Ealing and Northfield

SEC admit that their chairman was biased

Last Monday after SEC’s town hall meeting I commented that the chairman, the BBC’s Stephen Sackur, had failed to be objective. I said:

He referred to the Conservative team as “you lot”. He called the Glenkerrin Arcadia scheme an “insane idea” (compare this with the language of the planning inspector: “The evidence to the Inquiry demonstrated that the appeal proposal would deliver a number of substantial benefits, which would fulfil some important objectives of development plan policy.”) When one guy at the back talked in favour of tall buildings Sackur ridiculed him. He talked about property developers making “frankly millions for themselves”. He asked: “Why is Ealing’s shopping rubbish?” He asked: “Why is the cinema project completely buggered?”. Whatever Sackur is, objective he is not.

The whole session failed to provide much illumination. Sackur didn’t even try to run a useful meeting.

My fears have been inadvertantly confirmed today on the Ealing Today forum. SEC activist Arthur Breens says:

Over 400 people turned up to the Town Hall just over a week ago to hear prospective parliamentry candidates and councillors explain their ideas for the development of Ealing Town Centre.

Steven Sackur trounced Cllr. David Millican (Cabinet member in charge of regeneration and transport). He visibly struggled to explain, promote or defend his brief. You began to feel sorry for him but then you wondered why was he on the stage at all?

Funny behaviour for a chairman. No wonder Cllr Millican was on the defensive. Breens has let the cat out of the bag. Ooops.

At least I think Breens is associated with SEC. SEC refuse to publish any accounts, minutes of meetings or lists of officers so it is hard to know who they are or what they are trying to achieve. They are not transparent and they are certainly not accountable to anyone.

7 replies on “SEC admit that their chairman was biased”

Trounce means to “defeat heavily”.

“He [i.e. Millican] visibly struggled to explain, promote or defend his brief.”

It’s obvious to /me/ what this means. Even if it’s not obvious to you.



I can read. You are making my point for me. Although the meeting was billed as a debate with a chairman, who you would normally expect to be neutral, you confirm that Sackur had an agenda that he was promoting and it was not clarity and understanding.


You have have an issue with SEC whcih represents more than twenty residents associations.

The members of the residents associations do actually live in the borough and in the affected wards. Unlike most of the councillors and council officers.



I don’t have a problem with SEC. They are potentially very useful. They do have a lot of good ideas. I do fear they are in the grip of their “provisional wing” and not really systematically accountable to the residents associations they purport to represent. They give the impression that they represent established property owners in the town centre rather than the whole population.

There is a lot we can do to improve public transport in the Borough but it does not really help anyone to create an unaffordable vision and then to blame the council for not jumping to it (when it is very clearly not a council responsibility). We have clearly set out what our priorities are and we will fix roads, build schools, improve parks, etc before we give TfL large lumps of capital. Sorry.

SEC have opposed the large developments in the town centre. This is understandable but they seem to be in a position where they are against any town centre residential which is a nonsensical in my view.

SEC are promoting an arts centre. I could list the white elephants this thinking has produced but until the promoters of any arts project can come up with some user demand and thinking about business planning we cannot make much progress. It is hard to see why we should have a professional theatre in Ealing when we already have the country’s most successful amateur theatres. I would rather put money into Questors than a professional theatre. If you want that take a 65 bus to Richmond (quick and cheap) or get on the Piccadilly line – you will be in one of many West End theatres in less than an hour starting from anywhere in Ealing.


Councillor Taylor,

You do seem unduly exercised by what seem to you like a bunch of undocumented, unelected, unaccountable, irresponsible rebels. If SEC is, in your view, so informal and amateur, just why are you getting so excited about it?

Stephen Sackur appeared to speak the truth and as an Ealing resident made his views known to the 400 residents. Presumably Councillor Millican attended and spoke in order to explain Council policy on town centre housing, transport, retail, regeneration etc. Over 90% of the audience who were polled at the meeting were unhappy with Conservative Council policies in these areas.

However we must all complement you on at least expressing your views here in a sort of public forum. Even though you did not speak at the meeting of the 400, at least you turned up. Which is more than can be said for:

Ealing Council Chief Executive: Martin Smith
Ealing Council Leader: Councillor Jason Stacey
Ealing Council Deputy Leader: Councillor Ian Gibb
Ealing Council Cabinet Member for Housing: Councillor Will Brooks
Ealing Council Executive Director Regeneration: Pat Hayes



It seems you too are confirming that Sackur did not act as a neutral chairman contrary to billing. You are also refusing to engage with my two main points as is Will French who claimed to be interested in what I had to say in response to him but has failed to comment further.

I didn’t call SEC irresponsible but we will find that Ealing’s town centre is blighted for many years if we get a reputation for killing everything. That is why SEC needs to address the issues I raise rather than rant about the council which is not the evil empire that the provisional wing of SEC makes out.


Councillor Taylor,

SEC called a meeting at which local politicians were given the chance to publicly articulate and defend a range of town centre policies. SEC spent its own cash to deliver the politicos an audience of 400. Wow…it couldn’t get any better than that for giving your lot the chance to set out your Conservative stall!

As for home buildng in the centre, the 2004 SPG and site brief agreed between LBE and local residents stated that 250 homes could be built in Dickens Yard. LBE however approved 698 homes being built by St George in Dickens Yard.

I retired in 2004 and soon after that I started discovering about my local community. After five years of ‘learning’, I’m now adamant that no homes should be built in Ealing centre until an ITH is built. LBE should tell this to regional government. I’m soon coming round to the conclusion that a similar approach needs to be taken with education, healthcare, and law and order.

Ealing town centre has been ‘withering’ for years. Doing the wrong things in the centre will not help. We need to do the right things. SEC’s Vision is a collection of right things. LBE’s current vision (such as it is ) is a wrong thing.

There is nothing provional about me BTW.


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