By Judy Breens
Ann Pavett presents the Neighbours Paper archive to Ealing library
We bade a sad goodbye to our Neighbours’ Paper Editor of eight years at a farewell gathering in Ealing Central Library. After its birth in 1988 Ann Pavett improved and extended the paper beyond recognition. She presented 15 years of past copies of Neighbours’ Paper to the Ealing Borough’s Archivist and Historian Jonathan Oates for the local history section.
Speeches were made and Ann’s many achievements were applauded. She also received a new award called the London Peace Prize set up to promote public and community service. We wish Ann a happy retirement in Australia where she has joined her sons and grandchildren. It now falls on us all on the Editorial Team to maintain the high standard she set!
A Village Green application ‘Hearing’ for Elthorne Waterside Playing Fields, by Hanwell Community Forum took place in September. Ealing Council used Council Taxpayers’ money to pay a barrister to oppose the proposal. They also paid for the required ‘Independent’ Inspector. Carolyn Brown (Chair of HCF) powerfully presented the case herself but in facing this formidable legal team, the odds appear stacked.
Why does HCF want to win? They wish to ensure the land is protected and returned as open green space for everyone to use, including dog-walkers. Despite objections, the public playing field was fenced off as a dog-free zone six years ago. It was supposed to protect the land for Elthorne Park School to use free of dog excrement. In fact the clutter of fences is ineffective and looks a mess. A large gap in the hedge was made as the gates were too small for the mowers, remaining gates are unlocked by law; most of the hedging plants did not grow and maintenance has proved minimal.
The legal case is complex and the result is imminent. It is hard to know why the Council want to retain their ‘power’ to keep this ugly enclosure. The school does not routinely use the field. If the land gains Village Green status the school would still be able to use it, as they always have. Sadly a similar application for Village Green Status was refused to the Friends of Haven Green Ealing. For more information see www.friendsofhavengreen.com.
On a happier note the Planning Committee soundly rejected the inappropriate Oak Wharf canal-side overdevelopment in the St Marks Conservation Area.This just shows how determined community action by Residents’ Associations can sometimes win. Olde Hanwell RA was delighted but how the application received officer recommendation in the first place remains a worrying mystery.
Fight to Save Ealing Hospital
Would people come? We all wondered, but Ealing citizens turned up trumps! At the 15 September march, thousands walked from Southall, Acton and everywhere between.
Speakers of all political hues spoke, firmly denouncing the North West London NHS proposals. Closing four out of nine A&E’s in North West London is bad enough but the Report “Shaping a Healthier Future” makes it abundantly clear that those designated ‘local hospitals’ with no A&E would be downsized so drastically that Ealing Hospital, with most land sold off for housing, would become little more than a clinic. A similar fate beckons Charing Cross.
A Consultation exercise on the proposals ended on 8 October when, in addition, a Petition opposing the plans from citizens of Ealing Brent and Hammersmith boroughs was handed in to NHS NWL offices. Taken in on a stretcher were boxes with a staggering 60,000 signatures. A copy will later to be taken to 10 Downing Street. We wait to see what comes next. In two large local September public meetings the NWLNHS Team headed by Dr Mark Spencer were shown up for what they are, accomplices in a plan to cut services drastically to save costs. The Commissioning Strategy Plan 2012-15 Part B proposes nearly 4,000 staff cuts and £1 billion removed from the £5 billion budget. This is a 20% cut even though the Government assures us that NHS spending is ‘ring fenced’. But of course these are ‘efficiency savings’ which is different. There may be a case for centralising specialist services. But the plan has so many gaps, ifs and maybes that it seems close to fraudulent. Dr John Lister at www.healthemergency.org.uk has more.
Eric Leach reported in EalingToday: ‘I left the (Ealing) meeting (thinking) we were being asked to take part in a huge unprecedented human experiment.’ Dr Mark Spencer said the consultation result will be in Spring 2013 and there will be no A&E closures for 2/3 years until alternative plans are in place.
Can we believe this? Keep in touch with the campaign on www.ealing.gov.uk/soh and www.saveourhospitals.net.
30,000 people signed the petition against the proposed closures, 17,022 people took part in the consultation..
Read about the Casualty Convoy here
Ealing and the London 2012 Olympic Games
What a time we all had cheering the Olympic Torch in the Borough, watching the Olympic Games on TV or maybe seeing the real thing! I certainly was thrilled to see the road cyclists in Richmond and Kingston, including GB medal winners like Bradley Wiggins and Lizzie Armitstead. The atmosphere and enthusiasm was fantastic. The crowds generously cheered everyone cycling past too, not just Team GB.
Did you realise that Team GB’s Ladies Hockey Team won bronze in the Olympics and that it included two Ealing girls, Hanna Mcleod and Anne Panter. Neighbours’ Paper warmly congratulates them both! Ealing Council were brilliant helping fund Ealing Team GB and also with the torch celebrations. Sadly they failed completely to react to residents’ suggestions to organise a local cultural event involving Ealing schools as part of the Mayor’s Olympic Cultural Diary. So no community cultural event took place in Ealing – what a missed opportunity.