Council To Take Action Over Empire Cinema
Site may be subject to compulsory purchase order
Ealing Council has written to the Chief Executive of Empire Cinema demanding assurances that work be completed within a 'reasonable period' - otherwise the site may be bought by the authority.
The former UGC was demolished in February 2009 (apart from the frontage) but building work on the new 16 screen cinema has still not started and the site - opposite the Town Hall - has been left as pictured.
In the letter sent to Justin Ribbons on 1st April, Brendon Walsh, Director of Regeneration says he has been seeking an update on the progress of the scheme for some time:
'' It is unacceptable for Empire to have started on a scheme in such a prominent town centre location only for work to have stopped for such a long period leaving an eyesore that has a detrimental effect on the vitality of the town centre.''
He summises that the company must be having problems financing the new development.
Mr Walsh continued, ''I have now taken advice and received confirmation that the Council, as planning authority, has powers under section 91 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 to serve a completion notice where we are of the opinion that development will not be completed within a reasonable period.
'' Ultimately, if no progress is made to complete the development I will be recommending to Cabinet that the Council exercise compulsory purchase powers to prevent the site from continuing to harm the town centre.
Empire Cinema has until the end of this month to respond otherwise the council will issue a completion notice.
Ealing Today has requested a statement from Empire.
April 14, 2010