Monday 14 November 2016

Residents call for wider and extended consultation on controversial Ealing Road Library plans

Ealing Road Library (centre) set back from Ealing Road
Residents around Ealing Road Library, Wembley, are calling for the consultation plans on the development of the Ealing Road Library site in Ealing Road to be extended on the grounds that few residents knew about the plans and the very limited circulation of letters asking for views on the plans.  In addition the notice of the planning  application posted near the library was obscured.

 The plans envisage bringing forward the boundary of the library to the pavement edge by building a community enterprise hub on one side and a 'tea house' cafe on the other  with a courtyard between the two that could be used for community events, a market or an outdoor cinema.

According to the application the aim is to bring more outside visitors into an area that residents advise is already congested.

As with many such developments residents feel that the application has been hidden from them and now that they have found out about it there is too little time to respond. They question whether the Council has fulfilled its statutory responsibilities in terms of consultation.

One of the application documents found on-line states:

The investment will deliver a new cafe, a new public space and a community and enterprise hub which will be used for gathering, extended library activities, performance, market days and other events that will attract local and London wide visitors.  The project is the first element in the wider series of Gem Chain projects which aim to attract visitors London-wide to Ealing Road and reinstate the place’s status as a premier high street place.
 Local residents concerns  are as follows:

The poorly promoted consultation with poorly sited planning notice dated 27th October which states deadline for comments on the application is 17th November - just three weeks?  Also the planning notice states docs would only available to view on line from 2nd November – so not even the full three weeks to study the docs and comment if you are able to access them on line, a lot of older residents are not?  Why such a short amount of time for local people to comment? When pushed the library finally had hard copies to view on from 11th November, over two weeks already into the consultation period.

Developing the library space and re-promoting Ealing Road as a major shopping destination could have a further serious impact on the environment for local residents who are concerned about the potential of even more traffic in grid locked Ealing Road, more pollution, more noise pollution and more rubbish on local streets.  Ealing Road is already gridlocked most weekends.  If shoppers are coming to buy in bulk or buy gold or buy expensive clothes they will want to come by car – they will not want to come by bus or tube!  Yet Montrose Crescent car park is being closed to build flats, so if they also close the small library car park and also loose around 10 spaces from the slip road outside the library due to the forecourt being extended what other parking provision is going to be offered – will they take away resident only parking bays and allow shoppers to use them?

These plans have clearly been drawn up and put together over a considerable period of time and considerable expense with no apparent consideration for these issues and their impact on local council tax-paying residents who believe the consultation needs to be re-promoted and the deadline for comments extended:

(a)       there are lot of local people who would not have seen the planning notice due to the poor location of the planning notice;
(b)      there are lot of local people who would not have heard anything about this development due to lack of information locally;
(c)       there are lot of local people who do not have Internet access to view the plans on line - if they do go to the library to view them on-line it is very time consuming to try and look through the 42 individual documents on your website, these should be printed out and put on display in Ealing Road Library;
(d)      there are lot of local people who are not able to get up to the Civic Centre to view the plans at all (lack of mobility, traffic problems, parking restrictions, etc);
(e)       there are lot of local people who are not able to get to the Civic Centre to view the plans between 9-5pm during weekdays (people who work, have childcare or family commitments etc);
(f)       some local residents don’t even know how to use a computer yet there is no address on the planning notice for people to write to should they wish to comment on the application.

The Planning Application(Ref 16/4527) can be found HERE

This is one of the main documents supporting the application:

Click bottom right for full view

1 comment:

Vikash Patel said...

From a fairly unique perspective a local and an Architect, my view is that re-development of this library in principal is a step forward.
However, I agree with this article in that the council should have provided more consultation - to comment on the 'architecture' and community aspects.
Regarding the concerns about parking, surely the outside of a library shouldn't be used as parking for shoppers? It should be a active space for the community. Car parking in this location creates dead space and is detrimental to an area in which competes with other shopping areas.