Eric Leach

Independent Candidate Councillor
for Ealing Walpole Ward

West Ealing Farmers Market photo
Eric Leach photo
Ealing Skyline from Walpole Park photo

News Archive

23 February 2010
Over 400 People Attend Public ‘Ealing Centre in Crisis?’ Meeting

On Monday evening (21st February, 2010) a packed audience of residents in Ealing Town Hall quizzed local politicians about how to revitalise our town centre. The meeting was organised by Save Ealing’s Centre (SEC), an alliance of 25 local residents’ and community groups. BBC journalist Stephen Sackur – a Madeley Road resident – acted as Chair and attempted to get answers and commitments from local Conservative, Labour and LibDem party leaders and would-be Ealing Central and Acton MPs. The topics include housing, transport, retail and culture.

Ealing Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport David Millican dominated the Tory response. He talked a lot about what might be done in the future. The Chair and others pointed out that his Council administration has had almost four years to improve the infrastructure in Ealing’s central area. Mr Millican talked confidently about ‘developments’ for which Planning Applications have yet to be submitted or approved. Examples here include the NHS Polyclinic at Daniels and Green Man Lane Estate. Crossrail was mentioned a lot but Mr Sackur voiced many residents’ concerns that a future national government might delay, truncate or cancel Crossrail in order to reduce National Debt and massive national borrowings. Dickens Yard was also mentioned. Even this development is uncertain as a request for a Judicial Review of the November 2009 planning decision has been submitted by SEC.

Ealing’s Tory Council’s plans to build 1,917 flats in the centre of Ealing and 10,000 flats within 800 metres of Acton, Ealing, West Ealing and Southall Stations by 2026 were roundly condemned by the LibDems, Labour and members of the audience.

Everyone seemed to agree that an integrated transport hub is needed around Ealing Broadway Station. Ealing Council and Transport for London were blamed for making little visible progress in this area. Angie Bray, the would-be Tory MP, said that the money could not be raised to pay for a hub. Members of the audience came up with creative ideas as to raise this money but the politicians poopooed these ideas. SEC was publicly thanked for being the only organisation which has published a plan for a hub.

None of the politicians seemed to have a clue as to how to improve the Ealing Centre shopping experience; as to what is to become of the Empire Cinema site; and how policing, healthcare or State school education might be improved in the centre of Ealing. A notable absentee at the meeting was Council Leader Councillor Stacey. A very quiet attendee was Arcadia-famous Sean O’Gorman Glenkerrin’s UK boss.

I acted as a Steward at the meeting. It was primarily my idea to organise this meeting and to ask Mr Sackur to chair it. As West Ealing Neighbours (WEN) representative at SEC I’ve been active on many fronts over the last three years including speaking at the Arcadia Public Inquiry and helping to organise the Dickens Yard Judicial Review.

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