John Lewis under fire from campaigners over Ealing residential plans

24th August 2023 | Jack Oliver

The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has faced backlash from campaigners over its plans to build a multi-storey residential scheme in Ealing.

The Stop the Towers (STT) campaign said that newly-submitted plans for buildings up to 20-storeys high completely ignore local plan height limits.

Ealing Council’s current planning guidance for the site, which is currently home to a Waitrose supermarket, states a maximum height of 7-13 storeys.

The development is part of JLP’s wider £500m joint venture with global investment company abrdn to deliver around 1,000 new homes.

The group has been criticised by STT for its timing in regards to the application, which was submitted on 4 August, as the window for public comments closes at the end of the month during the peak summer holiday period.

The campaign said that despite JLP announcing that it had submitted its plans on 30 June, they did not appear on the council’s website for another 40 days. STT also said that with JLP’s brochure only reaching residents on 19 August, this left locals with just over 10 days to object.

The campaign questioned whether it was a “deliberate attempt by JLP to avoid public objections”.

However, JLP said residents have until determination to comment, which is at least several months away.

STT also published an open letter written by its co-chairs, Justine Sullivan and Denise Collier, to the leader of Ealing Council, Peter Mason, who earlier this year accused JLP of trying to “bully through” the scheme.

The letter called on Mason to reassure local residents and supporters of STT that Ealing Council will not be entertaining any applications for the site. It also asked for reassurance regarding the council’s recently-announced sustainability policy, which focuses on refurbishment rather than redevelopment, as the proposals include the demolition of the current Waitrose building.

It also called on Mason to extend the deadline for public consultation on the application, to allow residents engaged in other activities during the summer period to comment.

A spokesperson for JLP said: “As the housing crisis continues, we have the opportunity to make better use of a supermarket and car park site to deliver much-needed homes for the local area, as well as improved community facilities, new commercial space and a new Waitrose shop. We’ve set out our ambition to maximise the delivery of affordable housing to ensure good availability of quality, rental homes for local people, including nurses, teachers and other key workers. This is an ongoing process where we’ve been working closely with a range of stakeholders and will continue to do so while the application is considered.

“The plans have been submitted to Ealing and the local authority will now consider the application in line with all relevant planning policies. We are confident that Ealing will welcome feedback from local residents between now and determination of the application as has always been the case with other major applications in the borough.”  


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