|Ealing's 'Pile of Rubbish' Raised in Parliament|
Local disappointment and frustration over Empire Cinema
The Ealing Central and Acton Conservative MP, Angie Bray, has spoken in Parliament to draw attention to the lack of progress being made on the development of Ealing's cinema.
She told the speaker : '' There is a pile of rubble in the centre of Ealing on the site where the Ealing cinema used to stand. Empire, which owns the site, has consistently disappointed and frustrated many of my constituents by failing to deliver on its promises to build a new cinema and by evading all opportunities to explain the continued delay.''
The Leader of the House and Former Local MP George Young replied:
'' As the former Member for Ealing Acton, I spent many evenings in that cinema, and I am sorry to hear that it has been demolished. My hon. Friend will know that under planning legislation, the planning authority can impose a condition that rebuilding shall start by a given date, and it has powers to commence that work if the applicant does not do so.
I very much hope that the London borough of Ealing will look again at the planning powers available to it—under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, I think—and take whatever action it can to ensure that my hon. Friend can go to a decent cinema in her constituency.''
Plans to demolish most of the historic cinema building on Uxbridge Road were originally submitted back in November 2008, but no sooner had the building been destroyed, retaining only the ornate façade, the site was abandoned.
Ms Bray has held meetings and discussions with Empire's CEO, Justin Ribbons, and the company are well aware of the strength of feeling regarding the lack of progress on the derelict eyesore.
Despite sending us assurances last year that work would start in early 2012 - there has been no sign of anything happening.
The last statement from Empire was on 19th January: '' Empire Cinemas remains fully committed to delivering a new, world-class cinema to the residents of Ealing. Mobilisation is currently underway and work will commence on-site as soon as possible.
''There will be no further comment from the company until work begins.''
Meanwhile claims by a Conservative Councillor that the site could be turned into housing have been dismissed by the Labour group. They say Cllr Costello has completely misunderstood Cllr Johnson’s answer, and there has been absolutely no change in Labour’s or the council’s position.
Council Leader, Councillor Julian Bell, said: "Empire has made countless empty promises and should be ashamed of itself. We agreed a revised planning application in November 2010 that Empire said was needed to make the scheme commercially viable.
''Legally we cannot seek a completion notice until 2013 when three years have elapsed. The situation is nothing short of ridiculous and we are in discussions with our lawyers about what action we should take, including forcing Empire to sell the site. Ealing Labour is taking action on this issue all the Tories are doing is issuing misleading press statements."
8th March 2012