|Acton Central Ward Forum Meeting|
Sara Nathan reviews what went on at last night's local forum
Does the Acton Ward Forum make any decisions? Certainly not on money as was pointed out vociferously by councillors at the meeting last night – although the possibility of spending money locally was pledged years ago as an incentive to get local residents to attend.
But it looked likely that APPLE would get funds to finance its tree in the park project and that the Grassroots festival of performing arts in the Park in September might also receive funding. And, to complete a triad of Park-related applications, a contribution to the Acton Carnival on July 7th was well supported.
Apart from that, an highlight of a poorly-chaired meeting was a presentation from ARK, the charity due to be opening and running the new, all-new, Priory primary school. In spite of previous commitments from councillors, the whole of the existing Priory building is to be demolished to make way for the new school. But then residents now know that nothing said about the Priory and its future can be taken at face value. ARK runs eleven schools at the moment, mostly in London which, their representative told the meeting, get good, even “outstanding” Ofsted reports. The school will be an Academy and therefore centrally funded and not answerable to Ealing. But the councillors seemed happy with that.
Residents also met our new Safer Neighbourhoods Team leader, Sergeant Chris Cook who is taking over from the much-missed Mark Pullen. Sergeant Cook has experience of Anti-Social Behaviour work and wants to make street-drinkers on the Mount one of his priorities.
The meeting then discussed the Grafton Road one-way proposal. Councillors were critical of officers who had failed to show up to explain the proposal – which now includes , as an alternative, installing a couple of passing places instead. Apparently this is cheaper. Residents took a dim view of this idea and seemed keen on the one-way alternative. It was stressed that it would be important to consult people living in Messaline Avenue, Goldsmith Avenue, Cumberland Park and Baldwyn Gardens as well as residents of Grafton Road itself. All are likely to find themselves affected by the proposed change – though possibly for the better. The consultation is due to happen in July.
The meeting culminated in an engaged discussion of the concrete works and the pollution generated by the industrial area on Horn Lane. Articulate and angry residents explained that the recent development was made without planning permission and that justifying it after the fact was not, in their view, good enough. Councillors agreed that the current proposal should not be delegated to Ealing Council officers and that Councillor Crawford would ask for it to be decided at the planning meeting. That entails a site visit at which residents could make their views known. One resident raised the issue of the heavy lorries coming out of the industrial site and turning onto the road bridge which was unsuited to bear their load. Both councillors and the police said they would look into this.
The meeting ended with residents hoping that councillors would act to diminish pollution from the Horn Lane industries, that they would make speedy and appropriate decisions about spending the Ward Forum budget and that they would work effectively to see the Grafton Road one-way plan was progressed speedily.
May 24th 2012