Cap The Towers Blasts Committee That Approved Friary Park Plan

Says ignoring Fire Brigade advice 'disrespectful' to the Grenfell victims

Sean Fletcher described the decision to approve the scheme as a 'disgrace'

Local campaign group Cap The Towers has issued a statement fiercely criticising the councillors and officers involved in the recent approval for an expansion of the Friary Park development which is to be known as the Verdean.

The revised plan includes tall towers with only a single staircase, a kind of design that London Fire Brigade (LFB) is currently advising against.

At the planning committee meeting on 19 October, nine councillors accepted a recommendation from planning officers that Mount Anvil’s and Catalyst’s joint proposal to build towers in this way should be accepted. Only Cllr Julian Gallant voted against the application.

LFB had comment on the application as a stakeholder telling Ealing Council that it should consider ‘multiple staircases a fundamental requirement for tall residential buildings.’

Cap The Towers said following the decision, “How disrespectful to the memory of the 72 people who died at Grenfell and all those who still mourn their loss, that a neighbouring borough should deliberately set a lower standard of fire safety than the London Fire Brigade recommends. “

The group claims that LFB’s comments were sent to the council in September but initially were not published on the council’s web site until lawyers told them that doing so was obligatory.

Cap The Towers continues, “It is widely recognised - following the disaster of Grenfell - that the London Fire Brigade’s insistence on ‘multiple staircases in tall residential buildings’ is very likely to become law, maybe as early as January. Hence the rush to get this application passed before
new regulations come in.”

Sean Fletcher, who spoke on behalf of objectors at the planning meeting, described Ealing Council’s handling of this fire safety issue as ‘a disgrace’ and called for this ‘dreadful and misguided’ decision to be reversed.

A council spokesperson said: “The wellbeing and safety of residents are at the heart of decision-making at Ealing Council.

“All aspects of the Friary Park planning application, including matters of fire safety have been subject to extensive consideration from Ealing’s planning committee. Furthermore, there have been discussions with the London Fire Brigade regarding the fire safety aspect of the planning application, and as part of the approval process for this development, aspects of the plans were submitted to the Building Control Authority. The Building Control authority have considered the development in respect to Part B (Fire Safety) and as part of their inter-service procedural guidance consulted with the Fire Authority. These details have been approved by the Building Control Authority.

“Furthermore, the applicant has also provided a declaration of compliance that the fire safety of the proposed development and the fire safety information submitted satisfy the requirements of Policies D12(A) and D5(B5) as requested by the GLA.”

The reference for the scheme on the Ealing Council planning portal is 221747HYBRID.

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November 2, 2022