Film stars living in west London are campaigning against a £40?million shopping centre development saying it could ruin the area.
Actresses Emilia Fox and Anna Chancellor are hoping to force developers to change proposals for a massive gated community which they say will adversely affect businesses and residents in the area.
Councillors are examining plans for a regeneration project in Acton high street featuring nearly 150 new homes, new shops and a Waitrose supermarket.
But locals say the design for The Oaks shopping centre is “a dog’s dinner” and could blight the area. They do not want the development to be closed off to pedestrians and they want the planned blocks of flats to be staggered so light is not blocked from existing shops.
Planners want to turn the Oaks underground car park into a Waitrose, with a new multi-storey car park on top, surrounded by a gated community of 142 flats.Chancellor, 48, branded the idea “unimaginative” and “slightly barbaric”, saying a “huge great building” would not improve the aesthetic of nearby open spaces.
She also said the development could bring traffic problems. “I think it is going to be dangerous,” she said. “I can’t quite see how that is going to work traffic-wise, how we are going to have all these endless delivery lorries.
“Think bigger. Think that this whole area has really got an opportunity to become a very exciting area and something that Ealing council would be very proud of presiding over. Something really good happening in Acton.”
Fox, 39, said: “Acton is a really tight-knit community that prides itself on its togetherness and a gated tower block in the heart of the town centre seems adverse to this spirit.”
Bruce Forsyth’s daughter Laura, 50, who runs a card shop in the area, said: “The plans are not very sympathetic to the kind of community we have around here.
“We have a lovely village and we are all for regeneration — we deserve it — but if you get it wrong it could be disastrous.” John Bourne, of the Acton Regeneration Company, said the plans would bring benefits including 500 jobs. But campaigners plan to protest on Saturday as Ealing’s planning committee visit the site ahead of the decision next week.
Former Crimewatch editor Doug Carnegie, spearheading the campaign, said: “We want development in our backyard. The problem is this plan would be better suited to Eighties Bucharest than west London today.”