ONE of the largest public protests in Ealing in recent years greeted councillors last night (25) as they arrived for a full council meeting.

Campaigners outside the town hall chanted ‘Stop the towers!”, in protest at the scale of development in the borough.

Louise Simmonds, of Save Gurnell, a founding member group of Stop the Towers Ealing, said: “This was the biggest demonstration since the West London tram scheme and, given the cold and rainy weather, it shows just how strongly people feel. 

“We had representatives from Southall, Hanwell, Acton, Perivale, Greenford, Northolt and Central and West Ealing. 

“I am part of the Save Gurnell campaign team, fighting the building of 600 flats in six tower blocks up to 17 storeys on Metropolitan Open Land.

“Over the last few months ,it has become more and more apparent that we are stronger together, so we, alongside Stop the Towers and Ealing Matters, have started this borough-wide movement.”

Eric Leach, of Ealing Matters, has been tracking new developments and his research shows that 124 towers of 10 storeys or more have been built, are being built and are proposed in the borough.

“We are not against all development, said Louise Simmonds. “However, it must be well designed, sustainable, actually affordable and built for the benefit of people who actually need it.

READ MORE: Ealing's careers fair draws 1,000 visitors

READ MORE: TV star Mel backs Ealing students' call for film industry equality

READ MORE: Northolt activist takes health message to Parliament

“Just last week, the planning committee approved 4 Portal Way in North Action – at 44 and 55 storeys, this will be the tallest residential tower in the whole of London and its fire strategy is inadequate. 

“Several of the committee members did not ask a single question during the meeting and voting was carried out along party lines.

“The committee commonly uses the excuse that Ealing needs more affordable housing as a reason to approve these applications. 

“Ealing has had its 10-year housing target slashed from 28,070 to 21,570, but Ealing Council is pressing ahead with previous targets regardless.

“People are angry and want to be heard but Ealing’s not listening.”

Cllr Peter Mason, lead member for housing, planning and transformation, said: “London is facing an unprecedented affordable housing crisis and we have more than 9,000 households on the waiting list in Ealing alone. 

“With national rules prioritising private profit and a decade of cuts to council funding, we can’t build homes at the scale and pace needed to tackle the affordable housing crisis.

"The majority of homes in our borough are built by private developers and that will continue until the Government gives us the powers and funding we need as a council to shape the way our communities grow.

“As a council our job is to fight for the best outcome for our residents, which means delivering the maximum number of genuinely affordable homes in every development.

"We will always negotiate hard with private developers and applications have been rejected in the past for not reaching our requirements for genuinely affordable homes.”