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Learn Ealing funded Startup School for Seniors starts on 18th April

Attention all Ealing residents aged 50+! Have you ever dreamed of starting your own business but needed to know where to start? Startup School for Seniors is here to help you turn that dream into a reality!Startup School for Seniors is an online course designed to support those aged 50+ seeking to become self-employed. The programme is delivered as a series of pre-recorded video modules along with 1:2:1 mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs and business advisors, peer-to-peer online group sessions and workshops. All the videos are transcribed and captioned for anyone with accessibility issues. The programme is ideally suited to anyone considering self-employment or at the early stage of their business. The programme takes into account an older learners requirements for flexibility, which is often a result of caregiving responsibilities or their health and mobility issues.The training will help you to:Determine your ideal customer and where to find themUnderstand how to price your product or serviceKnow the legal requirements of running your businessCreate a one-page business planFeel more confident about the steps you need to take to start or grow your businessTake advantage of this chance to make your dream a reality! Register now at startupschoolforseniors.com and take the first step towards a successful future as a business owner. #startup #entrepreneur #eLearning #businesscourse*The cost for those in full or part-time work is £160

Suzanne Noble ● 78d0 Comments ● 78d

Are employment tribunals out of control?

Reading the preposterous story about the 'sexual harassment' case at the special school in Northolt, it struck me that the damage done by employment tribunals increasingly seems to outweigh any benefit they provide. Obviously people should be protected against abuse in the workplace and unfair dismissal but a retrospective claim by someone who deserved to be fired would surely be regarded in most other courts as vexatious and be dismissed. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the recent case in Hammersmith & Fulham in which a council officer on a six figure salary claimed PTSD from being involved in the Grenfell Relief efforts and was paid £4.5 million, more than any other person impacted by the fire, the award doesn't seem proportionate. The case which brought Birmingham City Council into bankruptcy was due to binmen (exclusively male) getting bonuses when cleaners (mainly female) didn't even though the bonuses were being paid due to difficulties in retaining and recruiting people a problem that didn't exist in other department. So these three cases have seen a dedicated public servant doing important work with vulnerable children humiliated, the real victims of Grenfell having yet more reason to feel a sense of injustice and the people of Birmingham having to pay significantly increased council tax along with huge cuts in services, which will inevitably affect the most vulnerable most. All this because a judge was able to reach decisions with no thought for the broader consequences. Surely this has to change?

Gordon Southwell ● 79d0 Comments ● 79d

The case against a Conservation Area for Northfields

Currently the Council is consulting on the introduction of a Conservation Area (CA) in the Northfields area in south/central Ealing where I live. The CA will cover 7,000 properties that are spread over the Walpole and Northfield Wards to the south of Uxbridge Road down to Little Ealing Lane. The proposed CA straddles Northfield Avenue which runs from the north to south in the area.  Following pressure from a very small number of local residents the Council held an informal consultation in 2022 asking local people if they wished to see a CA introduced in our area. No recognised residents’ association was consulted about the proposal. 181 residents responded to the consultation representing just 2% of households in the area. Despite this limited response (and not all respondents were in favour) the Council pressed ahead with the current  statutory consultation exercise asking the 7,000 affected households for their views on Northfields becoming a CA. https://www.ealing.gov.uk/info/201164/local_plan/3125/new_local_planNorthfields - where I have lived for over 40 years - is pleasant enough. But it is nothing special. There are thousands of suburban neighbourhoods up and down the country just like Northfields. Indeed the area should have been classed as a CA 120 years ago when it was a relatively coherent urban form made up of Edwardian terraced and semi-detached housing. But not now. In any case the buildings that have some architectural merit in Northfields are already listed under current planning legislation and, in effect, cannot be altered in any significant way. The two most significant buildings in this respect are the Underground station itself and, almost due opposite, the 1930s Moorish style cinema now used by the Ealing Christian Centre. Many residential and commercial properties in Northfields have had extensions of all kinds and the exterior of many properties has changed beyond recognition – front walls have been rebuilt, porches have been added, windows have been replaced and some front gardens have been dug up and turned into hard standings for car parking (and the charging of electric vehicles these days).  Quite frankly, the area has ‘been and gone’ and cannot be judged as anything exceptional. It certainly ain’t no Brentham Estate or Bedford Park, existing CAs in Ealing.  I also fear that the declaration of a CA would stymie any new building in the area. There are one or two sites in the locality that could provide much needed housing but a developer would find it near impossible to build on those sites if a CA was declared. Furthermore loft extensions would require full planning permission before they could proceed. An expensive and time-consuming process. Most loft extensions are now allowed under permitted development rights. Also the construction of bungalows in garden land that run alongside our side streets would become (in effect) a thing of the past. So the supply of additional housing units/bedrooms/living space could be significantly curtailed by the creation of the CA. What’s more the CA might – depending on the consequent changes to permitted development rights – see household efforts to improve the energy efficiency of their homes thwarted. The installation of solar panels and external wall insulation might fall foul of the new regulations. Bin covers in front gardens would undoubtedly need planning permission as would cycle sheds. Permission would also be needed for some tree pruning. I kid you not. And who would police this new CA? Ealing’s Planning service is already under severe pressure as are many others in London and beyond. Would the Council really be able to recruit the staff needed to deal with all the additional work associated with the creation of the CA? And where would the funding come from? Councillors too would get caught up in endless disputes about the application of the new planning rules. Is that what they really wanted to do when putting themselves up to serve our local community? The London Plan calls for Ealing to facilitate the building of over 21,570 homes in the ten years to 2028/29 , many on small infill sites in neighbourhoods like Northfields. If a CA is declared in Northfields that task would become that much more difficult. In a city like London where density levels are one seventh those in Paris, we should add to our housing stock in a sensitive way in areas like Northfields. We also have most of the infrastructure to support incremental increases in our housing stock (although the electricity grid could be upgraded and we could do with more GP surgeries). But this is not just a parochial issue affecting me and where I live. I am afraid if conservation interests in other urban communities in London and elsewhere call for the creation of CAs the opportunities to increase housing supply will become ever harder. As population increases through rises in net migration and for other reasons too, this can only lead to more homelessness, more overcrowding and higher rents and house prices. CAs are needed in sensitive urban settings that contain buildings of significant architectural value. But please not in Northfields.

