eric's daily blog - a very personal view of the arcadia public inquiry

Day Before the Inquiry Starts: Monday, 22nd June 2009 | June 23, 2009

All combatants must be marshalling their troops and materials today – SEC certainly is. It’s become clear that the batting order will be Glenkerrin going in first for a few days; followed by Ealing Council, again for a few days; then followed by the so-called ‘Rule 6’ parties of which SEC is one; and I suppose anyone else.

SEC has hired a smart, youngish Planning Barrister called Tom Cross who works at the Chambers of a Robin Purchas QC, situated just behind El Vino’s wine bar at Middle Temple in W1’s lawyer land. Tom will question Glenkerrin’s and Ealing Council’s speakers – just like in a criminal trial.

Over 360 people in Ealing have given over £20,000 to pay SEC’s legal costs – and the money is still coming in. SEC has worked hard to raise this cash, but the volume and variety of contributions shows the depth and breadth of opposition to the Arcadia plans.

SEC/ECS/Conservation Area Panels speakers include Bob Gurd, Anthony Lewis, Nick Woodward, James Guest, Will French, Tony Miller and myself. Professor Sir Peter Hall is also expected to speak for our side. English Heritage is also expected to speak.

Glenkerrin (‘The Applicant’) appears not to be speaking itself, but will be represented by an expensive barrister and highly paid planning, ‘urban design’ and architectural experts.

As I understand it, Ealing Council’s speakers include Dick Johns, Neil Bleakley and Brendon Walsh, Ealing’s planning supreme. Aileen Jones is apparently unlikely to speak. Ealing Council’s famous penchant for missing deadlines seems to be holding up as they seem to have missed the deadline date for submitting so called ‘Proofs of Evidence’ by two whole days.

I’ve been advised not to expect luxurious facilities to be provided (and to be paid for) by Ealing Council to accommodate the visiting warring factions. Three weeks ‘accommodation’ – such as it might be – will be provided in the 1889-built and little updated Ealing Town Hall. Of course the home team – Ealing Council – has local facilities in the Town Hall itself and in Perceval House next door, which have not as yet been offered to the opposing, visiting teams. It would of course have created a much more level playing field if this event had been held in a large, central Ealing hotel. As there isn’t such a facility, perhaps the Ramada Jarvis at Ealing Common could have been used. With Ealing Council announcing only last week its ‘…strong (financial) reserves…’, it might have been more appropriate for Ealing Council to have hosted the Inquiry in an environment with facilities consistent with those expected in the 21st century; and to have offered free meeting facilities to all involved parties.

My final pre-Inquiry comment is that how could it be remotely possible for a normal, in-paid employment, concerned Ealing resident to attend this three week event as an observer, never mind as a participant?


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A local residents’ group – West Ealing Neighbours (WEN) - Also runs WEN Abundance. We pick unwanted fruit and turn it into juice, cordial, jam and chutney to sell in the local area. All profits are ploughed back into the project. Please email wenabundance@gmail.com If you are interested in volunteering, or have a fruit tree to pick!

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