St. Alban's Church Development Latest

Another chance for residents to give their opinion

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The future of the St. Alban’s Church on Acton Green is under discussion again, and local people are advised to make their views known to Ealing Council.

The controversial planning application for development on the site is expected to come before the Ealing Planning Committee meeting on July 25th, although this date is not yet confirmed.

However, the Council needs responses from local residents by mid-July to the application by the developer to build ten residential flats, a two-storey childrens’ nursery and a detached house on the site of the former Church.

Even if residents have previously responded to the application, they need to do so again according to local councillor Gary Malcolm (Lib Dem).

Previous planned meetings to discuss the application had been delayed as the Council sought extra paperwork from the developer, and it is understood that this further information has now been received by the Ealing Planning department.

A site visit by Councillors on the Planning Committee would take place on the Saturday morning before the Committee meeting.

Councillor Gary Malcolm said : "There are numerous grounds to oppose the application. The main argument against the development is the change of use. I do not believe alternative community uses have been explored by the developer. The Southfield Liberal Democrats believe that several community options do now exist.”

Angie Bray MP for Ealing Central and Acton said : "This church building is an important part of the community and provides a well-loved backdrop to Acton Green. It currently houses just a nursery school and could therefore provide valuable extra space for community activities.

We local residents are concerned about the idea of cramming a number of residential units into this space as we do not think that will work well with the local environment and we are all aware that there are many important community groups that need space in which to operate. Private residential development would be a disappointing outcome for this mainly disused building."

Some of the proposals currently being proposed by people in Chiswick include an Anglican primary school, a theatre and cafe, or use of the premises by the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

The St Albans (W4) Community Association will speak against the development at the planning committee meeting. Councillor Andrew Steed, will be speaking against the plans as well as Cllr Malcolm.

To submit your views to Ealing Council please click on the following link, quoting the planning reference number P/2010/5108:

Residents inside Church - picture by Ian Wylie

A decision on the controversial development was expected to be made at a planning committee meeting at Ealing Town Hall last November but deferred. A report by a council official has recommended granting planning permission to the developer, subject to conditions. The Chiswick-based group ,SACA, collected a petition of 4,500 signatures opposed to the plan, and want the building to be kept for community use.

St. Alban's, a Victorian red-brick structure which was built in 1888, ceased to be a functioning Church of England parish church in the late 1990s and was then used by evangelical mission the Oak Tree Anglican fellowship, which relocated to Acton in 2006, finding it unsuitable due to the need for renovation and difficult accessibility.

In recent years there has been a growing fashion for former churches to be converted into residential accommodation as the church-going population declines throughout the UK.

The current application before the council is for conversion of the disused church building into ten residential flats and the demolition of the former church hall building and second outbuilding, currently occupied by the Caterpillar Montessori group. This would be replaced with two two-storey 'pavilion' type structures, one to provide a replacement nursery school facility and the other a detached house. It is understood there is a contract for sale subject to planning permission between the Church of England and a local developer. In 2006 when the vicarage of St. Alban's was sold it fetched a price of £3.2million, the highest price ever paid for residential property in Chiswick at that time.

The initial application to convert the building was made last December.

July 2, 2012