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Thursday, 7 June 2012

Why London's Mayor Must Act on Colonial Drive

I have already written to the Mayor of London about the Colonial Drive development that Ealing Council recently accepted. The Mayor of London should stick a spanner in the works. Fellow ward Councillor Harvey Rose has certainly come up with a pearl of a letter to Boris:

"I write as one of the three councillors representing Southfield ward, which is situated in the southeast of the London Borough of Ealing, on the border with the London Borough of Hounslow.

Southfield ward is an area of high density. Many of the roads are tree-lined. Nearly all the properties are residential. Very few are over three storeys in height. Most were built at the end of the nineteenth century or earlier. There is very little amenity space in the ward apart from Southfield Recreation Ground a mile away to the north and Acton Green on the southern border.

It is worth noting that there are very few tall buildings in the "Hounslow" part of Chiswick to the south. Reference is made in the papers to the Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve which is bounded on all sides by rail tracks and is thus an ideal location for the preservation of wild life, even in an urban setting.

The Reserve is situated entirely within the London Borough of Hounslow, who were duly consulted in advance of the hearing of the Planning Committte on 16th May. Reference is also made to an adjacent development at 2 Bollo Lane. This occupies a much smaller area but is in my view highly obtrusive. The building of this development is nearly complete.

Virtually no parking provision has been provided. It was largely for that reason that the Planning Commitee (differently constituted) rejected that application, but when it went to appeal the Inspector permitted the development. The building is now nearly complete, but so far unoccupied, so it is too early to assess the impact of the additional population and the lack of infrastructure provided.

The present application was said by the Planning Officer (in her report placed before the Committee) to be "finely balanced", but you will see from the minutes of the Committee held on 16th May that the overwhelming arguments were in support of the residents. Many of them are already upset by the decision on 2 Bollo Lane and the frequent congestion in the vicinity of Chiswick Park station.

I concluded my speech by quoting from the observations of the Hounslow planning officer: "The excessive height, length and bulk of the development, combined with the close proximity to the boundary shared with the triangle would result in a development which would have an overbearing impact on the Gunnersbury Triangle, significantly detracting from the amenity, value and open character of the nature reserve." These are words of a planning officer, not disgruntled residents.

This application should be rejected."

Quite right. I hope Boris that you do the right thing.

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