Decision Day Looms For Colonial Drive Development

Hoot hoping Mayor will decide in their favour on nature reserve

Related Links

A decision by the Mayor of London on the controversial Colonial Drive development in Bollo Lane is expected to be made within the next few days.

Hoot, the local group campaigning to save the Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve, which is adjacent to the Blackstone development on Bollo Lane, is waiting anxiously for the result. They claim the application by Blackstone developers for flats, workspace and a day nursery, will have a severe impact on the Nature Reserve.

Their appeal is expected to go before the Deputy Mayor for Planning, Sir Edward Lister on Tuesday, October 2nd.

The Mayor’s office may support or reject Ealing's Council Planning Committee's decision in favour of the development, or may take over the planning application and negotiate with the developer before making a final decision.

Sir Edward advises the Mayor on strategic planning applications and has oversight of the London Plan.

Ealling Council’s Planning Committee approved the proposal by Blackstone last May for blocks of flats up to eight storeys high (124 in total), together with workspace, a nursery and a footbridge linking the area to Chiswick Business Park across the London Overground railway nearby. Local people had written over 400 letters of objection and a petition was signed by 1,700 people.

Hoot, who have several high-profile celebrities on their side, including Rula Lenska and Sir David Bellamy, say that two of the blocks reach right to the edge of the reserve, so that eight-storey buildings with balconies will loom over people walking the nature trail.

“Gunnersbury Triangle is a local beauty spot, home to woodpeckers, bats, hedgehogs, and a great variety of other wildlife, which was saved by the local community through a vigorous campaign back in 1983. It is treasured by the local community as a place to get away from it all, where you can feel as though you are out in the countryside, surrounded by the sights and sounds of wild nature. For small children it's a place of adventure, their little patch of wild forest, where they can go with their school and hunt for creepy crawlies or fish for tadpoles and other water creatures in the pond " says Hoot.

Mathew Frith, Deputy Director of London Wildlife Trust, which manages the nature reserve, said; “Whilst conservationists shy away from putting financial value on wildlife habits, developers know full well that a residential development site with a view over an attractive woodland, parkland or riverside will fetch more, other things being equal, than one looking over buildings or industrial sites. London Wildlife Trust feels that the developers' profits will come at an unacceptable loss in the quality of experience for visitors to the nature reserve, as well as some loss in nesting birds and deterioration in quality of habitats near the new buildings. It is as though part of the value of that natural beauty is being stolen away to enhance the developer's profits.

"Boris Johnson has placed a high priority on London's parks and green spaces during his Mayoralty, with many achievements to be proud of. London Wildlife Trust calls on him to respect the precious green space at Gunnersbury Triangle, to reject Blackstone's application as it stands and negotiate for a more sensitive development for Colonial Drive."


September 28, 2012