Alarm at pro­pos­als to de­velop Northolt

Hilling­don coun­cil­lors will ‘ro­bustly op­pose’ 20,000-home scheme

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­

COUN­CIL­LORS in Hilling­don have re­acted in hor­ror to the pro­posal to close the his­toric RAF Northolt sta­tion and build 20,000 homes on the site in an at­tempt to com­bat London’s hous­ing cri­sis.

The idea was sub­mit­ted by Eal­ing Coun­cil for the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s ‘City for All Lon­don­ers’ doc­u­ment, which out­lines chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties from across the cap­i­tal.

Eal­ing sug­gested the work­ing 100-year-old RAF sta­tion could be closed as it ‘serves no real strate­gic im­por­tance’ and the land could in­stead be de­vel­oped for hous­ing.

The coun­cil has called for ‘rad­i­cal think­ing’ and said the plans could help meet the hous­ing chal­lenges London faces, but Hilling­don Coun­cil in the neigh­bour­ing bor­ough has vowed to op­pose the plans, say­ing 20,000 houses would put too much pres­sure on public ser­vices.

An Eal­ing Coun­cil spokesman said: “London is fac­ing a mas­sive hous­ing cri­sis and we be­lieve that some rad­i­cal think­ing is needed.

“We sub­mit­ted the pos­si­bil­ity of de­vel­op­ing sites in Eal­ing, and the neigh­bour­ing bor­ough, to help meet this chal­lenge as part of our re­cent re­sponse to the Mayor of London’s con­sul­ta­tion on his City for All Lon­don­ers doc­u­ment.

“The de­vel­op­ment of RAF Northolt is one idea cur­rently up for dis­cus­sion.”

The City for All Lon­don­ers con­sul­ta­tion ran from Oc­to­ber 24 to De­cem­ber 11 last year, and en­cour­aged a wide range of groups to put for­ward their views to shape pol­icy at City Hall.

Chal­lenges looked at in the con­sul­ta­tion in­cluded hous­ing, trans­port, crime, cul­ture, health and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, and the doc­u­ment sets out changes City Hall wants to make over the next four years. Eal­ing Coun­cil is not the only body rais­ing the sug­ges­tion of build­ing on RAF Northolt.

The air­field, which is owned by the Min­istry of De­fence, was also high­lighted in a re­port by the London So­ci­ety, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that en­cour­ages public in­ter­est in plan­ning and trans­port in the cap­i­tal, which said even more homes could be fit­ted into the site.

The re­port, ti­tled ‘Re/Shap­ing London: Un­lock­ing Sus­tain­able Growth in West London and Be­yond’ and pub­lished in Oc­to­ber 2015, says Northolt could be the site of a new ‘Gar­den City’ in London, in­clud­ing 40,000 new homes and 65,000 jobs.

It says: “[Northolt] is se­verely con­strained in avi­a­tion terms, with prob­lems which would ham­per com­mer­cial oper­a­tion.

“Northolt is none­the­less wel­lcon­nected, be­ing served by three un­der­ground sta­tions with the A40 run­ning along­side. A com­mis­sion should be launched to ex­plore mil­i­tary avi­a­tion ca­pac­ity within the south-east of Eng­land and whether there is a bet­ter-suited al­ter­na­tive.

“If other lo­ca­tions were ac­cept­able, Northolt air­port could be re­leased to de­liver an en­tirely new Gar­den City within London, with a po­ten­tial ca­pac­ity in ex­cess of 40,000 new homes and 65,000 jobs.”

At a full Hilling­don Coun­cil meet­ing in Uxbridge on Thurs­day Jan­uary 19 leader Ray Pud­di­foot was asked if the au­thor­ity would op­pose the pro­posal to build on RAF Northolt.

Cllr Pud­di­foot said: “A de­vel­op­ment of this scale would be ex­pected to ac­com­mo­date be­tween 45,000 and 60,000 res­i­dents.

“Tak­ing the lower of these es­ti­mates would gen­er­ate around 13,000 chil­dren re­quir­ing a school place and the need for be­tween 30 and 40 new GPs. Whilst I do ap­pre­ci­ate liv­ing in Hilling­don would look very at­trac­tive to those liv­ing in other London bor­oughs, that would not be the case if we got in­volved with mas­sive over-de­vel­op­ments of this kind.

“Those coun­cil­lors who rep­re­sent the Ruis­lip area and Hilling­don wards that will be mas­sively af­fected can en­sure their res­i­dents we will ro­bustly op­pose this.”

‘OVER-DE­VEL­OP­MENT’: Coun­cil­lor Ray Pud­di­foot, leader of Hilling­don Coun­cil, says he will op­pose build­ing

‘RAD­I­CAL’: Plans have sur­faced to close the his­toric base to make way for hous­ing

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