Opponents say both Catalyst and Council withheld full picture during consultation
CGI of development produced by opponents of the scheme
Opponents of the recently approved scheme to redevelop the Friary Park Estate in Acton are claiming the developer and Ealing Council misled them over the real size of the project.
The 1980s estate next to Acton Mainline station currently consists of 225 social rented homes described by planning consultants Barton Willmore as 'undersized', in a site that 'lacks permeability, encourages anti-social behaviour and has ' inadequate green space.'
It's proposd that all the current buildings on the Friary Park Estate and its surrounding roads will be demolished, and replaced with new homes of mixed type. The scheme has been worked on since 2014 and the plans are expected to deliver 372 'affordable' homes and 618 for private sale.
Planning permission was granted to Catalyst to demolish the estate replacing the homes with around 930 new ones in tower blocks.
Catalyst say, ''Our proposals will dramatically improve the housing conditions on the estate by providing high quality new homes. There will be an increased number of family-sized homes for social rent to meet the needs of the families currently living on the estate.''
However, in the documentation submitted by the developer as part of their application and the associated consultation process, no images were provided which gave an indication of the true scale of the development.This has been a feature of many of the developments in the area including the Council's own scheme in central Ealing and residents who are uncomfortable with the height of buildings being proposed across the borough are producing red block CGIs themselves in an attempt to make clear what the impact will be.
A huge demonstration took place outside Ealing's full Council meeting on Tuesday evening (25th February) with residents throughout the borough showing the strength of feeling against what they feel is a proliferation of tower blocks and the over development of the borough.
CGI of development from a distance produced by opponents of the scheme
Opponents of the Friary Park development say that during the public consultation in August/September last year when Acton residents were sending in their objections to redevelopment proposals, it was already apparent that it was the number and height of the towers which was causing the greatest concern. However, they say the message from the developer, Catalyst, at that time was: ‘There will be three tall towers, one of which will be 24 storeys with the others reaching 22 storeys and 19 storeys.’
One objector said, ‘we now know that the picture being presented by Catalyst during the public consultation was wrong. There were not ‘three’ tall towers; there were six. There was not a single tower of 22 storeys; there were two such towers of 22 storeys.’
Objectors also claim that during the public consultation when Catalyst was presenting this smaller picture, both they and Ealing Council knew this was a falsehood.
They point to what they say is evidence in Ealing Council’s own files which show that on 29 July last year, a month before Catalyst were claiming ‘three tall towers’, they had already submitted their final planning application to the Council.
The drawing from that planning application shows what Catalyst was planning whist conveying what they say was a false picture to the public.
Critics say this is an act of duplicity and will be presenting it to the Mayor of London in due course, to inform his decision on whether or not this particular plan for Friary Park should be allowed to proceed.
The London Mayor has the power to stop the Catalyst proposal from happening even though Ealing’s Planning Committee has approved it and locals are hoping he will intervene and have launched a petition to try and persuade him to do so.
A spokesperson for Catalyst and Mount Anvil said: “We have presented clear plans for the future of Friary Park to residents of the estate and local neighbours throughout the consultation process. Heights of the buildings have been illustrated on consultation materials that have been available to view in public and online and the scheme has been fully scrutinised by Ealing Council.
“While plans have evolved and changed over the last few years, we have regularly presented up to date information and invited people to see illustrations and to discuss the plans for the estate with us.”
Artist's impression of proposed redevelopment provided by the developer
An Ealing Council spokesperson said: “Over the five years this particular project has been ongoing, the applicant has carried out many public consultation events and proposals have changed over that time.
“There has been one formal planning application which included a council led public consultation which clearly identified the scope of the development. The detailed application was approved by the planning committee on 20 November 2019 and is now being prepared for submission to the GLA. Further council led consultation will take place to determine outstanding outline matters as and when they are detailed.''
The project is expected to be finished by 2027.
February 27, 2020 ( updated 27th February)