I chaired Planning Committee in September, where applications ranged from a small development of four homes on an in-fill site on a residential street to a 24-storey tower at North Acton. We had a little excitement as protesters disrupted the meeting for a short while, and we also approved plans to bring Popefield playing field back into use for community sport.
At Health Scrutiny we had an update from West London Mental Health Trust following their very disappointing CQC inspection results last year. There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes to improve the Trust’s performance, and we’ll continue to monitor this. One problem they face is common across the public sector: the extraordinary cost of living in London and the continuing downward pressure on wages makes it hard to recruit the committed and skilled staff they need to perform well. Our continued investment in new homes in the borough – of all tenures – helps feed supply into the housing market, but we need Government action to really make a difference.
If you’ve been following the Heller House story, you’ll be pleased to hear that two alternative options for in-borough respite provision are due to be presented to Cabinet in November. Details aren’t yet available but this is thanks to the excellent campaigning of parents of vulnerable children who have spoken very movingly at OSC over the last few months.
Finally, work has started along The Mall as part of our ‘mini-Holland’ cycling scheme. This is going to cause some short-term traffic disruption until it’s finished, when we will have much better facilities between Ealing Common and Ealing Broadway. A huge proportion of all trips by car are under 2 miles, so providing safe infrastructure to encourage people out of cars and onto bikes is a real priority. The newly established Ealing Cycling Commission will be looking at further ways to make the borough more cycling friendly.
South Acton news
Work on the new estate masterplan has been finished, and the new version is now being consulted on with stakeholders before residents across the estate are updated on their new move dates and locations. The impetus for this work was feedback from residents that they wanted to remain close to where they already lived, that more residents were choosing to stay on the estate rather than move away, and general learning through the last four years of the current plan. If you’re affected, please get in touch and I can let you know more.
The Education Funding Agency has purchased the Acton college site to provide a new high school for Acton. This will be run by Ark as an academy, as local authorities are no longer allowed to open new maintained schools. Ark already run two primary schools – Byron and Priory – and feedback from parents is excellent. Opening in 2019, this will create much needed extra capacity to cope with a growth in the school age population that we’ve already catered for at primary level.
I attended the licensing service with Rupa for the new associate rector of Acton, Rev Dean Ayres, who’ll be based at All Saint’s with a remit to provide ministry to Acton Gardens. He’s well known in Ealing and has lived in Acton for a number of years already, so we’re looking forward to working with him.
As ever, do get in touch with myself, Yvonne or Mik if you have any questions, problems or just want to chat!
With best wishes,
Josh, Yvonne and Mik