Says 26-storey tower would harm conservation areas and nearby listed buildings
CGI of how the tower might look from Walpole Park
The government’s heritage advisor, Historic England has come out strongly against Ealing Council’s plans to redevelop the Perceval House site.
In a series of highly critical comments, the statutory body says that Ealing’s conservation areas and listed buildings will be harmed by the height and design of the proposal and they are adamant that it should be reduced in scale.
Its objections come as the deadline for comments to the planning application looms with the consultation closing on 20 October.
Historic England is particularly critical of the impact on the view from the grade II* listed bridge in Walpole Park.
It says, ‘This view along the serpentine lake is one of the key designed views within the park and is terminated by Soane’s early 19th Century bridge and the later layer of mid-19th Century villas that surround the park. … this view tells the story of the former rural village setting of the grade I listed Pitzhanger Manor and the adjacent 19th Century development of low scale buildings and trees that sought to emulate and cherish this rural character. The proposed tall building imposes a central London scale of development and highly urban form that would sit directly on the axis of the designed view and is at odds with the predominantly semi-rural character of this part of the conservation area.’
There is no obligation for the Council to adapt the scheme taking account of Historic England’s objections but there is an uncomfortable precedent. Historic England also objected to a major development in the town centre at 9-42 The Broadway in 2016. The Secretary of State responded by ‘calling in’ that scheme for a lengthy public inquiry.
CGI of the development from Uxbridge Road from application documents
Save Ealing’s Centre, an umbrella group of nearby residents’ associations, which is campaigning against the proposal, believes the chances of a similar intervention could be even higher in this case.
It says, “With its 26-storey tower overshadowing the Town Hall as well as Walpole Park, this very high-density scheme is much more obtrusive than the relatively modest 18 storey tower proposed for 9-42 The Broadway. What’s more, there is a highly political angle to these proposals. Perceval House is a development in which the Council as the landowner is completely conflicted. As the development partner of the applicant, Vistry Group, it will be impossible for Council planners to claim they are viewing the project objectively.
“Otherwise, the Council and Vistry can accede to Historic England and lower the tower. This won’t be easy. When consulting local groups, Vistry said that no reduction in the height or the density of the scheme is possible, given the Council’s demands. In exchange for the site, the Council expects Vistry to build them brand new offices, a new library and 226 new homes for LBE’s new housing company Broadway Living. The only way they can do this and make a profit themselves is by cramming 477 homes onto the small space behind the new offices. The architect insists he has considered other designs and all are more problematic than the tower.”
The group believes that the scheme will have a devastating impact on the centre of Ealing and encourage rat running through local streets all to demolish a building which is less than 40 years old.
Will French of Save Ealing’s Centre says, ‘Ealing Council has declared that the borough will be carbon neutral by 2030. They should be publishing a whole life audit of the development proposals to show what effect this scheme will have on this ambitious agenda.’
More details of the scheme area available on the project web site.
To make comments on the proposal click here.
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September 10, 2020