Roger Jarman ● 165d27 Comments ● 110d

Musical Museum survival appeal.

I'm a volunteer tour guide at the Musical Museum in Brentford, London. https://www.musicalmuseum.co.uk/It is a very satisfying role because I watch the delight and wonder on the visitors' faces when they see and hear the instruments used for music reproduction through the ages. We have musical boxes, polyphons (the precursors of juke boxes) self-playing organs and pianos including player pianos and reproducing pianos that play the actual performances of famous pianists of the past including Gershwin, Rachmaninoff and many others. There are phonographs, gramophones, juke boxes that play 78s and a mighty Wurlitzer Cinema organ in our concert hall. The collection is of national and international importance because it restores and preserves working examples of extremely rare instruments.Loss of income during the Covid shutdown followed by huge inflation in the museum's costs mean that the museum can no longer pay its way so this year, our 60th, might be the last. We have trimmed our costs to the bone but must find money urgently to keep the doors open as we change the way we operate.If you value a historic musical resource, you may wish to support the museum's survival crowdfunder but if it doesn't seem that important to you, I understand that and I apologise for the intrusion. Here's the crowdfunder link.https://gofund.me/5632515eIf you feel able to, it would be great if you can also pass on the appeal to anyone you think might be interested.

David Lusty ● 141d4 Comments ● 135d

The case for a Conservation Area in Northfields

In his piece dated 9 January, Roger Jarman rejects the idea of making Northfields into a conservation area (CA). Like Roger, I have lived in Northfields for around 40 years, and I disagree with much of what he says (see my comments on his thread). As the author of the original proposal, I would like to put the arguments in favour.The public consultation of 2022 covered all of Ealing’s 29 conservation areas. More than half of the responses related to the proposal for a CA in Northfields and more than four out of five of those were in favour. Why was that? The external consultant hired by Ealing Council to report on the consultation noted that many of the Northfields responses expressed ‘a love of the neighbourhood, its sense of belonging and community, a village-like atmosphere and independent shops and cafes’. CA designation would reinforce Northfields’ identity as a desirable place to live, with the associated benefit for residents of enhanced property prices. So popular are existing Ealing CAs among residents, that many have objected strongly to proposals to de-designate their streets as part of the boundary changes proposed by the CA review. Northfields’ owes its character in part to the unity and coherence of the area’s architecture as well as individually listed buildings. But change is in the air. At the public meeting last November, former councillor Linda Burke warned that Northfields could succumb to development pressure like the Draytons, the area around West Ealing station. Ealing Council’s emerging Local Plan identifies the area covered by the Northfields CA as an Area of Intensification. In addition, it specifies Northfields Allotments as a Strategic Area for Regeneration and an Opportunity Area. Furthermore, developments of up to 6 storeys would be permissible anywhere in the area – that’s three times the height of most of what is there now, enough to destroy its character. As a so-called ‘material consideration’ in planning decisions, making Northfields a conservation area would help to protect what we love about the place. You can find out more about the proposal at: https://www.ealing.gov.uk/info/201042/current_consultations/3225/conservation_area_consultationThe Council is currently consulting with all those affected by the proposal. You can respond by email to localplan@ealing.gov.uk (the Council’s preferred method of response) or by post to Strategic Planning Team, Ealing Council, Perceval House, 14-16 Uxbridge Road, London W5 2HL. The closing date is 31 January 2024. This will help to decide whether Northfields becomes a conservation area or not, so please do have your say.

Kay Garmeson ● 155d0 Comments ● 155d