18 March 2021 - Ealing Planning Committee results and what happens next
The planning committee refused the application in a vote of 10 against, 1 for and 2 abstentions.
The key reasons for the refusal were:
What happens next?
The standard process is for Ealing to send this to the Mayor of London for his “Stage 2” response. Save Gurnell feel it would be very unlikely for the Mayor to intervene in the decision - the vote against was so strong as were the reasons for refusal.
Could they come back with a new proposal or challenge the decision?
In theory, yes that could happen. However, given the reasons for refusal i.e. not building massive tower blocks on protected land it would be difficult to “tweak” the scheme. Fundamentally, the committee agreed that building on this site could not be justified so coming back with something a bit smaller wouldn’t get around that.
Is the Save Gurnell campaign over?
No! Our next step is to try and get the leisure centre reopened when Covid restrictions are eased. The council’s key argument for keeping it closed last time round was that is was going to be demolished soon – this is no longer the case.
The original plans for the leisure centre were decided back in 2015. A lot has changed since then, and we want to community to be fully engaged by the council with any new plans to refurbish/replace the leisure centre.
26 February 2021 - Gurnell scheduled for 17 March Planning Committee.
We have just found out that Gurnell will be presented on 17 March at the Ealing Council Planning Committee. We will post more details next week along with the link to watch the live meeting online. Please join our mailing list for the latest updates.
13 February 2021 - General update and summary of key points raised by statutory consultees.
We still do not have a date when Gurnell will go to the Planning Committee for a decision.
The case officer has not been forthcoming with any details despite our multiple requests. In addition to this, we noticed that statutory consultee comments had not been made public. We asked for these through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, which Ealing did not fulfil. We escalated to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) who decided that Ealing had breached the Regulation. The ICO gave Ealing 35 days to comply before certifying the breach to the High Court. Ealing finally published the documents on the planning portal and has backdated them.
This following section summaries some of the statutory consultee responses. There were several more however we are summarising the key points. If you wish to look at the actual responses or get more details, please visit the Gurnell application in the Ealing Planning Portal. The responses are in the document section.
Given the nature of the responses by the statutory consultees, alongside the unknown financial nature of the project, we feel that it's highly likely that the Gurnell application may be subject to further delays.
6 December 2020 - Planning Committee delays
The council have confirmed that Gurnell will not be going to the December Planning Committee and that “the application is currently anticipated to go to the Planning Committee in the new year”.
Given it is now nearly 5 months since the end of the consultation period we have asked what is causing the delay but have not yet had a response. We’ll keep chasing for a response and will let you know as soon as we have any further news.
18 September 2020 - Response from the Mayor of London and the cost of the new leisure centre has gone up (again)
On 15 September, the Mayor’s office sent their Stage 1 response to Ealing Council.
The report says the plans do not comply with the London Plan but that ‘’possible remedies could address these deficiencies.’’ The key issues are costs, the phasing and means of re-provision of indoor and outdoor facilities, landscaping, biodiversity, pedestrian and cycle enhancements as well as an agreement on the flood risk strategy. They mentioned that the Environment Agency objected to the application given the absence of an acceptable Flood Risk Assessment and supporting flood model. All of these issues are part of the key argument of whether ''Very Special Circumstances'' exist to allow the council to build tower blocks on MOL.
Other areas where further information was requested was in relation to energy, urban greening and multiple items relating to transport. The full letter and report can be found here.
The new Gurnell Leisure Centre may now cost over £50 Million!
According to the Mayor’s Stage 1 report, it states that ‘’the Council’s independent cost assessment concludes that the leisure centre facility would cost £28.89 million with the associated basement costing a further £26 million. As such, the total cost of the leisure centre related elements in the application exceed £50 million.’’
In January, Cllr Bassam Mahfouz who is sponsoring this project, suggested that the leisure centre would cost around £40 million. In 2016, the project started off with a cost of £30 million (and the specification has been decreasing ever since.)
4 June 2020 - Planning Application update
The planning application for Gurnell is live. Now is the time to make our voice heard - if you oppose this overdevelopment then please submit your objection to the Council. See our ''How to Object'' page for more details.
The council have confirmed that objections submitted up until the date of the Planning Committee will be counted and considered.
29 April 2020 - BMX track has been submitted as a separate application
The Council have allowed the BMX track to be submitted as a separate application even though it's part of the Gurnell development proposal and falls within the project boundary. While we don't know the exact reasons he council have done this, there is significant concern because the proposed location is within a Site of Importance to Nature Conservation (SINC) and will effectively destroy the SINC. We will be objecting to this application because of its impact to the environment and the fact that the Gurnell proposal should be considered as a single application so that the benefits vs harms can be reviewed truthfully.
The BMX track application can be found here.
10 November 2019 - Deal Structure has changed
There has been a SIGNIFICANT change to the deal structure between Ealing Council and the developer (Ecoworld).
Ecoworld are no longer responsible for the leisure centre and affordable housing build– the council must now find another company to deliver these. In summary,
When did this happen?
Is there anything else we didn’t know?