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Cllr Alexander Stafford has been fighting to prevent the demolition of some of Ealing’s much loved Victorian and Edwardian heritage. The plans for developing the Arcadia 9-42 The Broadway site were revealed last January and at the time Cllr Stafford had strong reservations, especially in regards to the proposed 18 storey tower block on the development.

Whilst the developers did make some minor changes to improve the plans, Cllr Stafford is aghast that the 18 storey tower is still going ahead, as well as plans to demolish the corner of the site, taking with it a much-loved Victoria building.

The plans are opposed by Historic England, the Victorian Society, the Ealing Civic Society and many other local groups. Historic England notes that the development will result in the loss of 11 buildings described as “a major part of Ealing’s Edwardian and Victorian built heritage”.

Senior Victorian Society Conservation Adviser, James Hughes, said:

“Ealing Council should sit up and take notice when Historic England says that a scheme is so harmful it would undermine an entire conservation area. The amount of destruction this scheme requires would have an irrevocable and negative impact on central Ealing’s fundamental character and appearance. A total rethink is needed to redevelop the site sensitively so that these buildings, their character and that of the wider area is preserved”.

Speaking at the committee Tony Palmer, on behalf of Save Ealing Centre, said he was passionate about Ealing, it’s present and it’s future. He quoted Christopher Wren, arguing that “architecture defines community”, and pointed out that residents he represents were furious about the plans, saying “don’t consign Ealing to a Legoland dump of bits and pieces…this Queen of the Suburbs needs to stay proud”.

Unfortunately, the planning committee voted 8-5 to allow the controversial decision to go ahead. Following on from the decision, Cllr Stafford commented:

“I am very disappointed with this damaging decision that will rip the heart out of Ealing Broadway. Buildings that have stood for over a century are being destroyed to be replaced by identikit units that neither preserve the past nor usher in a future suitable for the local community. On top of this, Haven Green, the lungs of the Broadway, will be in a 18 storey shadow, damaging the flora and fauna, and dwarfing the area for miles around. This sets a worrying precedent for developers to ignore Ealing’s much loved and needed conservation area.”

Cllr Stafford’s objections were highlighted on the front page of the Ealing Gazette for two consecutive weeks, as well as in subsequent issues and featured in the Evening Standard and Ealing Today.