gas works site
LOCAL democracy was not enough to stop a hugely unpopular planning application for Southall getting the green light.
Amid scenes of dismay from residents and councillors during an inquiry at City Hall last Thursday, the go-ahead was given to a regeneration scheme for up to 3,750 homes on the gas works site in The Straight.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson used his executive powers to push the scheme through after it was rejected by Ealing Council at a planning meeting last year.
Mr Johnson said: "Having had the chance to listen in person to all the arguments for and against this proposal, and consider the application in greater detail, I am satisfied that all major concerns have been addressed.
"This application is clearly of major significance to London, with the homes it will deliver and the jobs it will create.
"West London is an important driver for the capital's entire economy and within a decade it will become one of the best-connected regions in the UK with the arrival of Crossrail.
"Failure to give the Southall application the go-ahead and develop this key brownfield site could be detrimental to the future economic prosperity of the area."
People objecting were given more than 40 minutes at the inquiry to voice their concerns about traffic and extra housing in an already crowded area.
There were also fears the scheme would cause a health hazard by disturbing contaminated ground.
The mayor insisted only 2,500 units can be built before South Road bridge, near the development site, is widened by the developer.
This will help relieve congestion on routes around the site and ensure traffic flow on the nearby South and Beaconsfield Roads.
Phil Edwards, head of sales and lettings for National Grid, which is behind the proposals, said: "We are delighted that the mayor has recognised the strategic regional importance of the proposals. We have worked extremely hard over a long period of time and will continue to work with the relevant authorities and the local community."