|MP Writes To Council About Oaks Application|
Telling them residents' views 'should be heard'
Local MP, Angie Bray, has told Ealing's head of Planning that the Oaks Shopping Centre development should be decided by a full planning committee - and she has now been reassured that this is what will happen.
The Acton Regeneration Company (ARC) has recently submitted revised plans to upgrade the centre in Acton High Street.
They include remodelling the existing shopping centre, a new supermarket and the construction of a three-floor multi-storey carpark. The mixed-use scheme will have 146 homes in an 11-storey tower.
Architects, Stock Woolstencroft, say they have toned down the original proposal removing the original tower which was dubbed 'The Periscope' by locals.
Jake Snell, project architect, told The Architect's Journal: ''We’ve listened to the concerns of residents and tried to address them wherever we can. The height has been reduced in some areas of the scheme and although the tallest element remains the same – 11 storeys – it has been revised to create a slimmer profile.''
However, the revised plans only recently came to light and W3 forum member, Sophie Lenain, who is due to move into a new flat in Newburgh Road, said it's all been too secretive:
'' I thought other local residents may like to know, if they don’t already, that the latest controversial plans were in fact submitted to planning on 27th July 2012. This news seems to have been kept very quiet - it is only with much investigation that I discovered this information. Some of you may like to know, that there is still time to act and there is an opportunity to comment and object to the plans.''
Ealing Central and Acton MP, Angie Bray, says she has already been contacted by many concerned residents who aren't happy with the way the Oaks planning application is progressing.
She has written to Ealing's Head of Planning Aileen Jones (printed with permission below)
The Oaks Shopping Centre, Acton High Street
Following on from my comments back in June on the plans for the Oaks Shopping Centre, as well as the many other concerns expressed to me by local residents in Acton and beyond, I’m disappointed to see that very little seems to have changed in the new plans that have been put forward. In particular, I’m disappointed that despite discussions around lowering the height of the so-called ‘periscope’ tower – which many residents, including myself, have pointed out is far too high for the area – the height of the tower is set to remain at eleven storeys high, a full eight storeys higher than the buildings which surround it.
My biggest concern, though, is that it appears the decision on this issue may go forward under delegated powers. Given that this is self-evidently an issue of great importance to the local community, I really do think that this must be discussed and debated by the full planning committee so that enough councillors are able to have their say and reflect the views of the residents they represent and whose views need to be properly heard.
Aileen Jones has now replied to Ms Bray and has reassured her that the application should go to full planning committe, she said:
''With regards to your concerns about the determination of the application, I agree with you that this proposal should be determined by Planning Committee. Indeed our procedures would require this should there be a recommendation for approval. I assume that you may be referring to the website where “Delegated or Committee” and “del/com” with a date is shown. This is the default wording which is built into our back office system, and is normally retained because we do not know until a later stage in processing what a recommendation may be.
''However, we have found that this is misleading for the public and in this case we have manually changed the wording to “Committee''.
The details of the application and the ‘opportunity to comment’ can be found here, using the Ealing Planning Application number PP/2012/3155
Current plans can also be found here here: www.theoaksacton.co.uk
21st August 2012