Here is the Stop The Towers press release. The Southern Grove release can be viewed here.
Southern Grove aims a 26 storey ‘bullet’ at West Ealing
West Ealing residents today read with incredulity the press release fired out by developer Southern Grove, who has submitted plans to build a 26-storey tower in the heart of a low-rise residential area.
Offering up his monstrosity as a ‘golden bullet’ to London’s housing crisis, and challenging Mayor Sadiq Khan to face his ‘decision time’, Chief Executive Andrew Southern positions himself as affordable housing’s knight in shining armour.
But is it as good as it looks? West Ealing residents say not, as Residents’ Association Chair, Dr Gerald Power explains:
Andrew Southern says: ‘Ealing’s tallest building is a model of how developers should be meeting Sadiq Khan’s ‘Homes for Londoners’ vision’
But Dr Power replies: Southern Grove’s plans make a mockery of the Mayor’s vision for quality affordable homes – placing a 100 metre tower on a 0.06 hectare site, jammed between roads and a railway line, with less than a square metre of outside space per household.
It doesn’t sit in one of the Mayor’s key opportunity sites, doesn’t comply with Ealing’s democratically agreed development plans and offers up a ‘public plaza’ the width of a single tree.
Andrew Southern says: ‘this is Ealing’s first 100% affordable tower’
Not so, says Dr Power: Information presented by Southern Grove distorted affordability measures by inflating the market rent and not including service charges. Even with those ‘mistakes’, a purchaser needs an income of £44,000 to buy a share of the smallest property. That is DOUBLE the salary of the London firefighter that Mr Southern says the scheme is for.
Andrew Southern says: ‘we’re working in partnership with Metropolitan Thames Valley’
Dr Power points out: This isn’t the first time the two have worked together – Southern Grove bought the BHS site in West Ealing from Philip Green’s son in law and Arcadia (with the £700m pension black hole) board member Brett Palos for £9.9m, and sold it, without putting a spade in the ground, to Metropolitan Thames Valley for £22.5m. That’s a cool £ 12.6million of public money pocketed without Mr Southern breaking a sweat, from his ‘partnership’ with Metropolitan Thames Valley.
Andrew Southern asks: ‘Are we serious about creating genuinely desirable, affordable homes, or is it just something politicians are going to continue paying lip service to?’
Dr Power responds: £100m of GLA grant to Ealing and plans for 2500 new homes in the borough by 2022 is not lip service. We hope that Ealing Council and the Mayor of London will see straight through Andrew Southern’s bully boy hyperbole and moral blackmail and see the proposals for what they are – an attempt by Southern Grove to pocket many more millions of public pounds, leaving a legacy of unaffordable, undesirable homes that he’s proud to point out he’ll never own.
‘This is a bombshell, not a bullet, but many hundreds of West Ealing residents stand ready to take up his challenge, and work with the Council and the Mayor’s Office to deliver much needed, truly affordable housing that people actually want to live in’.