But what about Manor Road and all the other unnecessary towers?

26-storey Perceval House tower scrapped and yet another 21-storey monolith approved in central Ealing.

At last, ‘some’ good news – Ealing Council has scrapped its plans for a huge 26-storey tower block to replace Perceval House in central Ealing. Instead, they’ve listened to public demands for a greener option which will involve refurbishing the existing 40-year-old building.

Now the bad news.  Ealing’s Planning Committee approved YET another ridiculously, out of place mega block of 21 Storeys in the centre of Ealing Broadway.  Nicknamed the “Grave Stone”, what was the reason this non-descript concrete slab was approved?  Well, Ealing Council can’t use their repeated ‘much needed new housing’ excuse for this one as it’s not-much needed retail and office space.  Seriously, this really has no merit. *

Back to Perceval House, as well as environmental issues, one of the main reasons for scrapping the plans, which had been approved by Ealing’s own planning committee in 2021, (in spite of over 2000 objections from residents and MPs), was FIRE SAFETY. These included an increase in materials and construction costs and most recently CHANGES REQUIRED TO THE DESIGN AND STRUCTURE TO ENSURE THEY COMPLIED WITH THE LATEST FIRE SAFETY REGULATIONS.  New building regulations will require any building over 30m to have at least two staircases. And, as Ealing Council leader Pete Mason rightly says, this is “an important and vital fire safety requirement”.

But the one elephant in the room has to be the as-yet-unbuilt Manor Road tower and all the other blocks over 30 metres in the borough.  Manor Road will be twice the maximum height limit under the new national building regulations but, unbelievably, is still planned to have only one staircase. And, as work has yet to start on the site, the co-developer (housing association Metropolitan Thames Valley) still has time to change the plans and make the design comply with one of the most important safety developments in recent years.

Justine Sullivan of STT said, “Simply ignoring any new safety regulations is not only arrogant, its completely reckless and puts off anyone wanting to actually occupy any of those flats. In fact, it’s not only reckless, it’s insulting to the very people MTVH are targeting. They say, these will be homes for key workers, teachers, nurses etc. Why don’t key workers deserve better? What kind of message does this send that MTVH don’t value the safety of the people who will end up living there? Considering the location of the Manor Road tower, the tiny little space of land it will occupy, the proximity to the live train tracks, STT feels fire safety should be the overriding concern before a single shovel hits the ground.

When asked if they will be including a second staircase, MTVH told Ealing News that “…this modern housing development in Ealing has been signed off by the London Fire Brigade and meets all British regulations and British Standards.” **

They went on to say, “We’ve been working with the fire engineers throughout the design and the initial build* [sic] and can confirm the building will have best practice fire safety features including sprinklers throughout, evacuation alert systems and fire-fighting lifts.” (* fyi wrong –  nothing has yet been started).

In response Justine added, “Yes, but no second staircase and that’s what new building regs will require as any reputable developer and housing association will know. Plus everyone is aware the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) are actually fighting for lower at 18 metres.”

MTVH say they are closely following the “ongoing debate” (there is no ongoing debate, the consultation is actually over.) “about whether there should be the requirement of a second staircase for buildings over 30 metres and will always comply with any future regulation around this”

Stop the Towers are openly asking MTVH for the following:

  1. When did LFB sign off the plans?
    What have the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC ) said about the plans to go ahead with only one staircase in the  light of recent developments in Building Regs?
  2. There is no ongoing debate. As MTVH know the consultation on new national building regs ended  in March 2023. Now they will be implemented.  Fire safety, like human rights, is not up for debate. So what are you doing about this?
  3. The site has no initial build, so your comment is misleading. You have plenty of time to change the layout to include the second staircase. Why have you ignored that so far?

We’re not talking about the colour of tiles, the window shapes etc. This is VITAL FIRE Safety Building regs.

We’d like to think that our new council leader will be stepping up again and taking charge by urging
MTVH not to start work until that second staircase has been added. 

This will be a measure of his true leadership.

Thank you for your support



*  Click here for our previous email about the Ealing Broadway approved plan
** Click here to read the Ealing News article