Residents and celebrity supporters want Boris Johnson to step in
A letter endorsed by residents, traders, councillors and local celebrities has been sent to Mayor Boris Johnson, urging he scrap current proposals for the Oaks.
Ealing Council has given the go-ahead for the controversial scheme to redevelop the site which promises a Waitrose, a new multi-storey car park and a gated community of 142 flats.
Opponents refer to the nine-storey 'monolith' as an 'alien intruder' which will overshadow the local community. They are requesting Mr Johnson's involvement to rethink the development.
Read the letter from the Oaks Action Group in full below:
Dear Mr Johnson,
Following Ealing Council’s dispiriting resolution to pass The Oaks development plans last
week, we - residents of Acton and a mass of other supporters - urgently request a
conversation with you.
Seemingly unloved for many years, The Oaks site in Acton is one of real strategic
importance, both within our community and for the surrounding neighbourhoods of Chiswick,
Ealing and Shepherd’s Bush. The site is one of London’s potential jewels: a wide open space
ripe for flagship regeneration located at the centre of an important transport hub, softened by
the lovely conservation areas surrounding it.
We, the supportive local community, were enormously enthusiastic about the idea of reviving
and transforming the site that currently separates the two primary thoroughfares of our town.
Very sadly, the developer – the Acton Regeneration Company (ARC) – and Ealing Council
have been blind to the transformational possibilities of this development, that distinctive
buildings here will inspire Acton to grow and flourish for generations to come. In addition, it
seems that the ARC and Ealing Council do not share your vision for strategic planning in
The plan approved by the council on 16 October 2013 addresses neither the tremendous
potential for this space to unite a diverse community nor the principle of ‘having the best of
modern architecture while also making the most of Londonʼs built heritage, taking into
account local context and character’ (London Plan 2011, paras 3.1, 3.4).
Demonstrating their entire lack of vision and with a grinding paucity of imagination, the council
approved – along party lines and by a majority of just one – plans that are clearly
unacceptable according to all but the lowest possible threshold of planning directives, and
which flagrantly defy your own guidance in the London Plan.
The nine-storey monolith planned for this site bears no relationship to the historic buildings,
consecrated ground or independent shops and restaurants it threatens to overshadow. An
alien intruder, it will be devoid of the public access and open space this location demands.
The London Plan 2011 says (para 3.3): ‘Addressing the spatial needs of Londonʼs people and
communities is essential to enable [residents and visitors] to enjoy and contribute to a safe,
secure, accessible, inclusive and sustainable environment.’ This plan actually acts against
Mr Johnson, you are well known for your ability to see the best in this great city of ours. We
ask you for that vision now. We have one chance. See The Oaks through our eyes. Please
meet with us and let’s rethink the regeneration in the heart of Acton now.
Signed by The Oaks Action Group
Anna Chancellor, actor
Emilia Fox, actor
Mark Kermode, film critic
Tasmin Little, violinist
Neil Latchman, opera singer
Jonathan Rugman, Channel 4 News
Toby Young, journalist
David Ashton, playwright
Angie Bray MP
Cllr David Millican
Cllr Colm Costello
Cllr John Popham
Cllr Ian M Potts
Cllr Mark Reen
Cllr William Young
Cllr Jon Ball
Robert Gurd, chairman, Ealing Civic Society
Revd David Brammer, St Mary's Parish Church
Revd Jon Westall, Church of St Dunstan & St Thomas
Sophie Harrowes, chair of governors, Derwentwater Primary School
Jacqueline Davis, chair, Goldsmiths Residents Assn
Richard O'Conor, chair, Shaa Road Residents Assn
Linda Taylor, chair, Churchfield Community Assn
Tony Bonaventura, Acton trader
Amanda Bretherton, business executive
Cathy Collis, TV producer
Laura Forsyth, Acton trader
Chiara Ghiggini, interior designer
Mitchell Jacobs, fashion designer
Tony Regbo, actor
Julian Gallant, pianist and conductor
2nd November 2013