Home > News > Inspector approves 144 affordable homes in Ealing

Following a two-week inquiry, Inspector Paul Griffiths has allowed an appeal against the London Borough of Ealing, granting permission for the construction of a part 12-part 19 storey tower with 144 affordable (intermediate tenure) units. Ealing had refused permission based on (a) the impact on the character and appearance of the local area and (b) that the proposal did not include any social rent affordable units where there was a larger unmet need.

Importantly, in allowing the appeal, Inspector Griffiths made the following notable points:

  • A proposal can satisfy the standards of “beauty” in NPPF terms if it, objectively, an exemplary piece of design in accordance with architectural principles;
  • There is no local or national policy guidance justifying ranking one form of affordable housing need over another. So, the weight to be attached to 144 affordable units could not be diluted by the fact that no social units were provided;
  • As it contained 100% affordable housing the proposal was initially dealt with under the Fast Track Route set out in the London Plan (2016). Officers had said the tenure mix (100% intermediate) was acceptable. Members, at the date of decision, disagreed. The Inspector noted that “there is nothing particularly ‘fast track’ about a process where Officers agree with the tenure mix at pre-application stage, only for Council Members to deem it unacceptable when the time comes for them to make a decision”. If it works in that way the incentive it offers is “diluted somewhat”;
  • Although the site was not explicitly allocated for a tall tower in the local plan, and although the London Plan (2021) states that sites for tall towers should be so allocated “bearing in mind the significant uplift from previous figures in the housing targets…and the urgent need to provide new housing in the capital, it would seem to me rather obtuse to wait for the boroughs to allocate sites for tall buildings…before permitting a predominantly residential tall building of exemplary, and contextually appropriate, design”.

The decision is 51-56 Manor Road, Appeal Ref APP/A5270/W/21/3268157.

Zack Simons acted for the successful appellant, Southern Grove West Ealing and Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing.

Nick Grant acted for the Rule 6 Party, Stop the Towers.

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