15 storeys.

Friary Park is home to around 225 families in social housing, with the new development – to be renamed The Verdean – to provide 190 homes at affordable rent and 64 homes for shared ownership.

Though no planning application has yet been lodged by developers, locals have begun organising under the name Cap the Towers to oppose the plans before permission is sought.

David Tennant, a local resident and member of Cap the Towers, said: “Acton is very largely Victorian and Edwardian housing – terraced housing a lot of it. It’s all two to three floors in height. So, you can imagine that the approved development is a bit of an eyesore, because it’s hard up against that sort of housing, so the people who live directly beside the new development will be overlooked horrendously.”

Mr Tennant added that many of the new flats are being marketed as “investment opportunities” to buyers in the Middle East and China.

He said: “These people aren’t going to live in these flats, what they’re going to do is rent them out at, possibly, very high rents.”

A spokesperson for Catalyst and Mount Anvil said: “Having consulted widely with the existing residents on the estate, we believe there is an opportunity to improve the plans we submitted, delivering 64 additional affordable homes in phase one, with more affordable workspace, better shared outside space and larger balconies for the benefit of all residents.

“These improvements would be funded by more private homes, with the 45 per cent ratio of affordable homes in the development overall staying the same.”

Cap the Towers has seen a swell of support in recent weeks, according to Mr Tennant, who said that locals “have so little trust” in the council since “so much of this kind of thing is just waved through”.

A spokesperson for Ealing Council said: “No planning applications has been received to date from the developers of the site to increase the height of the towers. Any applications of this size would be considered by the planning committee and not be able to go through a non-material amendment route.

“The leader of the council, Councillor Peter Mason, met with local residents earlier in the autumn and made clear his opposition to the proposals. This week he met with the Chair and Chief Executive of Peabody-Catalyst and reiterated that opposition.”

The Mayor of London is consulted on all planning applications that are of “strategic importance” to London, including developments of more than 150 residential units, developments over 30 metres in height or developments on Green Belt land.

Earlier this year, Sadiq Khan refused planning permission for a new development in Richmond on the grounds that it did not contain enough affordable housing, despite it having originally been approved by Richmond Council.

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