Southall residents scored a partial victory this week when Ealing Council’s Planning Committee rejected the latest development proposals for the Southall Gasworks site.
Those residents who demonstrated outside the Town Hall were concerned, as I am that the plans which included 3,750 homes, a hotel, a primary school, a cinema and a health centre are just too big and are wholly unsustainable for Southall.
The traffic impacts would be disastrous. Everyone knows that at peak times and even at other times Southall grinds to a halt with large excesses of traffic with little place for it to go. Imagine putting the equivalent of another small town in the middle Southall and adding all the extra traffic that such a town would generate to the gridlock that we all ready have? Chaos would ensue.
The planning application acknowledged some traffic impacts on the surrounding Southall community but tried to gloss over the real outcome of the proposals.
In mitigation the plans talk about a new western access road linked to the Hayes By-Pass, the widening of South Road at the bridge outside Southall station and improvements to the South Road/Beaconsfield Road junction but these proposals are not adequate and provide just sticking plaster.
The proposals have ignored the traffic impacts not even bothering to do any traffic modelling of the effects of such a large development on local roads. They also ignore the detrimental health effects that such increases in traffic would cause through worsening air quality, already a major local problem.
The development is not sustainable in other respects. Our local public services including health and education provision are already close to capacity and the proposed new Primary school and health centre are just not sufficient to meet the new demand.
The retail proposals are also based on pre-financial crisis research and are woefully out of date.
I am also very concerned about the contamination of the site and the proposed remediation work which has not been properly thought through and could have a detrimental effect on local people’s health.
The issue of proper compensation for the owners of properties earmarked to be demolished in Beaconsfield Road, The Crescent and Randolph Road has also got to be addressed.
Now that Ealing Council’s Planning Committee has rejected this proposal, it will be referred to the Mayor for London’s Office and I would say to the Mayor – the scale of these proposals is too great and not sustainable for the community of Southall.
Go back to the drawing board and only bring it back when it is significantly smaller.