Stop the Towers is very disappointed by the decision reached by 9 out of 12 councillors at last night’s planning committee meeting to approve plans to build the controversial 19-storey Tide Tower.

In a rushed process, the oversized block of 400+ student bedsits on the Majestic Wines site in West Ealing was approved by all but one of the 10 Labour councillors on last night’s committee. The one Conservative and one Liberal Democrat councillors voted against and abstained respectively.

This was in spite of the plans:

  • breaking Ealing’s own new local plan for the site by being 50% taller than the maximum recommended size
  • being opposed by every local community organisations and the council’s own Design Review Panel;
  • over 1000 local residents voting against it; and
  • it even being opposed by the GLA in their own report!

Sadly, the planning rules that apply to the rest of us can seemingly be ignored by big business, with the connivance of this Ealing Council. Geoffrey Payne of the Royal Town Planning Institute who attended the meeting said:

“I am increasingly concerned at the way urban planning in the UK is failing to meet local needs. In some cases, planning officers are actually recommending proposals that do not comply with their own plans. The result is massive overdevelopment of sites that are rapidly reducing the quality of life in places like Ealing.”

At the same meeting, the council approved a 16 storey development on St James Avenue, West Ealing. All in a day’s work it seems.

So what next?

Now, the decision to approve the Tide Tower will be reviewed by the GLA. Below is an extract of their initial comments on the plans, but we are aware the GLA rarely intervenes. However, given the controversial nature of this proposal, STT will be lobbying the GLA to enforce their comments and now step in and review or overturn the decision.

We will also be looking to lobby the Secretary of State. And, given the unreasonableness of the decision by Ealing Council, we are taking advice on a Judicial Review.

Clamping down or Ramping up?

STT is a non-political organisation but we have to call out that with 59 out of 70 councillors in Ealing being from one party, it is difficult to escape the suspicion that the views of local residents are increasingly being disregarded. We also now feel that Ealing Labour’s pre- election promise that Peter Mason’s Labour council would “clamp down on tall towers” is a little hollow. No one seems to have told Ealing’s planning department or the Labour councillors on the planning committee that they’re meant to be “clamping down on tall towers.” Feels more like they’re ramping up the approvals.

In spite of last night’s set back, STT will continue fighting to represent the views of thousands of local Ealing residents.

Thank you to every one who helped us by objecting.

Stop The Towers