Fury over Friary Park Development-Freddie Richardson Latymer

The developers claim it will be something of an oasis with “pockets of green around every corner”. Yet in the leafy green suburb of Acton in West London, the locals are concerned that it may not be all as it seems. The housing estate at Friary Park was recently demolished, a move that everyone agrees had to happen. But it’s what is going to replace it that is far more contentious. The recent plans laid out by developers Mount Anvil and Catalyst have angered local residents. The original proposals, published in a document by Catalyst, show a development of two towers, the highest being 15 stories tall. A few years later however, they were granted a height increase to over 20 storeys. Now, local residents are incensed that they are requesting a further increase in height by 68% to 37 storeys. In response, a community action group named Cap The Towers has been set up, and is leading the fight against the development. Kal Di Paola, who is running the group’s online presence, says that they are “making people aware of what is happening”. The campaign has gained momentum thanks to TV Presenter Sean Fletcher, who co-founded the group. In a video published by Cap The Towers on social media, Fletcher says the campaign is all about trying ‘to stop developers lining their pockets at the expense of the people of Acton.’ The proposed development is in the North part of a small neighborhood in Central Acton. The area surrounding it consists almost entirely of Edwardian and Victorian houses and is a popular place for families. Many critics of the proposal emphasise this, including local Labour MP Rupa Huq, who said in an interview that “the revised plans are… completely mismatched to the Edwardian and Victorian surrounding streets.” The area is widely thought of as the last low-rise neighborhood in Acton, with North Acton being considered ‘the Manhattan of Ealing’ and the South being home to a large new development, revitalising the area from its poor and industrial roots. But Cap The Towers fear the positive effects of South Acton’s development won’t happen in the case of Friary Park, but the opposite instead, with the roads, trains and buses being more congested than ever. The local councillor, Daniel Crawford, who is a member of the planning committee has informed local residents that he intends to make representations to the same effect as the locals. Council leader Peter Mason, said that he is unable to influence the committee, yet local residents claim this is another example of what Cap The Towers calls council compliance. The organisation was originally founded simply to raise awareness of the changes, but have since grown to a huge email campaign which has led to local residents writing over 800 emails to developers and countless more to Ealing Council. Di Paola says it’s about ensuring that it doesn’t set a precedent for developers to “come back again and again and again.” A final decision is expected soon.


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