Dismay Over Threat to Churchfield Road Institution

Planning application submitted that would result in closure of L’Oriental

L'Oriental Restaurant
L'Oriental Restaurant. Picture: Google Streetview

L’Oriental, the popular and long established Lebanese restaurant in Acton is threated with closure.

A planning application has been submitted for the site at 94 Churchfield Road which would see the space currently occupied by the restaurant reduced in size to make way for a new self-contained flat. At the same time an application has been made for a change of use which would mean that there would no longer be a restaurant at this location.

In their submission the applicant’s agent states, “The existing ramshackle collection of outbuildings and roofed area would be demolished and an extension provided to the building to house the new flat. The front of the premises at ground and basement levels would be retained in commercial use, but with a A1 retail use.”

It continues that the ‘sprawling layout of the site’ does not make the best use of the space.

Despite the coronavirus lockdown, there has been an overwhelmingly negative reaction from the local community with 132 comments made on the application nearly all of them objecting.

Jan Gayle-Farlow of the CANForum said in her response on Ealing Council’s web site, “This proposal seeks to remove a profitable local business and replace with a 3 bedroom 4 person unit. This development will only provide the minimum habitable space. The lack of natural light is of great concern. Light wells shown in the drawings are not sufficient. This is proven in the artificially lit pictures taken of adjacent properties for comparison. Living areas ie kitchen and living room will require constant lighting. We also noted the lack of storage space. The outdoor space on this proposal is purely decorative. Both the London Plan and Local Plan note that residential development should enhance the area. This does not.”

Many people objecting to the plan describe the restaurant as a local institution and the owners, Tony and Paula, as ‘a crucial part of Churchfield Road culture’.

Some local residents’ groups believe that Ealing Council’s arrangements for the publicity of planning applications during the lockdown has been inadequate. The public notices for developments like this one are published in a newspaper which does not circulate in the area which is a requirement of the relevant legislation. The Council have refused to consider the publication of notices in sites like ActonW3.com even though the current guidance from the government is to increase the use of digital media to make residents aware of developments that may affect them. Ealing Council say that if they were to publish notices digitally they would do so on their own site.

You can comment on the application here. The determination date given on Ealing Counci's web site is 2 June.

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May 18, 2020