Councillors Claim They Are Being Gagged on Bollo Lane Towers

Ward reps say they are not allowed to speak at planning meeting

Cllrs Gary Malcolm and Andrew Steed close to the site of the development Cllrs Gary Malcolm and Andrew Steed close to the site of the development


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Local councillors representing wards in Chiswick they have been refused permission to speak at a forthcoming Ealing Council planning meeting that will consider a massive development on the borders of Chiswick and Acton.

A proposal by TfL to build ten tower blocks including a 25 storey high skyscraper to be called Bollo Brook House close to the level crossings on Bollo Lane is due to be discussed at the virtual meeting on 20 January.

The Liberal Democrat councillors have been told that they are not allowed to speak at the meeting because the development is not in their ward. It is situated just over the boundary in South Acton ward.

They argue that they should be able to represent the views of their constituents as many live just a few metres from the ward border and they will be the most severely impacted by the development.

The committee has a Labour majority and it is widely expected that it will endorse the proposal.

Liberal Democrat Southfield Councillor Gary Malcolm remarked, “The Labour-led administration has been trying to silence representatives from a hugely affected area from speaking at the Planning Committee meeting. I have received hundreds of petition signatures from angry residents in my ward opposing these tall, monstrous developments. There also are over 600 other people who have objected to the development on the Council’s website.

“Southfield residents shall not be silenced into submission. I will continue to fight for my constituents who will suffer from the negative impact by the monstrous towers. I shall be posting my planned speech on the YouTube meeting comments section, where the live broadcast of the meeting will take place, whether the planning committee wants it or not. As an elected ward representative, I believe it is my duty to submit these petitions live at the meeting and present my constituents’ concerns.”

Visualisation of Bollo Brook House from Bollo Lane
Visualisation of Bollo Brook House from Bollo Lane

Cllr Jo Biddolph, who represents Turnham Green ward on Hounslow Council which also is next to the site of the development says she was also refused permission to speak at the meeting but has been permitted to send comments to the clerk to the committee.

She described the lack of opportunity for representatives to speak as a 'denial of democracy' and added, "Chiswick will soon be surrounded by tall buildings - the 32-storey Chiswick Curve has been rejected but something will come in its place. The Fourth Mile development of high rise blocks has been proposed for the B&Q site. Opposite at 250 Gunnersbury Avenue there are plans for tall blocks of flats. Power Road has been identified as part of the "opportunity area" linked with Brentford's Golden Mile.

"They are all being proposed ad hoc with no thought of their collective impact on the character of Chiswick, a character that people who live here value and respect. And they are being proposed by a council that does not regard itself to have anything to do with Chiswick yet residents of Ealing's Southfield ward are just as much Chiswick residents as those who live in Turnham Green ward which extends to TfL's land around Acton Lane tube station and includes the Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate.

"Greater co-ordination is needed between the two councils, at a political level as well as at officer level, to consider the impact on Chiswick of this scheme, and the others proposed and to come, that are slowly enclosing Chiswick in tall buildings. Chiswick will be stuck in the shadow of these buildings instead of being allowed to stand proud in its own right."

The Planning Meeting takes place at 7pm on Wednesday 20 January. You can view the meeting live on Ealing Council’s YouTube channel.

TfL are planning phased construction over five years with work beginning at each end of the site and working towards the middle. Originally it was hoped that construction could have started this Spring but the project has been delayed due to the coronavirus.

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January 17, 2021

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