|Gunnersbury Triangle Campaign Goes To Mayor|
Locals urged to write to Boris Johnson by Colonial Drive campaigners
Groups campaigning against the planned development at Colonial Drive have urged local people to write to the Mayor of London outlining why they oppose the plans.
Ealing Planning Council committee last week approved a proposal by The Blackstone Group to build an eight-storey high block of apartments adjacent to the Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve. The developers say it will bring much-needed accommodation into the area.
But local groups, HOOT(Hands Off Our Triangle), and AGSOS (Acton Green Save Our Skyline), along with local councillors, have pledged to continue to fight against the development. The decision is a Mayoral referral, due to the scale of the plans, hence the decision to carry their campaign to the office of Boris Johnson.
The campaigners feel that the development as currently envisaged will be detrimental to the wildlife and flora and fauna of the nature reserve, will cause parking congestion locally and, according to AGSOS, having 300 extra residents crammed into such a small area, is too dense. But the developers have denied that it will affect the nature reserve.
“The finding of our ecology survey was that no protected species would be threatened by the scheme and LWT and Natural England did not disagree with this conclusion.” said Andrew Bushby, Development Manager of The Blackstone Group.
He added that they were willing to work with local groups to ensure there were no "negative impacts" on the area (see full statement below).
Campaigners say they are not against development in general, but want the plans scaled down and moved back from the reserve.
Celebrities who have supported the campaign include actress Rula Lenska and TV botanist David Bellamy.
Jan Hewlett of Hoot said that everyone who cares about the nature reserve should write a letter to the Mayor in the next few days.
“People need to write their own letter, saying why they think the development is harmful, especially to the nature reserve. It doesn't have to be long and detailed, something short and personal is all that's needed. It can be an email attachment or hard copy by post, but not just an email. We need hundreds of letters to make anyone listen.”
Over 100 people protested at the recent site visit by Ealing Councillors and petitions with over 1900 signatures were submitted to Ealing Council prior to the planning meeting.
Carlo Laurenzi OBE, Chief Executive of London Wildlife Trust has described the development as "inappropriate".
‘It is the wrong development so close to this valued nature reserve and totally insensitive in its scale and height.
‘ The Planning Committee meeting showed the current planning system is unable to give a meaningful voice to concerned locals and organisations objecting to inappropriate development. London Wildlife Trust agrees with Natural England (the government’s environmental advisory body) that an Ecological Impact Assessment is needed to fully assess the effect of the development on the Statutory Local Nature Reserve.
‘This attitude is particularly surprising when you consider Gunnersbury Triangle was designated a statutory Local Nature Reserve by Ealing Council - for the part of the site within its jurisdiction - in 1991.’ The Triangle is also a Site of Metropolitan Importance for nature conservation.
The campaigners against the development say they are concerned about the potential damage to wildlife, as well as the likely negative impact on parking in local streets.
Councillors are shown the pond on the nature reserve
Those against the development want the buffer zone between the apartments and the reserve to be no less than 15m and planted with native species, and the height of the buildings to be no more than the highest buildings on the present site and preferably in scale with the tallest trees in the woodland.
Commenting on Ealing Council's decision to grant a planning consent for 2 Colonial Drive, Andrew Bushby, Development Manager at The Blackstone Group, said:
“We are pleased that the London Borough of Ealing has resolved to grant planning permission.
“Our proposals will deliver 124 much needed new homes for Ealing, including affordable homes, plus business start-up space and a crèche on what is currently an underused and poorly designed industrial site. We would also be creating a new pedestrian link to and from the northern end of Chiswick Park – a welcome new access point to this thriving business hub.
"We have worked hard to come up with a high quality scheme that would be sensitive to and respect Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve and understand how highly this is valued by local people. We therefore want to continue to work closely with the London Wildlife Trust, the local steering group and residents during the construction process as well as in the future to ensure that there are no negative impacts and that wherever possible we can help to improve the Reserve and its maintenance and management.
“The finding of our ecology survey was that no protected species would be threatened by the scheme and LWT and Natural England did not disagree with this conclusion.”
May 22, 2012