Ealing Notes NP83: upgrades and downgrades

Save our NHS

On Saturday 30th September 2017 Ealing NHS protests were once again a TV news item, this time on ITV National News at both 6.00PM and 10.30PM! Around 1,000 protesters marched from Southall and Acton Parks to a Council organised protest rally on Ealing Common about our local hospitals.
Many people still do not realise that NHS England’s 2012 “Shaping a Healthier Future” proposals remain in place to downgrade Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals from General to Local Hospital status, removing 500 beds. If this goes ahead, all operating theatres would be closed, there would be no surgeons and no blue light A&E services. The only services in each “Local Hospital” would be provided through out-patient specialist clinics with 50 beds for observation, rehabilitation and the frail elderly. The Urgent Care Centre would remain but serious cases would be transferred to other hospitals’ A&E departments. How neighbouring hospitals would cope is impossible to imagine. Beds are very limited in all North-West London NHS hospitals now. Performance has also plummeted since units were closed at Central Middx and Hammersmith in 2014. Ambulance staff report huge admittance problems when they bring casualties. Rally speakers included local MPs, Hammersmith and Ealing Council Leaders, local doctors and Ealing Save our NHS. This is a really serious situation with the plans branded “unwise and unsafe” by all speakers. Even worse, NW London NHS has distributed thousands of leaflets in doctor surgeries, pharmacies and elsewhere stating Ealing Hospital is not closing but merely “existing services will change”. Addressing this, Ealing Council Leader Julian Bell said “To strip out vital services, reduce number of beds by 80% and still call it a “local” hospital is pure spin and we’re not falling for it”. Neighbours’ Paper agrees. It is high time NWL NHS abandoned these dangerous plans. Far from being “clinically led” as claimed, they are being implemented by Ealing Clinical Commissioner Group (CCG) members who are cynically trying to implement Government cuts in return for handsome salaries.

For more information and to sign the Council Petition www.ealing.gov.uk/soh and www.ealingsaveournhs.org.uk

NP has just heard that NWL NHS has refused the funds needed to progress these plans. More next time.

Central Library

Ealing’s Central Library Plans to downgrade the library are unveiled via a planning application that sets new lows for weasel words and doublespeak. The existing facility, refurbished for over £3m by the Council under 10 years ago, is condemned as “unorganised and cluttered”. We’re told Ealing’s new library offer will be, “a cross between an Apple store and a Library” and that by “reducing its floor size and book number by two thirds, the library can operate with the highest level of efficiency”. This upgrade will have a new active frontage and a more friendly, front door. Other “enhancements” relocate the Local History section to a desk in West Ealing Library and the Borough’s archive material to storage. The “surplus” space and long-term linked peppercorn lease achieved from this “optimization” will be surrendered to the owner (British Land) to let commercially. Speculation is rife on the Council’s real reasons behind this seeming betrayal of Ealing’s interests. Application plans, expected to be waved through, can be viewed on the Council’s planning webpage (application No 177280FUL).

Heller House
By Jacqueline Swords, Parent campaigner

Good news! Earlier this year, Ealing Council made the welcome decision to build in the borough a new respite centre for children and young people with severe disabilities. This will replace the much-loved Heller House in Southall, which for years provided respite to some of Ealing’s most disabled and challenging children. This magnificent achievement was the result of a hard fought campaign and a 12,000-strong petition by Ealing residents. Many of you will have signed. Thank you so much! As a result, Ealing Council agreed to put £1.5 million into building a new respite centre for children and young people which will benefit children and their families for years to come. Over the past six months a reference group of parents, campaigners, Special Educational Need school staff and Mencap have been working collaboratively with council officers from the Children and Disabilities Team, alongside the council architects to help design a purpose-built building and garden which will meet the needs of children with severe physical disabilities as well as those who have autism and challenging behaviour. The new build, is a six-bedded respite centre and will be located in Northolt. We are hoping the respite centre will be open in late 2018. It’s brilliant too that Heller House has been renovated to provide flats and is currently providing accommodation for families in need in Ealing whilst its future is deliberated.

Central Ealing Neighbourhood Plan

We’re delighted that the October referendum into the Central Ealing Neighbourhood Plan(CENP), developed jointly by local businesses and residents, produced a decisive result in favour. 92.4% of Residential voters voted YES (of 2838 votes cast, 17.2% of eligible voters), and 91.5% of Business voters (59 voted, 45.4% of the eligible businesses). Tony Miller (Chair) writes
“For the first time in a London borough, we’ve started a process where the local community – businesses as well as residents – can exercise its legal right for a decisive say in how development should affect our town. This is a significant milestone towards greater local democratic influence on the planning decisions affecting us all. CENP already has legal force. Before the end of the year it will be adopted and officially incorporated into Ealing’s Local Development Plan, helping to ensure its policies will influence the way Ealing looks and works in the years to come.”
CENP policies are based on four themes: the economy, our built and green heritage, transport and culture and community. Planning applications must be determined in line with the Local Development Plan, the Mayor’s London Plan and National Planning Guidance unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The Forum is now considering how the various projects in the plan can be taken forward.

More details on www.centralealingforum.com. As we go to press the West Ealing Centre Neighbourhood Forum (WECNF) has decided to go ahead to referendum on the heavily modified London Borough of Ealing version of the West Ealing Centre Neighbourhood Plan.

More at www.wecnf.org

Exposure Box

A new Ealing Video Channel is launched for Ealing! It is in its early stages and is an exciting initiative. It was created and is run by Ealing residents. Recent coverage has featured the CENP Referendum, the Save Our Hospitals March, the Ealing Half Marathon and Save Our Heritage/Woolworths façade, West Ealing. There’s also a video on Ealing’s police service (the cover story for issue 83)

West Ealing Centre Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ)

A CPZ is proposed in streets south of West Ealing Broadway down to Leighton Road. A consultation of residents produced a very narrow YES majority in this area where shop staff park their cars. Shahid Iqbal of Ealing Council claims businesses were consulted but sixty are very adamant they were not. This is against the law and a row has erupted which may lead to a legal challenge.

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