CAMPAIGNERS have lost the final battle to stop a leafy corner of the borough being turned into a small housing estate after a war lasting 16 years.
Defiant neighbours have seen off eight applications by five developers who wanted to build on the long garden at the back of Trevenna Cottage in Creswick Road, Acton.
But last Wednesday (September 28) they lost a court battle against plans to build eight three-story houses running four rows back from the street alongside Springfield Gardens park.
At the High Court, Judge James Dingemans QC acknowledged Ealing Council sparked "howls of protest" when it granted developers, Landbilt Ltd, planning permission in February.
But as his judgement was based on whether the decision was lawful - rather than whether the development would be an eyesore, destroy old, protected trees, create disturbance to neighbours and overlook nearby St Vincent's Primary School, as campaigners claim - he ruled in favour of the council.
Judge Dingemans said: "I am firmly of the view that there is no basis for claiming that this was an unlawful decision as opposed to, as it plainly was, an unwelcome one."
Victor Mishiku, of the Covenant Movement, whose court case against the council was backed by more than 1,000 residents, said a covenant dating back to the 1930s could still block the development.
The legal agreement means a strip of the land can only be used as a garden for a single home, not several gardens and a road as planned. But it can only be enforced by the council, whose councillors passed the plans in the first place.
It also gives the council the option to force the developer to pay to remove its restrictions, usually about 50 per cent of their profit for their site. Mr Mishiku estimates the profit to be about £4 million.
Residents are keen to at least see the council make some money from the deal for the good of the community.
But the council said this is not going to happen.
A spokeswoman said: "The house the covenant refers to no longer exists and planning permission has been granted for new development.
"The council therefore believes it would be appropriate to enter into negotiations to modify the covenant so that it relates to the gardens of the proposed new homes along the boundary with Springfield Gardens.
"If this was put in place we could ensure the gardens along the boundary are protected from future development.
Agents for the developers have said the plans were an improvement on those mooted by those rejected in the past. That it would provide family housing rather than apartments and landscaping and “significant” tree planting would mitigate the impact on views from the park.