Oaks Redevelopment is 'Missed Opportunity' Says MP

Angie Bray writes to the Director of Planning



Council is 'Minded to Support' Oaks Development

Controversial New Plans For The Oaks

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The Ealing Central and Acton MP, Angie Bray has written to the council's Director of Planning, Aileen Jones, about proposals to redevelop the Oaks shopping centre.

In her letter - published below - the MP expresses her concern and disappointment.

Dear Aileen,


I was briefed today by John Bourne of Express Park Investments about their revised plans to redevelop the Oaks Shopping Centre and I would like to raise with you some of my concerns as a result.

My over-riding impression is that this is a missed opportunity for the centre of Acton. The plans seem to be very limited but at the same time will generate considerable concern from local residents.

In essence what they are proposing is little more than to build a new supermarket with a revamped carpark and 149 new residential units, some in an eleven storey tower which in itself raises questions about suitability given its location adjoining the Churchfield Conservation

I was disapointed that, effectively, the only regeneration of the shopping centre itself will be the new supermarket and that the rest will remain largely untouched for some years to come except perhaps for a new entrance and some tidying up inside. I appreciate that there
may be some issues around some of the leases held by some of the retailers in the shopping mall but surely they can't be allowed to prevent a wider and desirable redevelopment of what is an important retailing centre for Acton. We are all in agreement that there is a critical need for major improvements to Acton High Street - this is certainly not going to meet those expectations as the plans stand.

I do like plans to open up the St. Mary's burial ground to the public with easier access but these proposals still remain vague and there is great uncertainty about how this can be done. Will there still be a wall, a fence or will the boundary between the shopping centre and the
burial ground be left entirely open for example? Are there discussions about what happens to the burial ground itself in terms of being prepared for wider public use?

I also have concerns about introducing more residential units into the community without full preparation of local infrastructure to support them such as school places, GPs etc. I appreciate that there is to be a new primary school on the Priory Centre site but as I understand it,
these places are already easily spoken for as the classes in the school come on stream. Where are the extra places going to come from? Parking will also be an issue as there will be limited parking provided on site.

My other worry is that the new residential buildings will not fit well with the local architectural environment, especially the metal "screen" which is proposed for cladding the exterior walls. This
needs much more exploration.

Overall my feeling is that there remain many legitimate questions which residents need clarity on. Many feel disappointed that this development is scarcely going to provide the community with a sense of progress and regeneration which will work with its aspirations. I was
also surprised to hear that one of the council's regeneration officers told a packed meeting recently that the council is minded to approve the planning application when it is submitted. Does this mean that minds are already made up?

Yours sincerely,

Angie Bray MP





May 31st 2012


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