Colonial Drive Development Gets Council Go-Ahead

Campaigners pledge to continue fight to protect nature reserve

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Cllr. Gary Malcolm is presented with the petition by Jan Hewlett of Hoot

Colonial Drive Development Will Come Before Public Planning Meeting

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Campaigners against the proposed development at Colonial Drive have pledged to fight on despite Ealing Council’s decision to grant planning to the developers Blackstone.

The vote at last night’s Ealing planning meeting was 7-6 in favour of Blackstone building apartment blocks up to eight stories high on the site in Bollo Lane adjacent to the Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve.

All of the Labour Councillors voted for the development, apart from one, and all of the Conservative councillors voted against the proposal ( apart from one). The Liberal Democrat councillor on the planning committee voted against.

Gary Malcolm, Southfield ward Councillor, said: "It was totally wrong for Ealing Council to allow such a large development next to the Gunnersbury Triangle Wildlife Reserve. The 100 or so flats will cause parking problems and will harm the flora and fauna in the reserve.

The development is too high and too near to the reserve. Well over 1500 residents in the area signed petitions to show their disgust at the idea of this development that is an over development. Ealing Council has made a grave mistake and for the sake of £1.9 million given by the developer.”

The London Wildlife Trust issued a statement after meeting today.

Carlo Laurenzi OBE, Chief Executive of London Wildlife Trust said, ‘We at the Trust are shocked that the Colonial Drive development, adjacent to Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve in Chiswick, was granted permission last night at Ealing Council’s Planning Committee. It is the wrong development so close to this valued nature reserve and totally insensitive in its scale and height.

‘Last night’s 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.

Neither the developers nor Ealing Council provided any evidence of having seriously considered the ecological impacts of such a large scale development adjacent to Gunnersbury Triangle. Similarly, the impact on people's enjoyment of the nature reserve's tranquil atmosphere was not considered important.

‘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 Trust would like to express its thanks to those Councillors who spoke up, calling for a more sensitive development of this site. We are now considering our options but will continue – alongside other concerned local groups - to fight this inappropriate development.’

The group Hoot, (Hands Off Our Triangle) is also considering its next move.

The decision is a Mayoral referral ,which means that the newly-relected Mayor, Boris Johnson, may also be involved.

A petition of nearly 2,000 signatures, was handed in last week to a senior Council officer by Cllr. Gary Malcolm. And over 100 people, including actress Rula Lenska, attended a protest at the nature reserve last weekend.

The world-famous botanist David Bellamy, has come out against the development and written to Ealing Council on the matter.

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


Protesters including Rula Lenska


Campaigners against the development want the buffer zone between the development 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.

You can visit the HOOT Official Website here.

May 17, 2012