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

Day 6: Wednesday 1st July 2009 | July 2, 2009

Glenkerrin’s QC Russell Harris went into attack mode today with Will French, SEC’s Chair. Will was speaking on Planning issues. Mr Harris doggedly, head down-style pursued the primacy of Ealing’s Metropolitan Centre (MC) status. This top down approach conflicted with Will’s bottom up approach with regards to Ealing’s incomplete Local Development Framework.(LDF). Mr Harris twice alluded to his work for the Mayor of London on updates to The London Plan (TLP).

It was indeed a tour de force by Mr Harris as he played national, regional, sub-regional and local standards like a one man orchestra. He laboured the point that at all planning guidance levels Ealing needed more comparison retail. He dealt with retail, housing, tall buildings, Site 63 policy, plot ratios and prematurity. Mr Harris’s insider knowledge of TLP and how it had and was transitioning was impressive as was his knowledge of the saved portions of Ealing’s UDP. Will French, whilst no slouch in planning guidance knowledge, had to bow to the QC’s superior knowledge on numerous occasions. Will made the points many times to the Inspector that many Ealing residents were very unhappy with this proposal; felt disenfranchised by local and regional governments’ reluctance to honour publicly agreed Supplementary Planning Guidelines; and continually felt that much Arcadia information concerning discussions involving TfL, CABE, Crossrail, Ealing Council, Glenkerrin, and The London Mayor’s office failed to make it into the public domain.

Will said that we had empty retail units in our town centre and that the economy is changing but Mr Harris was not deterred by this. He continued to demonstrate certainly to himself that Arcadia ticked all the inter-galactic planning guidelines. The elephant in the room when Mr Harris finished this exposition was that if what he’d demonstrated was true, why did national government take away from local  and regional governments the power to decide the Arcadia Planning Application?

Next up was Bob Gurd Chair of Ealing Civic Society (ECS) talking about ESC’s views on Arcadia. Bob was a career civil servant and was having none of Mr Harris’s Paxman like bullying. We got into looking at Professor Tavernor’s and Bob Gurd’s pics of  how Ealing might look with Arcadia in place. Lots of subjectivity here as one might expect along with lots of ‘Answer the question’ truculence from Mr Harris.

The final performance of a very long, hot day was from Anthony Lewis speaking on behalf of Ealing Area Conservation panels. Anthony began his evidence with a simple but powerful assertion that the harm to Conservation Areas which would accrue from implementing Arcadia amounted to serious damage. He followed this up with an interesting and amusing reflection on how The Applicant’s £multi-million rafting over the railway line was solving the non-problem of re-connecting both sides of the railway line. Those who actually live in Ealing know that the well established Springbridge and Broadway railway bridges – just 150 metre apart – provide all the north/south connectivity that anyone might sensibly require. Anthony is back on again at 9:30am on Thursday.

The sound system actually worked properly today – still, it’s only taken five days to fix this. Ealing Council has finally agreed to help the Rule 6 parties with the mountain of photocopying and paper that the Inquiry is requiring.

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Posted in regeneration

1 Comment »

  1. I was quite heartened by your robust and reasoned appearance this morning. The beaky Council lady went her hole-picking way, not always as tidily as she would have liked, but didn’t see that a hole here or there wouldn’t weaken the overall fabric of SEC’s case. She was doing what lawyers do, but let’s hope that the inspector is on to all this and will form an independent opinion.
    Your blog is a very entertaining but also useful distillation of an at times turgid process. Loved “regenerates”.

    Comment by Tony Williams — July 2, 2009 @ 6:43 pm


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About author

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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