Will it be for scrutiny, transparency and honest representation?
STT is an apolitical group, representing Ealing residents who want to see appropriate development in our borough. With an election in a few days, we’ve produced a set of frequently asked questions relating to local parties and over development.
Who should I vote for on 5th May?
Bearing in mind your vote will determine who runs our borough for the next four years (and you can’t change it before 2026), we’d strongly recommend that you vote on local issues. Specifically on development, the party in power for the next four years will dictate planning policy. It is also worth checking whether the candidate you want to vote for even lives in your area. The Save Gurnell group have produced a great breakdown here for Pitshanger ward. Save Gurnell Newsletter
I don’t want more tower blocks built in Ealing, so who should I vote for?
Whilst some Liberal Democrats candidates (ie Francesco Fruzza (Pitshanger)) and some Labour councillors (ie Linda Burke, who is standing down) have spoken against tower blocks in the past, as a party the Lib Dems have not had a consistent approach often supporting controversial tall towers and even abstaining, when their vote against would have mattered. And the Ealing Labour leadership continues to be pro-development (granting planning permission for dozens of towers under the previous leader with little control on what had been approved).
In Ealing, only the Greens and the Conservatives have been consistently anti-towers, and supportive of STT.
But haven’t Ealing Labour said they’ll clamp down on towers?
Ealing Labour leader, also leader of the council, Peter Mason did announce earlier this year that he was issuing new guidance to stop towers. However in truth this “new guidance” is just a rehash of old rules which the planning dept at Ealing Council has been wilfully ignoring for the last decade. This coupled with Peter Masons track record of encouraging overdevelopment in Ealing in his previous role as head of planning and the recent appointment of the new pro-development CEO, [click here to see our last newsletter], makes us highly sceptical that their stance is anything other than electioneering.
But, didn’t Ealing Council refuse planning permission for Manor Road and Gurnell?
Yes, but Ealing council was heavily involved in encouraging the development of both in the first place (in the case of Gurnell wasting £2 million of council taxpayers money on the scheme).
After a record 2700 residents objected to it, The Manor Road scheme was only narrowly turned down thanks to Cllr Manro (Labour) who voted for it, even after the vote had been lost . Something the developers focused on at the planning appeal last summer when they won.
In spite of the overwhelming number of objections, many Labour councillors still voted in favour (proving councillors ignore the views of residents – see below). And worse, the Manor Road scheme was subsequently approved on appeal, in part because Ealing Council had failed to keep a record of the number of flats being built in the borough. This is a legal requirement which they failed to meet and as a result numerous other schemes (such as Kent Lodge in Pitshanger) may have been approved as no evidence was been available to show housing targets had in fact been met [read – Was Information withheld from the inquiry?] and again, local residents to foot the bill for costs awarded against the Council.
So if Ealing Labour are pro-developer, who is the next best alternative?
Well in Ealing, only the Green Party and the Conservatives have been consistently anti-towers. But it depends on which ward you live in. For example in Pitshanger (Cleveland) ward Francesco Fruzza (Lib Dem) and Ian Proud (Conservative) have been STT supporters since day one.
Ok, so there are some good candidates – but who are the ones persistently siding with developers against residents wishes?
Well looking at results of the most controversial planning decisions of the last few years it’s clear there are several Councillors prepared to ignore the valid objections of thousands of Ealing residents who objected to the Manor Road and/or Perceval House towers. These include:
– Cllr Shital Manro – Labour (North Greenford)- voted FOR Manor Road and Perceval House
– Cllr Josh Blacker – Labour (South Acton) – voted FOR Manor Road and Perceval House
– Cllr Miriam Rice – Labour (Northolt Mandeville) – voted FOR Manor Road and Perceval House
– Cllr Steve Donnelly – Labour (East Acton) – voted FOR Manor Road and Perceval House- Cllr Munir Ahmed – Labour (Perivale) – voted FOR Manor Road
– Cllr Ray Wall – Labour (Hanwell) – Abstained on Manor Road and voted FOR Perceval House
– Cllr Lauren Wall – Labour (Northolt West End) – voted FOR Perceval House
– Cllr Tariq Mahmood – Labour ((Perivale) – voted FOR Perceval House
– Cllr Simon Woodroofe – Labour (Greenford Green) – Voted FOR Perceval House
– Cllr Gary Busuttil – Lib Dems (Southfield) – abstained on Perceval House
– Cllr Chris Sumner – Labour (Northolt Mandeville) – ‘reluctantly’ voted against Manor Road but thinks it’s ok to build on Metropolitan Open Land and voted in favour of concrete tower blocks on the green space at Gurnell.
What do Ealing residents want?
STT, together with Ealing Matters, Save Gurnell and The Draytons Community Association set up a survey to discover residents’ views about living in Ealing. We had a brilliant response, with just under 1,300 residents (covering all 23 wards in the borough) completing the full questionnaire. What the survey revealed was how unhappy people are with a whole range of different aspects of living in Ealing, including the Council.
The overarching concern and complaint was in fact about tall buildings and over development in the borough. To read the survey click here
About Stop the Towers.
STT is an apolitical group, representing Ealing residents who want to see appropriate development, at an appropriate scale and that meets the needs of local people and not foreign investors. We are not opposed to building and we are not opposed to progress, we just don’t think tower blocks are the answer. They weren’t in the 1960s and they aren’t now. We believe there is a more environmentally friendly way to deliver social and affordable homes without building towers. STT does not support or oppose any political party, and our membership is drawn from across the political spectrum, with a committee from all parties and none.
Stop The Towers