Why the Liberal Democrats Opposed Bollo Lane Tower

Andrew Steed comments after planning committee approves plan for 96 flats

Visualisation of the planned building. Picture: Alistair Downie


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The planning application for 93 Bollo Lane was passed this Thursday night (18 November) at a meeting of the Ealing Borough Planning Committee. This is not the biggest development at 96 flats, nor will it be the tallest building on Bollo Lane. But it does however, mean that over the next couple of years there will be over 1500 new dwellings on this narrow road.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Jon Ball voted against the development.

I spoke against the application in my capacity as one of the local Liberal Democrat Southfield ward councillors and was joined by a local resident from Weston Road. I was the only local Councillor who did speak, which is only surprising as the other applications considered were in South Acton ward. Presumably Labour Councillors in Acton are happy to see the character of southern Acton transformed by 25 storey blocks of flats.

More importantly, the evening demonstrated yet again the genuine difficulty in opposing these major developments, and how changes in planning legislation helps developers get their plans passed. These problems are not unique to Ealing, it is a similar story across London.

Cllr Andrew Steed
Cllr Andrew Steed

However, Ealing Council has so far not committed to implement the Liberal Democrat proposal to review its own planning guidance called the Local Plan which would mean Ealing Council can turn down more developments which do not meet their own preferences because they are too tall or too dense a type of housing.

The site itself is a small triangle of land in-between two level crossings. There are a lot of issues outstanding, which need to be met in the 36 conditions listed. Many of the conditions which cannot be met, are resolved by the S106 payments which in this case total over £800,000. I appreciate that is a tidy sum for Ealing Council, and much needed, but can it be right that local government finances are to some extent reliant upon financial deals with developers?

One of the reports that was provided concerned the impact of the loss of day light and sun light by houses on Weston Road. The report concedes that most of the houses will be affected, however because the guidance is 'advisory', the objections of residents are dismissed. It is acceptable that the impact would 'not lead to detrimental living conditions'.

Councillor Jon Ball, who sits on the Committee also raised this point, but for the Labour Councillors it was not deemed 'important enough'. They all voted for the application.

Councillor Andrew Steed - Southfield Ward

Further details of the application can be found by searching for the reference 214710FUL on the Ealing Council planning web pages.

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November 19, 2021


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