Council Elections 2018: What We’ve Been Hearing on The Doorstep

It’s been a very very cold February (colder here, than, bizarrely, the Arctic, which should worry us all). But despite that the hardy folk of the Ealing Green Party have hit the campaign trail. All through the month we’ve been braving the conditions to speak to the people of Hanwell and Acton in our quest to hear the thoughts of the locals and to spread our message that Ealing Council needs a Green voice!

No Wasted Votes

This coming election will be an important indicator of how people feel about the plans that local government has in store for them, and some of those plans, we have to say, are somewhat alarming. From demolishing locally listed buildings to selling off green spaces to constructing “rabbit hutches in the sky”, our council is giving us plenty of reason to be concerned. And we’re lucky that the people who vote in May will have more than one choice – so there is no doubt that giving one of those votes to the Green Party will not be wasted.

One word we’ve been using quite a lot is “accountability”. It is something that is sorely needed in Ealing: a dissenting voice from someone who is not beholden to any party line. It’s all very well saying you should join one of the big parties and try and “change them from within”, but we have seen that people in those parties can be punished quite severely if they do try to defy the wishes of the group they belong to.

Switched On

It’s been great to see then, that so many people are switched on and share our concerns about what is happening to Ealing. When we saw the plans for the tower block that will be built on the Wickes site on the Lower Boston Road we knew we had to raise our voice in protest, and to know so many people are wanting the same thing has been driving us on through the cold.

There is certainly some interesting sights and sounds on the doorstep – for instance the man who answered the door naked! Of course he was doing the cleaning, obviously. And he was also receptive to the Green message, so that must have been the naturist in him!

The gentleman who worked for the Pakistani consul offered us a cup of tea, and we found out through the course of the conversation that when one of the canvassers speaking to him had problems entering Pakistan once, the visa belonging to the Green campaigner was safely in his keeping! So that was a reassuring turn up!

Finding Hope

Of course many people are not feeling very hopeful about the future, and that is to some extent understandable: a feeling of helplessness in the face of a council that has a different agenda to the people of Ealing; a council that appears to be set on its course and seems to give little regard to opposing wishes, viewpoints and concerns.

I asked around for how we could answer points like this positively, and a Green supporter said this to me, which I thought was very wise:

“Tell them that wherever Greens are elected into office they do so because they want to make a change. Green Party councillors don’t answer to any “mainstream” party or follow the consensus agreed by the dominant group in the council. They listen to resident’s concerns and take those concerns right into the heart of the council and they fight for it. They do this because they feel the same way you do, it’s time to change, time to make a difference and that’s why we ask for your support.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself. And we’d love to hear your thoughts!

OBJECT HERE: Development Overdrive in Hanwell: We Need to Speak Up Now

Did you know…?

There are 457 new units proposed in one square mile of Hanwell right now.  Sites like Wickes/Nissan, the so-called “Marshall” site next to Gold’s Gym and the former Peugeot Garage site are due to spring 6-9 storeys high!  What has been happening across London is coming to Hanwell: intensive, inappropriate, high-rise flats.

Parking hell on the way

Under the guise of sounding “green”, many of these developments offer zero or limited parking.  But people have cars, and they will have to park them on our roads and traffic congestion will increase.  A Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) will not resolve this.

No solution to the housing crisis

For sure, London needs more homes.  But these developments are not the solution.  They will be unaffordable for people most in need of somewhere to live.

We need real homes for local people, not overseas investors

Many of these proposed flats are really rabbit hutches: low ceilings, cramped rooms and virtually zero green space. These are being developed for maximum profit, not as places for people to live.

Wrecking the community

Hanwell is a wonderful place because people can live, study, work and shop here.  Flats like these will overwhelm our overstretched hospitals, schools and public transport.

Who is Ealing Council working for?

Ealing seems to be working only for the big landowners and developers, not for local people.  The Labour-dominated council needs a Green voice to hold them to account.

Hanwell needs to speak up for what it wants

The people of Hanwell need to pull together to develop a vision for what we want our community to be.

What can I do?

You can object to several of the developments illustrated on the map above, which are currently in the Council’s consultation process.  Below are links to take you directly to the relevant part of the planning portal.

We need a strategy for Hanwell, and we’d like to hear from you.  What is your vision for our neighbourhood?  Do we need flats or community facilities?

Links to the Ealing Planning Portal

To comment on the Wickes/Nissan development of 283 units in units ranging from 5 to 7 storeys, go to this link.

To comment on the so-called “Marshall” building of 59 units in a structure 9 storeys high with no parking provision, go to this link.

To sign the petition against the Marshall building go to this link.

To comment on the 9 unit (5 flats and 4 townhouses) development at 16 Boston Road, go to this link.

To comment on the 6 unit redevelopment of the former Horseshoe Cafe at 68 Boston Road, go to this link.

To comment on the 4-5 unit extension and redevelopment of the building at 3 Westminster Road, go to this link.

Ealing needs a Green Voice

Image: Map contains information from https://opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/1.0/ under the Open Database License (ODbL)

Protecting Green Spaces

BRP north - Alford

Ealing’s green open spaces are one of our greatest assets. From Gunnersbury Park to Northfields allotments to the expanses of the Brent River Park and Horsenden Hill, our green spaces provide facilities for sport, exercise, quiet enjoyment or growing food. And Green open space has been shown to improve mental and physical well-being for people of all ages.

Our green spaces also provide a haven for wildlife. Without them, many species of plant and animal life could not survive in the borough. And our green spaces have the lowest levels of air pollution, and they help to ameliorate the effects of climate change.

Spending on parks has always been a very small proportion of the council’s budget. And yet despite their importance to our quality of life, Ealing’s parks and other open spaces have suffered savage cuts in investment in recent years.

New Threats to Our Green Spaces

And now there are further threats: Ealing council plans to take Warren Farm out of public use.  The land is going to Queen’s Park Rangers football club for a training facility. Northfields allotments are threatened by a new housing development.

Ealing Green Party believes that all green open space should be protected. We also believe public access should be provided wherever possible. We recognise there are pressures to build more homes and provide other facilities, but we are adamant that these homes and facilities should not be built on green open spaces.

When our green spaces shrink, our quality of life is reduced.

How You Can Help
Support the campaign to Save Warren Farm: http://www.savewarrenfarm.com/
Support the campaign to Protect Northfields Allotments: https://www.facebook.com/savenorthfieldsallotments/

Organisations and Groups You Can Join
Hanwell & Norwood Green Orchard Trail: https://orchardtrail.wordpress.com/
Ealing Friends of the Earth: http://www.ealingfoe.org.uk/
Ealing Wildlife Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ealingwildlife/

Article by Nic Ferriday

Jeremy Parker – A Potential Green Voice on Ealing Council

After living in Ealing for nearly three years I feel I have gained a good understanding of the local issues that the district faces (like the sale of Warren Farm and Ealing Town Hall and the threat to Northfields allotments), and how the national issues that affect us all manifest themselves in Ealing (like air pollution, the NHS, affordable housing and the Heathrow extension). Having a councillor would give the Ealing Greens a voice and an ability to affect these issues constructively, and I would very much like to be a channel for that voice, to assist the party in making a difference and helping people.

During the run up to the 2017 election I met and spoke to many people in the Elthorne Ward in the course of our campaigning, and the positive response we received gives me confidence that we will have a good chance of success in 2018. I would be pleased to dedicate all my energy to achieve this success, and would take great pride in representing the Green Party and working towards implementing the many great ideas that the Ealing Greens have in achieving a fairer, more sustainable Ealing and London.

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