I attended part of the consultation session the council ran on the Ealing Development Framework on Thursday.
In many ways this was a very positive session. For starters there were about 150 people crammed into the Victoria Hall. Tory PPC for Ealing Central & Acton, Angie Bray, was there along with numerous councillors. Many of the faces were very familiar, dominated by residents’ association diehards. The session got off to a slightly shaky start as Cllr Millican, the portfolio holder for Regeneration and Transport, explained that it was not going to be a standard public meeting, where a few people dominate the room, but that we would get everyone to work on tables of ten. Some people didn’t like the idea but in the end it worked. There were five different aspects of the plan to discuss. My table discussed West Ealing and we had a useful hour on this. I will be interested to read the output from the people who were note taking.
I was struck by the age profile of those attending. The average age was about 60 and there were only three brown faces in the room.
The dominant opinion the room could probably be encapsulated in the line “we want to be like Chiswick”. The other line that kept coming back was that there was no overweening strategy or vision for the town centre.
The Save Ealing Centre group have been making much of the running in setting the terms of the public debate on the town centre redevelopment. Over the next few days I intend to look hard at some of Save Ealing Centre’s arguments because I believe that there is another side to the story and it needs to be told.
For instance, this posting appeared on Ealing Times’ website on Friday from a chap called Alex:
These Save Ealing Centre people are the same names as those in the Save Ealing’s Streets bunch aka GORDON RD GANG. First the tram, then the Leaf and now Dickens Yard. They resist EVERYTHING that threatens change and modernisation in Ealing Broadway from public transport improvements to much needed new homes. Its always a case of they are alright Jack and the rest of us can go eat cake. They’ve got their cars and their homes and they don’t care about anyone else. They don’t care if the next generation can’t get homes here or access to Ealing Broadway station in a reasonable amount of time. They only care about residents in their own very small central Ealing area, rather than the borough as a whole. They are a backward looking bunch who block developments that would bring benefits to a great many people, especially younger people who need small affordable units near tube stations to get to work into London in an environmentally friendly way. Their intransigence blocks much needed regeneration to Ealing Centre. Time for these conservative old timers to retire to Sandbanks and let the younger generation revitalise Ealing for all its residents.