|Ealing's New Cinema Could Be Built Next Year|
Empire CEO says they are now very close to starting work
There's renewed optimism that Ealing could have a cinema by next year following a meeting at the House of Commons.
Ealing Central and Acton MP, Angie Bray, along with local campaigner, Kuldeep Brar, spoke to the Chief Executive Officer of Empire Cinemas, Justin Ribbons, and left feeling more positive than they ever have.
For nearly three years, the old cinema site has festered, and nearly four thousand local residents have signed a petition calling on Empire to get a move on with the development.
In July, Ealing Council began proceedings which could lead to the Compulsory Purchase of the site but said they were giving the company one last chance.
Mr Ribbons has now told Angie Bray and Kuldeep Brar that Empire are nearly ready to begin work, providing that they get their final sign off on crucial planning documents.
If all goes according to plan, this will trigger a six week period when Empire will prepare for the development.
Mr Ribbons told Angie that if he gets final sign off, he hopes to be able to build the new cinema within sixty to sixty-five weeks.
After the meeting Angie said:
"It was a really positive meeting. Finally, we've heard good news from Justin. As I've said before, Ealing needs its cinema! With all of our fantastic film heritage, it's a real shame that we've been left without one for all this time.
'' It was exciting to hear the plans for the new cinema. We need some good news in Ealing in the wake of the riot, and it's in no small part due to the efforts of Kuldeep and the other activists who've pressed so hard to get Ealing back on the film map."
Ealing Council Leader Julian Bell said:
"Since the scrutiny meeting there has been a great deal of progress. We now have revised plans and we are in the process of consulting organisations, such as the local conservation panel, on the latest changes to ensure they share our understanding of what is now proposed.
''We are expecting those groups to respond in a matter of days. This preconsultation will help us process any formal application received from Empire in less than a month. We hope that once we give the go ahead, Mr Ribbons will be true to his word and start work immediately."
Read more from campaigner Kuldeep Brar here
20th September 2011