Saturday, February 28, 2009

Crossrail benefits justify Interchange

A new study by Crossrail this week shows how much the economic benefit of the Crossrail line will be for each area. They reckon the Borough of Ealing will benefit to the tune of nearly £57 million.

The report shows the enormous benefits that will flow to our Borough from Crossrail, with stations at Southall, Hanwell, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and Acton Main Line and I am keen to ensure it goes ahead. There will be a very large increase in the number of passengers using all these stations, and Ealing Broadway in particular is already one of the busiest stations in the country. These additional trips will have to be catered for. If we are to cut the number of cars on the roads, people will have to use buses and other means of getting to and from the station.

This highlights the urgent need for a fully integrated bus/rail/tube interchange over the underground tracks at Ealing Broadway. The total cost of this could be saved in a single year, if set against the benefits to the Borough as a whole. The Council should be pressing for immediate discussions to include this in the plans being developed by Crossrail and Transport for London, and should take the lead by appointing an independent consultant to examine how the whole of the station complex, including the empty Villiers House, should be developed as part of a comprehensive redesign of central Ealing.

Arcadia Call-in Latest

As many of you know, the lamentable decision by Ealing's planning committee to approve the appalling Arcadia scheme has been called in by the Secretary of State. This was fantastic - although unexpected - news!

A Public Inquiry will now be held in Ealing to finally decide the matter.

This post is to fill in some of the background.

Council officers are currently sorting out procedures with the Government Office for London and the Planning Inspectorate.

Once this have been completed, the formal notification of the call-in will be sent out to anyone who commented on the application. I understand that this will involve 7,000 letters as it will include all the local people who signed the Lib Dem petition I collected against the Glenkerrin scheme!

The Council's statement of case would be due for submission in the middle of March 2009. No date has yet been set for the Local Inquiry, but the Council anticipate that this would be June or July.

The Planning Inspector will be able to look at all aspects of the case during the Inquiry. The final decision will probably come out in late Autumn. The whole scheme is on hold until then.

The Public Inquiry will give residents a final chance to defeat this awful scheme that would wreck Ealing's town centre, so we must seize this opportunity with open arms and make the strongest possible case.

By contrast, the Secretary of State has announced that she isn't going to call in the Dicken's Yard scheme. So the only thing standing in the way of that other awful scheme getting permission is a decision by Boris, who in turn is waiting for revised documents from developers St George who seem to be dragging their feet rather. Unfortunately, I'm no more optimistic of Boris stepping in on Dickens Yard than I was of him intervening on Arcadia! Saying "no" to a Tory Council isn't his style.