St George’s scheme is the subject of much local debate and reporting, while English Heritage’s criticism of the scheme’s height – they say it would "engulf " views of a listed building – is also brought to the fore,
The Ealing Gazette reports that, in a letter to the council, EH historic areas adviser Will Reading said: "The proposal cannot be considered in keeping with the character or appearance of the conservation area due to the incongruity of scale, form, material and detail", and recommended rejection of the plans.
This report has come in the last week of the public consultation on the scheme, wich has raised a few hackles locally. The Ealing Times has two reports running concurrently on its website, one giving the developer angle, and one the local opposition.
In the former piece, Charmaine Young, the regeneration director for St George, says the plans will revitalise Ealing town centre and bring 450 new permanent jobs. "The whole idea is about regenerating the town centre, not competing with it. We ran a series of consultations last summer, to give local residents and traders the chance to have their say on how they want this development".
"Now there are a lot of people asking about the retail aspect of the plan, but when we ran the consultations we had retail consultants there and there was no-one interested in talking to them."
"We are going up to 14-storeys in the plans, and there is already a nine-storey building on the site. People will not be able to see them from the Broadway because it will be shielded by the shops."
In the second piece, pressre group ‘Save Ealing’s Centre’ representative Alan Lewis says "the Dickens Yard proposals represent massive overdevelopment. This view is also backed up by English Heritage, who have also said they think the proposals should be rejected."
"When you look at this proposal along with what Glenkerrin was proposing it would bring a total of 1,400 new flats to the centre of Ealing, with no plans to improve local amenities like schools and healthcare."
"The sites aren’t all that big which means they have to go high, and these designs are completely out of proportion with the rest of the town centre."
‘Save Ealing’s Centre’ do not represent the views of all locals though. As one comment on the Times’ story says, "They (Save Ealing’s Centre) resist everything that threatens change and modernisation in Ealing Broadway. They’ve got their cars and their homes and they don’t care if the next generation can’t get homes here or access to Ealing Broadway station in a reasonable amount of time. "
"They are a backward looking bunch who block developments that would bring benefits to a great many people, especially younger people who need small affordable units near tube stations to get to work into London in an environmentally friendly way. Their intransigence blocks much needed regeneration to Ealing Centre. Time for these conservative old timers to retire to Sandbanks and let the younger generation revitalise Ealing for all its residents."
Development on the site is regarded as desirable by the Council, and by most residents and local businesses, Sir Peter Hall said on Tuesday that some high density development was inevitable on the underused site, and took the opportunity to remind locals of the imminent arrival of Westfield London.
He said: "The impact of White City will be quite unlike anything we have seen in West London before. You’re essentially talking about Bluewater a mile and a half down the road. We really have to rethink totally what role Ealing Broadway is going to have in the future."