Residents Say Twyford Abbey Plan 'A Disaster'

Claim scheme to develop 325 flats at derelict mansion would harm area

A meeting in the Ealing Council chamber

April 28, 2022

Residents fear an iconic old mansion could be surrounded by 325 flats that “would be a disaster” for the local community. Locals are worried that proposals to restore and redevelop Twyford Abbey may harm the area.

In proposals being drawn up by Latimer Developments, part of the housing developers Clarion Housing Group, 325 new flats and 150 parking spaces would be built in the grounds of the derelict mansion. The Grade II listed mansion would also be restored and the Abbey’s grounds would be opened to the public.

But residents are concerned that building that many new flats will damage the local environment because of the amount of trees that would be removed. Jean-Paul Beaini, who has lived in the area for five years, said: “The ecological impact is going to be quite large. In our area we are boxed in by six lane motorways and an industrial park and this is the only green land in the area.”

Mr Beaini, 35, added, “There’s birds, there’s all sorts of wildlife in there. That’s the lungs of the area and they’re going to cut through it to build houses. That’s disgraceful.”

Robin Chambers, 76, also said he was worried about the number of flats that could be built in the Abbey’s grounds. He said: “The trees, the blossom and everything will be desecrated. When we moved in in 1982 Twyford Abbey Road was fields, there were cows!”

Resident John Haston said he supported the restoration of Twyford Abbey, built in 1809, itself and acknowledged that some flats would be built to finance the restoration project. However, he said he didn’t support the high number of flats being proposed and was worried they would encroach on the houses of those who live around the Abbey.

He added, “Our concern is that the developers are marching on with proposals that we are totally opposed to.” Several residents also voiced their fear that more people moving to the area would put strain on West Twyford’s amenities.

Yusri Farrah, 55, said, “If this goes ahead it will be a big disaster for the community. The area is already full of flats. We are lacking other things, like schools and GP surgeries.”

Leader of Ealing Conservatives and Councillor for Hanger Hill, Gregory Stafford said, “[Twyford Abbey] is the one green space in the area and the idea that it is and the idea that it is going to be built on and concreted over is totally unacceptable.

“Residents are quite rightly furious that this has got so far. We as local councillors will object to this when it comes to the committee. There are people young and old who are united in the fact that this is the last green space that needs to be protected.

“Nobody is against the refurbishment of the Abbey, but it can’t be done at the expense of green space.”

Clarion Housing Group said planning permission will be submitted to Ealing Council in May.

A spokesperson for Clarion Housing Group spokesperson said: “Our plans for the Twyford Abbey site present an opportunity to restore one of Ealing’s most prized historic assets to its former glory and deliver vital new homes, 35% of which would be affordable rent and home ownership.

“The plans will also open the 1.2-acre south lawn to the public for the first time. We have carried out a range of studies to ensure that this application is more detailed than any before it in terms of assessing local impact and the site’s ecological and environmental contribution.

“This includes working closely with the council’s tree and ecology officers to ensure that the most important trees are protected and that there is no net loss of trees overall. We have also completed detailed traffic modelling, with Transport for London stating the site’s plans will not impact on current nearby traffic levels.

“We are looking forward to working with the council to finalise our plans and unlock the potential of this historic site.”

Ealing Council has been approached for comment.

Lisa Haseldine - Local Democracy Reporter