My partner, Julian Edmonds (also known as Larry), who has died aged 66 of complications following surgery for lung cancer, was a formidable campaigner on behalf of residents of central Ealing in west London. His tenure as chair of the Central Ealing Residents’ Association, from 2000 to his death, coincided with a push towards high-rise redevelopment of the Victorian/Edwardian town centre, which he believed threatened its unique character.
Julian’s views often put him at odds with Ealing council and developers. One scheme approved by the council would have allowed a 28-storey tower block to be erected at the intersection of two conservation areas. Julian, with others, fought the scheme doggedly for several years until it was finally referred to the Planning Inspectorate. At the ensuing inquiry he led the day-long presentation of the residents’ case, securing a victory.
Born in Hampshire to John Christopher Edmonds, a naval officer and career diplomat, and Elena Tornow, a Russian émigré, Julian attended boarding school from an early age. After an unhappy spell at Charterhouse, he found an outlet for his strong artistic sensibilities, studying art and design at Dartington College of Arts in Devon and later at the West of England College of Art in Bristol.
In the early 70s, he began a career in the media-buying side of advertising, which culminated in him forming his own company, The Media Consultancy Ltd. Colleagues recall him as a hard-working maverick, incapable of playing by the normal rules, yet who won clients’ trust and loyalty by the sheer force of his intelligence, wit and natural charm. These traits stood him in good stead in his work as a local community activist.
Following the early death of his wife, Karen, in 1992, he devoted two years to pursuing, successfully, a legal case against the NHS.
After taking over the chair of the residents’ association in 2000, Julian was proud to see the membership swell to around 300 households. In addition to planning, he tackled issues of sustainability, air pollution, licensing and community policing. In all of this, he was never too busy to help individual members with issues that were closer to home.
He is survived by his brother, Antony, and by me.