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At a meeting last week, Cllr Jason Stacey, Leader of the Council, addressed Acton Business Forum. The purpose of the meeting was to talk about the Acton Development Framework, which has publicized on this website and is available to download (all 77 pages of it) on the Ealing council website.

Cllr Stacey said that he decided to publish all the consultants' recommendations whether he agreed with them or not in order to stimulate debate and that it might take up to 2026 to implement what might be agreed. "We want to allow interested parties to have their say before coming forward with response recommendations."

Cllr Stacey admists that various elements in the plan, especially those involving heritage buildings in Acton, are bound to be controversial. "But it's important to have a good discussion about the strengths and weaknesses."

He went on to say that his overall impression of the current Framework plan was that it is a "good start."

"We have to ask "what is Acton?" as it is changing - there is an influx of affluence into the area and this brings with it different demands. It is important to decide what people want: a 'traditional' High Street, or one which is more boutiquey (like Chiswick).

"As it is, Acton is failing to attract outside visitors and a staggering £3 out of every £4 spent by residents is spent outside the Borough."

Currently, the plan is to work within the constraints of heritage buildings. Some of the elements to be discussed are:

- a new retail space underneath the Town Hall
- a new swimming pool (25 or 50 metres) as there are maintenance issues with the current one
- what to do with the Priory Centre which is a building many people feel passionately about, but which is reaching the end of its useful life. The plan is for it to become a community space
- The Oaks which hasn't worked. The Council is in discussion with the owners on how the shopping centre could be transformed and incorporated into the plan
- £2 million has been allocated for "public realm improvement" including changes to street furniture

Cllr Stacey said the consultation will be open until November this year and there will be a public meeting to which all residents are to be invited on Tuesday July 1st in Acton Town Hall at 6.30pm.

June 13, 2008