Forum Topics

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

Reduce and Reuse Hub - 4th November 2023

The Acton Market Reduce and Recycle Hub is returning on Saturday 4th November from 10am to 3pm, on the Mount in Acton. Since October  2022 we have achieved;• 408kg of unwanted clothes and shoes saved from landfill by Traid, which reduced carbon emissions (CO2) by 8.15 tonnes and water savings of 649m3.• 100 kgs of small electrical items collected which will be recycled.• 3kg of pens recycled • Taught Clothes Repair• Repaired kitchen and garden tools• Promoted watch repair services on site• Swapped and rehomed over 297 fiction and non-fiction books• Promoted clothing traders onsite selling, returns , seconds and preloved accessoriesThis month at the hub Acton Residents will be able to; RECYCLE: Bring along your old and unloved: • Clothing, Shoes, Small electrical appliances for donation to TRAID www.traid.org.uk• Laptops for donation to the Fixing Factory www.fixingfactory.org • How you can increase your household recycling with ActforEaling - www.actforealing.org • Pens and writing instruments• Toothbrushes and other dental itemsREPAIR: • Learning to fix your Clothes with Ealing Repair Café www.ealingrepaircafe.org • Get your Bikes checked with Dr Bike (2 pm-5 pm) REUSE: • Shop at our pre-loved traders or with our stall holders many who sell returns and seconds from the high street at a reduced price choose from sportswear, womenswear and menswear. • Book Swap – Bring a book and take a book, with Churchfield Community Association!• Learn to make draft excluders from old jeansYou can find out more at https://marketw3.co.uk/reduce-and-recycle-hub-returns-in-november

Zahra Shah ● 247d0 Comments ● 247d

Street Tree fiasco

Residents in a South Ealing Road have had to endure a series of trees which have an as yet unidentified fungus. A few trees shed leaves in 24 hours some others are now also affected.The spores are on the fallen leaves.After a whole week, No-one at all at Ealing Council has responded to residents emails with an online response " in 20 days"In the meantime residents and passers by have been getting skin irritations, sore eyes and coughs and throat irritations.I understand that the local councillors have been contacted and not one has responded.Residents have sent samples to DEFRA and another Arborist Pathologist.The prudent advice is to Alert the local authority for immediate removal and containment of the infected material.Today I walked down the same area and there are a small team clearing the leaves in the next road.  Where one or two trees are now also affected.They are only doing roads for the half marathon. They have not been made aware of the diseased leaves nor been given any basic protection from the spores or dust from the rapidly decomposed leaves.The rain may at least have reduced the problem but the damage is done.It underlines the absolute double standards and pig ignorance of some at LBE of what constitutes a genuine and immediate health hazards and the obsession with perceived and unverified health hazards.So rather than be prudent, they duck out and ignore residents.Absolutely shameful and hypocritical.

Raymond Havelock ● 277d8 Comments ● 250d

The MOST unfriendly pub in Ealing

Popped the following off to Mr Martin at J D Wetherspoon and awaiting response from Regional Manager. Enough is enough, if you claim to be operating a pub then make it a pub!Tim Martin,J.D. Wetherspoon CompanyDear Mr. Martin,As I aspire to be a gentleman IM giving you a 'heads-up' on the review that I have submitted to TripAdvisor on the Sir Michael Balcon in Ealing. It seems to match the general trend of reviews for this establishment. I note that in the past few days the opening hour in the morning seems to have changed from eight a.m. to 9 a.m. Is this correct?Yours sincerely,Mark J. Raymond,33, Creighton Road,Ealing, London, W5 4SHThe MOST unfriendly pub in EalingOh God! What have you done Tim Martin! What happened To Brexit and nice bar maids you could chat to like in the other pubs in Ealing. This has to be the unfriendliest pubs in Ealing where the staff are incapable of speech or do not want to speak. When pressed they say 'we have been spoken to about speaking to customers' whatever that means. Some professional bar staff not students from the University of West London would be welcome, people who do not feel 'threatened' by someone older than they are talking to them, that is, over 21. This is a pub not a politically correct crèche! Find some staff who are not babies!!!!!Oh, and why are customers not allowed to sit on bar stools alongside the bar - a most traditional British activity. Anyway, Tim, if there is any Brexit left in you, please could you restore the staff to speaking, and if necessary get the Wetherspoons board to send a letter to the management of this pub telling them to allow customers to sit at the bar on bar stools

Julian Raymond ● 263d8 Comments ● 257d