Hotly contested plans for nearly 700 flats and dozens of new shops in the centre of Ealing have been given the green light by councillors.
Protesters, who have fought a long campaign against the massive Dickens Yard scheme, were invited to voice their concerns at Wednesday's(NOV 5) planning meeting at Ealing Town Hall.
A specially organised video link screened the debate to around 100 residents in another room.
All but two members of the planning committee voted for the plans, despite appeals from ward councillors that the scheme is too big for a conservation area and will place too much of a burden on schools, surgeries and other services.
The blueprints will sent to London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has 14 days to decide whether to challenge the decision.
Those in favour of the Dickens Yard site hope it will reverse a steady decline in Ealing's ability to attract shoppers.
Charmaine Young, CBE, regeneration director of developers St George, said: "We've worked very hard to design a fantastic scheme. We believe it's right for the town centre and we believe it will help lift Ealing and make it a great place for future generations to enjoy."
Save Ealing's Centre protestors vowed to continue their fight against Dickens Yard by lobbying the mayor's office and the secretary of state.
And Ealing Civic Society fears Dickens Yard and another similar size scheme in the neighbouring Arcadia Centre will ruin the historic setting of the listed town hall and Christ Church.
Society chairman Bob Gurd said: "We feel this is the beginning of a slippery slope. The unique character of Ealing will be lost forever to developers who will get a green light to effectively remove the heritage which we've cherished for so long."
Andrew Ward, director of policy and external relations at Thames valley University, said: "I honestly believe that St George's development delivers what so many of us have been waiting for in Ealing for many, many years."
And restaurateur Monty Sthrestha(CORR) said: "This will be a key stage in the renaissance of Ealing town centre."
The developers have faced criticism for not designing new community facilities into the scheme, instead promising to give the council almost £7 million to help mitigate the impact.
Ealing Broadway Conservative councillor Anthony Young, who opposes the scheme, said extra cash for existing open spaces was of limited use and could only lead to "gold plated grass".
He said: "All the money that we're pouring in doesn't buy an extra inch of space."
But East Acton councillor John Ross said: "Too much has been made of the so-called heritage of the site. I'm a great admirer of the Town Hall but I would never say that it's a heritage building."
Revised plans for the Arcadia Centre have now been submitted by developers Glenkerrin and will be displayed at Perceval House from Monday. (NOV 10)