TV Presenter Leads Criticism of Friary Park Plans
Sean Fletcher questions why flats are being marketed in Middle and Far East
A national TV presenter is leading calls for the huge Friary Park development to be rejected.
Sean Fletcher who presents the BBC’s “Sunday Live” and ITV’s “GMB” breakfast show is one of the key campaigners against the revised plans.
The scheme to build over 900 new housing units near Acton Mainline Station is currently the subject of a public consultation with residents’ views asked for before 8 November. The developer Mount Anvil has previously been criticised for not adequately consulting with local scheme as its plans have emerged.
Initially the scheme was for buildings of up to 24 storeys high but the latest plans include a 37-storey and a 29 storey block.
Mr Fletcher says, “In a meeting with the developers, Mount Anvil told me that the reason for wanting to build higher was because they had lost money during Covid and after Brexit. And we know about Mount Anvil’s failed venture in Manchester. As a result, they are now having to make a much higher profit on their London developments. This 68% tower increase has nothing to do with providing more social housing. It’s all about increasing profits.”
Despite the increase in size, none of the additional homes are ‘affordable rent homes’, but 64 of the flats will be shared ownership and 90 will be private homes. The site originally housed the Walls ice cream factory until being demolished with housing constructed onsite in a development originally opened by then Labour leader Neil Kinnock,
The development, which is a joint enterprise between Catalyst Housing and Mount Anvil, has also faced criticism for marketing the properties to Hong Kong and Middle Eastern buyers before advertising them in the UK.
A video also appeared which shows Knight Frank HK giving a tour of Friary Park Estate with potential buyers in Hong Kong.
It is also being marketed as “Arab friendly” and an investment opportunity
Mr Fletcher said, “I am shocked to see that developers are marketing the Friary Park flats as investment properties in the Middle and Far East ahead of Londoners. The people of Ealing and London don’t want their community to be turned into an investment hub for the global rich. There has to be a question about whether Ealing is being exposed to money laundering.”
Rupa Huq, the MP for Ealing Central and Acton also attended a meeting with the developers, and she said, “The revised plans are unnecessarily high and completely mismatched to the Edwardian and Victorian surrounding streets. Additionally, it’s shocking that precious little of this oversized monster will actually be for homes for local locals, despite previous promises. This does nothing to help 10,000 people on Ealing Council’s housing waiting list who need a roof over their heads and instead will be an expensive piggy bank for overseas investors to park their cash. Given the way there is less and less demand for flats in the covid era, I’d say if anything this development needs reducing in size, scale and scope. The last Acton needs is this expanded white elephant”.
The Leader of Ealing Council, Peter Mason met with local Acton residents to discuss the development and in a recent tweet he said, “I do not believe that the planned increase in the height of the towers at this site is appropriate, proportional or necessary. A regeneration scheme for the Friary Park estate, put forward by Mount Anvil and Catalyst, has been approved by the Council’s planning committee, and these organisations should be concentrating on delivering a scheme that they considered viable and deliverable less than two years ago. I strongly agree that developers rapidly returning to seek very substantial amendments to already approved developments, as is happening here, generates understandable cynicism and public concern about how the planning system operates.”
The new plan for the Friary Park development
Catalyst Housing said, “In July we launched a consultation on the proposed enhancements to our plans for Friary Park and we’re now extending this online consultation. It will be running for two further weeks from Monday 25 October 2021 to allow as many people as possible to have their say.”
A community-led campaign group called Cap the Towers has also been set up by Acton residents to oppose the housing development’s proposed increase in size.
If you wish to make a comment on the plans you can do so by clicking here.
Completion of the project is currently scheduled for 2027.
October 26, 2021