B.A.G.S. Newsletter No:51 – 28th February 2021
Appreciate Miranda Gray’s picture of our gates while you can. The view may be very different fairly soon.
You will know about the planning application to replace the large electricity substation on the right with a small one on the other side of the alley, and to convert the large station into two, three storey houses.
Putting aside the complete unsuitability of the site for housing; at the end of a poorly maintained access road, hard against our boundary fence with close-up views of our portaloo and a sea of garages.
Why does BAGS oppose the plan? In one word “Access”.
The project can be broken down into phases; these are sequential and will affect our access to our car park for many months.
- Build the new substation – whatever the developers say, this work will spill over into the alley immediately in front of our gates – expect deliveries of materials, stored building items, cement mixers etc.
- Dig up the area between the two substations and transfer all the underground power cables. This will mean blocking off the gates entirely until the work is completed and road resurfaced
- External work on old substation: the plan is to remove the roof and build the walls about 4 metres higher (to fit in extra bedrooms). The roof has then to be replaced; requires scaffolding all round including in the alley plus safety zones all around for lorries delivering scaffolding, building materials etc.
- Internal work on old substation; includes building internal walls, staircases, install windows, then everything else needed to be fitted in plastering, plumbing, installation of central heating etc. Deliveries, deliveries plus constant activity in and around our gates.
Time is Money – keeping the area in front of our gates clear of obstruction will be very low priority – probably completely ignored.
Note – the alley beside the old substation and the parking area behind belongs to the residents of Greystoke Terrace. They have good grounds for denying its use for parking, loading and unloading, storage of building materials etc. The local residents hate the proposed development and are our allies in opposing it. Let’s make sure we do our bit!
Calling all BAGS tenants to act now
Everybody on our email list will have received a simple guide on how to lodge an objection on the Ealing Council Planning website. Guidance is also on the BAGS website – please share widely. There are nearly 90 objections already. With 147 BAGS tenants, family members and visitors we should be able to get this to 200 easily.
The BAGS committee understand that not all plot holders use the car park. However, trading hut supplies, manure and wood chip are all delivered via the car park, so you will be affected indirectly.
Many of those most likely to suffer through restrictions of access to the car park are the older and less mobile tenants, many of whom are not on our email list. Others with excellent reasons to complain may be reluctant to do so because English is not their first language. If you know of tenants in these situations, please take time to talk things through with them. It may just be that some encouragement and/or a little help might be appreciated.
Covid and its Impacts
Covid has had a massive impact on all our lives. BAGS sympathy goes out to all who have suffered. Its impact on Brentham as an allotment site has been mixed. On the negative side it has led to the cancellation of our social events, disruption of the use of the Trading Hut and the build-up of rubbish – aggravated by the Bonfire Ban. On the positive side, allotment attendance increased markedly, plots are better tended, and site morale is high. Things are obviously easing but we are not out of the woods yet so please don’t forget the need to maintain the usual social distancing rules etc., for the present at least.
Thanks to everybody who responded to our request for comment on its planned installation. This varied from the very enthusiastic, to the adamantly opposed. Although the total number of comments was lower than anticipated, those in favour greatly outnumbered those against. However as explained below, the pressure for an immediate decision has gone away and the debate is still open.
Talking to the Council, two important facts have emerged. The costs of the project have gone up and we have a funding gap. More importantly, the quantities of water cited in the Environment Agency licence are not sufficient and the licence itself has now expired. So there is much more to be sorted out and there is no chance of completing this in time for the current growing season at least.
You will all be aware that rough sleepers and shed break-ins, looking for food, drink and easily saleable items, were a particularly bad problem last year. This problem was finally got under control with the help of the Council’s Park Guard security officers. The last serious incursion, involving a major breach cut in our boundary fence near the Meadows, occurred just before Christmas. The fence was repaired by the council within a couple of days and the occupants of nearby tents hidden in the bushes surrounding Brentham Meadow moved on.
No obvious problems at the moment but please contact Patrick Williams as Site Manager if your shed is broken into (even if nothing is missing) or you see any suspicious activity on site. Information and constant vigilance is the key to solving this problem.
Melting snow, followed by heavy rain in January, resulted in standing water even in areas of the site not normally subject to drainage problems. The plots closest to the A40, were particularly affected; fortunately things are drying out now. BAGS is talking to the Council regarding how the drainage of the site can be improved.
Rubbish attracts Rubbish:
No additions to “impromptu rubbish heaps” around our site please. This is particularly a problem just outside the Trading Hut gates. If you see anyone dumping rubbish there please talk to them about it or report it to a committee member.
The Trading hut is fully re-stocked and hopefully will soon be fully open for business – more information to follow.
Social Events: there is a real chance that we can run our usual Plant Sale in May. So, plant extra seeds in readiness!
We have recently set up a page for the purpose of sharing new, information, cultivation and plant growing tips etc. To access it go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/470977363934322