Cinema Petition Reaches Target And Is Still Growing

We meet the woman behind Save Ealing's Cinema campaign

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Making a difference; community campaigner Kuldeep Brar,  she says:

'' The simple truth is we all feel more confident and better as a community when we're able to join force and connect behind the issues that make a difference. The Cinema is just one small but important part of that and I'm very proud to be in good company with others locals who also want to make a difference. I think that's what 'Big Society' is really about.''

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More than 2,000 people have now signed the petition for Ealing's cinema. The woman behind it is former City high-flyer, psychologist, entrepreneur and local resident Kuldeep Brar. She talks to about the campaign that has captured the imagination of the community.

What's so important about having a cinema in Ealing?

For a start Ealing is known for film, it's home to famous Ealing Studios 'the oldest continuously working film studio in the world' it's where renowned Ealing Comedies came and produced some of the BBC's most popular films and shows for over 20 years. Ealing has has a vibrant film producing, acting and screening heritage.

As I said in my petition Ealing & Film go together like Wimbledon & Tennis, we're not in the middle of the sticks, we're a vibrant part of the London film scene today.

The question I ask is, how can we not have a cinema? It's criminal that our once glorious Art Deco Cinema was allowed to fall into such a sorry state of disrepair in the first place. That didn't stop me from going, I like many others carried on seeing films there right up until it was torn down.

Secondly we're in times of economic challenge the delays and broken promises of Empire is having a huge impact on businesses and the local economy.

The stagnant construction site has been languishing for two years and really bringing the area down. Londoners and locals alike have been waiting for the Cinema amongst other initiatives to provide much needed boost to the borough.

Have you had lots of support - what have people been saying?

I've been overwhelmed by the support the Cinema petition has received. The petition just reflects a small indication of the efforts of many before me who have put pressure to bear to try and get sensible answers both directly from Empire and via the council.

There are hundreds of people who really want Ealing to not only have a Cinema but get some long overdue investment and attention. It isn't a case of putting Ealing on the map, it's already on the map we need to shout about and reclaim all the amazing things we have to offer Londoners, good Cinema is only part of the picture.

The petition has exceeded its original target of 1,500 and this means a debate in the Council - what will that achieve?

I met up with Ealing Leader; Councillor Julian Bell, who's been giving the petition his full support and pressing Empire to progress with the Cinema. He's advised that the petition of 1.500 will trigger a formal debate and put extra weight and attention to this issue.

This isn't just a matter of principle or civic interest, there are wider repercussions of the Cinema being neglected and allowed to turn into a car-park. It's essential to our local economy, businesses and Ealing's reputation for film.

We're home to the oldest studios that have produced some of the worlds greatest films, in one of London's greatest boroughs. If Empire think we'll sit quietly whilst they turn it into tarmac they've been watch too many 'Ealing Comedies'. The jokes on them, the 1850 and growing votes on line and hundreds more off line are quite serious. We're not happy, I think Empire's going to have to take note.

What would you like to hear from Empire?

Londoners, local residents, businesses and Ealing film fans all want one thing. We want to celebrate and enjoy our film heritage, the Cinema is a symbolic recognition of that and the public facing way in which we all get to be part of that heritage.

Empire should come clean, keep Ealing on side and start building the Cinema it promised.

We don't want a car-park, temporary or otherwise. We want our Cinema, that's what was promised that's what we're waiting for, and that's what we'll fight for.

08 December 2010

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