Viv Ellis wrote the following article for ‘Ealing Today’ regarding the recent public meeting in Hanwell:
‘Around fifty people attended a meeting in Hanwell this week (26th) over the proposed development of Warren Farm – Ealing’s largest sports ground.
The plans are to build an all-singing, all-dancing state-of-the-art training ground for Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club, a category 1 Football Training Academy which will also provide sports and leisure facilities for the community.
Facing a roomful of people ranging from excited QPR fans to sceptical Hanwell residents were spokesmen from Ealing Council and QPR.
One of the biggest concerns voiced was the apparent lack of consultation. People complained that although there are around 1200 homes in Hanwell within 700 metres of the development; only just 100 were consulted.
In the same vein, lots of people commented that Old Hanwell – especially the warren of tiny streets between Boston Road and the canal seemed to have been completely forgotten. It was pointed out that much was made in the planning documents about the ‘Dormers Wells’ side – but not enough about Hanwell. It was suggested that although over 620 consultation letters were sent out; 550 were sent to addresses in Southall and 111 to Hanwell.
Other issues raised ranged from increased traffic and noise in Hanwell, the possibility of paparazzi photographers stalking the area, the buildings being too big, floodlit pitches being too close to houses, the lack of public transport down to whether dog walkers and others will still be able to access the land unhindered.
After two hours of a lively and often noisy debate, lots of people were clearly far from happy. I heard plenty of “it’s a fait accompli” and “it’s a whitewash” remarks.
QPR’s £30m proposal includes training facilities for the club, with a two-storey building, a three-storey multifunctional operations building, as well as three first-team pitches and seven academy/youth pitches.
But Malcolm Weller, an old Hanwell resident of 24 years, is far from impressed. “Neither Ealing Council nor Queen’s Park Rangers could identify a single benefit to the community that we don’t already have. Warren Farm already provides more and larger sports facilities to the community. QPR’s offering would be less than we already enjoy.”
This all started back in 2011 when Ealing Council invited tenders from organisations to develop the much-neglected Warren Farm site on a 200-year lease. The Council received five tenders of which QPR was the preferred option.
Ealing Council will make its decision in a month – though because of the Football Academy aspect, Boris Johnson as Mayor of London has the final say. Ealing residents still have a chance to have their say – through the Council’s website.’
Viv Ellis – Ealing Today