|D-Day For Empire|
Compulsory purchase of cinema site now likely
Yet another deadline has arrived for work to start on Ealing's neglected cinema and patience has worn out.
Council Leader Julian Bell is today (31st May) sending a letter to Empire's chief executive, Mr Justin Ribbons, telling him that Council's now stepping in and Empire may be forced to sell the land.
Building work on the new cinema started and stopped in 2008 and a derelict eyesore has been left in the centre of the town.
In the letter (pdf) Cllr Bell says:
'' It is now 4 years since you demolished the original cinema and your lack of progress is a blight on our town centre.
''We have been very patient with you but the time has now come where we must take action to resolve the situation.''
Empire has blamed the delays on rows over planning regulations, after the company changed its inital plans from a 16 to 20 screen cinema.
However they have said they are 'fully committed' to seeing Ealing's cinema built and at various times told us that work would start 'soon', 'imminently' and 'in the spring' - but so far nothing has happened.
Council leader Julian Bell said Mr Ribbons has been in touch in the past, but gave today's deadline because he said he was 'sceptical and promises have been broken before'.
The proposals for compulsory purchase will go before the council’s cabinet in July for authorisation.
The process of seizing control of the site could take over a year and may take up to two years if Empire Cinemas decide to fight the CPO.
Ealing Today, is awaiting comment from Empire.
31st May 2012