Ealing Arts Centre - What Now?

Further council investigation means delays to project

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In April 2010 the Ealing Labour Party made this election pledge - ''Explore the possibilities of establishing a permanent Arts Centre in Ealing”.

Following a presentation of its independently prepared Business Plan to the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Ealing Arts Centre did not get a recommendation to Cabinet to support the Arts Centre project.
Councillors seemed uncertain about the significance of this project for Ealing residents and for the coffers of the Town Hall which is currently costing residents £1.7m every year.

The Committee decided to set up a sub-committee to examine the detail with Ealing Arts Centre Ltd and council officers, which will delay the project by at least a couple of months. Then the project will still have to go to the Labour-controlled Council for final approval.

Local dance teachers will be disappointed as they are geared up to start classes early next year. An overwhelming response from dance teachers has resulted in the “virtual” studio being 60% “booked”
Similarly, Art groups will be disappointed at the delay. MIND and ECIL are anxious to find art, dance and music studios for their users (whose classes may well close in the future as the Government’s new Personalisation plans kick in).
Josh Wheeden, a TVU graduate recording engineer who attended the meeting, said: “This is not good news. What can I do to help? I have a growing list of bands wanting to do recordings.”

The directors of Ealing Arts Centre Ltd will continue their efforts to achieve what they know residents want - a thriving arts centre in the town hall, which will give opportunities to thousands of people to practice or to be entertained.

The value of their efforts over 2 years, plus other specialist advisors, has been calculated at over £100,000 – freely given. They are now asking the Council to allocate the £570,000 that is ring fenced for arts and culture so that Phase 1 of the project can be started.
Phase 1 includes art, music and dance studios, a café/gallery and performance hall, to be followed with a dozen rooms for groups, clubs, classes and small meetings and then a total upgrade of Victoria Hall to make it into a first class performance/concert hall. Large meetings and weddings will still be able to book into the larger halls.

For more info /support contact: info@ealingartscentre.org.uk or phone 8579 4925 or 8998 4465.

October 5, 2010

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