Consultation promised on Arcadia site guides

Planning guides for potential purchasers of the Arcadia site, now being put up for sale by the administrators of failed developer Glenkerrin, will be subject to public consultation in the spring.

This assurance was given at Ealing Council's Scrutiny Committee at a "call-in" by Lib Dem councillors. There was criticism of several aspects of the Council's draft Statement of Planning Principles, and SEC spoke in favour of the document being referred back to the Cabinet for review. The request was withdrawn after an undertaking that there will be full consultation before any guides become official planning policy.

Lib Dem leader Councillor Gary Malcolm said Ealing Cabinet was wrong to surrender its negotiating position to potential purchasers before discussions had even begun. "This is the most important development site in the whole of the borough, and what is done here will last for over 100 years," he said.

"The Council should not give away the ability to use the small public space it owns as a 'ransom strip' to get the best result for Ealing, nor should it promise to use compulsory purchase powers without first ensuring we have the best possible scheme," Cllr Malcolm continued.

The Council spokesman argued that it was necessary to offer undertakings to developers who might be interested in buying the site as one unit, rather than risk it being broken up into small segments. This could happen once the administrators handling the sale open up bidding after the end of February.

Will French, chair of Save Ealing's Centre, also urged the Council not to commit to detailed plans before taking account of local views. "Many important considerations are not included in the guides," he said.

17 Feb 2012