14.4 C
Harrow on the Hill
Sunday, May 26, 2024
HomeNewsCouncil approves 412 student rooms near Ealing train station

Council approves 412 student rooms near Ealing train station

Ealing Council has approved the construction of 412 student rooms near West Ealing station.

The planning application received over 550 objections from residents associations, businesses and campaigners due to its controversial height.

The council recently released its new ’emerging’ local plan which is yet to be fully implemented, however, it does contain guidance within it that places storey limits on certain developments. According to this new local plan, the 17-storey construction would be in violation of its 13-storey limit.

Originally set to house 448 units and be 21 storeys tall, the planning application drew the ire of many in the area who say that resident’s privacy and access to sunlight will be affected.

The approved scheme will see existing buildings on the site demolished, including a Majestic Wines warehouse and the erection of one central 17-storey building alongside two shoulder towers which are 14 storeys and 5 storeys.

While presenting the plan to the planning committee, officer Gregory Gray stressed that although the buildings were listed as certain storeys they must be looked at from the perspective of their overall height. However, even with this taken into account the council’s own mock-ups showed that the main building fair exceeded the new local plans’ height limitations.

Council approves 412 student rooms near Ealing train station Harrow Online
Mock up of elevations for different buildings, Hastings Road, West Ealing. Permission for use by all LDRS partners. Credit: Ealng Council

This was pointed out by Caroline Evans who represented objectors at the meeting. She said “This development makes a complete mockery of Ealing’s new development plan which the council and thousands of local people spent several years working on.

“The plan says that developments should not be more than 13 storeys or 45 metres. This proposal is nearly 55 metres and breaches that.

“If the council caves to the first developer to challenge their plan it will mean Ealing’s plan can be ignored by all developers.”

Ms Evans continued to argue that the site should be reserved for building more housing for residents rather than students and that the outsized scale of the development would overshadow the surrounding 2-3-storey houses.

A representative of the construction company also spoke reminding the committee of the project’s delivery of 35 per cent affordable student accommodation, the scheme’s environmental credentials which include green landscaping, payment of £1m for various public works and the economic value of having students in the area.

When it was finally time for the committee to address the application it was clear that the level of opposition from locals had swayed some councillors into rejecting the proposal.

Several councillors expressed their concerns over the height, with Cllr Anthony Young going so far as to say he had ‘serious concerns’ with the plan.

He added: “If we agree to this, we will be breaking our own plan,” before saying he would reject it. Others were more on the fence including Cllr Driscoll who raised concerns around the height and said he was ’50/50′ about the project.

The project would mean that students would no longer be in the rental market taking pressure off the private rented sector, he added. In response to councillors’ concerns about sunlight and privacy, Mr Gray said that relevant tests had been conducted and officers had decided that the distance of neighbouring properties was sufficient to not be unduly affected.

The application was approved by a majority vote with eight approving, three rejecting and one abstaining.