|New Cinema Quarter Plans Rubber Stamped|
Permission to go ahead with new proposals for site
Ealing Council’s cabinet has endorsed the decision to select Land Securities as Ealing’s new cinema developer - which could eventually result in a 'film quarter' on the neglected two acre site.
Officers were also given permission to begin the legal process of acquiring the site from current owners Empire, either by agreement or – as seems more likely – by compulsory purchase order.
The council had given Empire until 23 October 2012 to provide evidence of a full construction contract, and last night's (22nd Jan) cabinet decision was exactly three months past that deadline. No evidence of a full construction contract has been provided.
Empire recently wrote to Ealing Council stating they have undertaken some preliminary activity on the site, but Council Leader Julian Bell remains unimpressed:
''We’re concerned this minimal work is just a cynical ploy to stall or thwart a compulsory purchase order. It’s been four years and four months since Empire closed the old cinema, and in that time we’ve given them every opportunity to build a new cinema or at least show evidence of their intent to do so. And yet all we have to show from Empire is a derelict site and an unsightly steel structure that’s blighting the town centre. Tuesday night’s decision means we won’t be putting up with that a day longer than we have to.''
Councillor David Millican, Conservative Group Leader said, :
'' I totally agree that it is unacceptable that Ealing, with its rich history of television and film, does not to have a cinema. It is deplorable that Empire have dragged their heels for so long. However, I am concerned that it could still take another two years for the compulsory process to be completed and we see any progress. So I call on the current owners to meet their commitments and get on urgently and build the cinema or else let another developer do it.''
In November council officers selected Land Securities to develop the site following their detailed submissions for a comprehensive urban entertainment quarter anchored by a multiplex cinema.
Land Securities Development Director, Nick Davis, said: “Land Securities has extensive experience in delivering and investing in the leisure sector and we're delighted with the cabinet decision to endorse us as development partner. We think Ealing has great potential and this ‘cinema quarter’ scheme will have a hugely positive effect on the town centre.”
Ealing Council wishes to see a comprehensive mixed-use development that links the cinema with the town centre and Walpole Park. The site has potential for restaurants, retail, residential, cultural industries, art galleries and performance spaces, which will extend south from the cinema towards Ealing Studios.
23rd January 2013