Anger Over Council Decision Against Marie's Corner Store
Locals say Ealing planners ignored their pleas to retain local shop
Marie's Store in Cunnington Street, which had a reprieve from closure last year, is under threat again following a decision by Ealing Council.
The application to turn the building into three flats has been refused but on the grounds of the current design. The planning officer says that a refusal on the basis of loss of retail would be "unreasonable" and there were alternative shops nearby for locals.
"It is not considered that this particular local shop would result in a detrimental impact on local residents given the proximity to the high street," according to his report.
Locals have been campaigning to keep the local store open as an Asset of Community Value and sent a petition of 1,000 signatures to the Council.
Marie said : “I cannot believe that the planning officer has reached this conclusion merely because of the design of the proposed flats. I know Ealing’s planning policies support local shops and how important this is in London. I am overwhelmed by the support I have from local people, from all our local councillors and from our MP, Angie Bray. I know so many people that need this shop and shall do all that I can to stay open.”
Christopher Chauncy, secretary of the Acton Green Residents’ Association, called on the Council to review its decision and said it was "extraordinary" to refer to Sainsbury, which was on the other side of the railway cutting, as providing alternative local shopping.
Angie Bray MP with Marie
“The planning officer’s summary of his reasons show a complete lack of appreciation of the impact that the closure of Marie’s Store would have on this neighbourhood. Despite requests, he has failed to provide the reasons for the decision that he says has been made under delegated powers.
"However it is clear from his summary that he has ignored the many serious, well-grounded objections to allowing a change of use of this site. The Council’s own local policy provides for no unnecessary loss of local shopping and local amenity and there is a specific provision that all residents of Ealing should have local shopping within 400 metres. On these grounds alone, change of use should not be allowed, and to refer to Sainsbury’s superstore, in Hounslow, the other side of the railway cutting as providing alternative local shopping is extraordinary.
Lib Dem Cllr Gary Malcolm outside Marie's Store
Local Lib Dem councillor Gary Malcolm commented: "I am happy the recent application has been turned down by the Council but they appear to not have taken on board the long list of reasons why Marie's Store should not become a set of flats. It is still possible that the developers may appeal so we need to be vigilant. Marie's Store is a real asset to our community and needs to be protected."
MP Angie Bray also supported the shop on the corner of Antrobus Road being kept open saying it was at the heart of the community for many people. The MP recently wrote to the Planning Department stating that Marie's provided a highly valued service to the community.
Her letter said: "It is the last remaining corner shop in the immediate neighbourhood – without it, many local residents, including the residents of the local care home and other elderly people would have to travel considerably further for all their essentials, which seems to me to be contrary to the Basic Shopping Needs policy. The shop also sits at the heart of other community activities.
February 28, 2014