Ealing's Green Belt Threatened by Local Plan Say Campaigners

Friends of the Earth claims door being opened to building on open spaces

Grove Farm in Greenford will no longer be Metropolitan Open Land. Picture: Dudley Miles

January 19, 2023

Local environmental campaigners are warning that changes proposed in Ealing Council’s local plan could enable building taking place on the borough’s remaining Green Belt and other open spaces.

Ealing Friends of the Earth (FoE) says that the council is proposing to redesignate the seven existing Green Belt sites as well as downgrading some of its Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) sites.

Ealing's Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land Review claims that Green Belt designation in the borough serves no purpose in containing the outward expansion of urban sprawl.

It says: "The assessment of Ealing’s seven current Green Belt sites shows that none of the sites score well against Green Belt objectives / criteria. Consequently, it is recommended that the Green Belt designations are removed from all seven sites."

These sites are Yeading Brook, Shooting Grounds, and Down Barns, Lime Tree Park, Golf Course and Alec Reed Academy, Prior Fields and Lord Halsbury’s Playing Fields, Northala Fields, Rectory Park, Marnham Fields and Smith’s Farm.

They would all be redesignated as MOL sites which Ealing FoE says that the council already has a track record of encroaching on. Ealing's draft local plan has already identified a number of MOL areas as development sites, casting doubt on how much protection the former Green Belt sites will receive. The Twyford Abbey site is MOL but building has been approved there.

In addition, Belvue Park, Golf Range and green verge along Western Avenue, King George’s Field - Spikes Bridge Park, Blair Peach Primary School and Hayes Bridge Allotments would all lose existing protection.

The review, which was produced for the council as part of the development of the Local Plan, recommends: “The London Plan sets Ealing a challenging target of providing 21,570 dwellings over the period 2019/20 - 2028/29... Given these housing pressures, and the scarcity of land for development, it is important to consider all the possible ways of meeting housing need. This includes considering the possibility of Green Belt/MOL providing land for development to a limited extent.”

Ealing FoE is arguing that the review of Green Belt land is faulty because it quotes selectively from the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The NPPF says, "The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence."

Ealing FoE says, "Most of the draft local plan is about encouraging development and population growth in Ealing. But we're concerned that means pressure to build on Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land. We need that land to provide forests and cool green spaces as the climate gets even hotter. Once we build on Green Belt we will never get it back."

A spokesperson for the council said, “The consultation on our draft new Local Plan runs until 8 February, and we want to hear what residents think about the plan and how it addresses the issues which matter to them. We will fully consider all of the feedback before we publish the next version of our new Local Plan. We are due to meet representatives from Ealing Friends of the Earth to discuss their views on the plan.”

To comment on Ealing's draft local plan go to the council website or email localplan@ealing.gov.uk.


Like Reading Articles Like This? Help Us Produce More

This site remains committed to providing local community news and public interest journalism.

Articles such as the one above are integral to what we do. We aim to feature as much as possible on local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, community-based initiatives and even helping people find missing pets.

We've always done that and won't be changing, in fact we'd like to do more.

However, the readership that these stories generates is often below that needed to cover the cost of producing them. Our financial resources are limited and the local media environment is intensely competitive so there is a constraint on what we can do.

We are therefore asking our readers to consider offering financial support to these efforts. Any money given will help support community and public interest news and the expansion of our coverage in this area.

A suggested monthly payment is £8 but we would be grateful for any amount for instance if you think this site offers the equivalent value of a subscription to a daily printed newspaper you may wish to consider £20 per month. If neither of these amounts is suitable for you then contact info@neighbournet.com and we can set up an alternative. All payments are made through a secure web site.

One-off donations are also appreciated. Choose The Amount You Wish To Contribute.

If you do support us in this way we'd be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.

For businesses we offer the chance to be a corporate sponsor of community content on the site. For £30 plus VAT per month you will be the designated sponsor of at least one article a month with your logo appearing if supplied. If there is a specific community group or initiative you'd like to support we can make sure your sponsorship is featured on related content for a one off payment of £50 plus VAT. All payments are made through a secure web site.