Council Leader issues a pre-election update on the never-ending saga
( artist's impression of new development)
The never ending saga of the redevelopment of Ealing's cinema has taken yet another turn with Council Leader Julian Bell now saying the date it is scheduled to open has slipped back to 2020.
The town centre cinema closed in 2008 and since then it's been one long series of frustrating delays and broken promises. Despite many assurances, Empire, who originally owned the site, failed to start the refurbishment and a Compulsory Purchase Order was eventually granted for the council to take control of the land.
Land Securities were the developers then tasked with the job but sold on the site to St George.
Construction started on Ealing Filmworks site in December 2016 and hopes were immediately raised. The long awaited cinema, was expected to open in 2019 - eleven years after the last one closed.
Major work, preparing the way was expected to begin last summer with the former Flava's nightclub on Mattock Lane and Walpole House on Bond Street being demolished, but an amended planning application caused further delays.
The lack of action regarding the cinema is a continual source of irritation in Ealing, and in a pre-local election broadcast released via social media channels, Council Leader Julian Bell seeks to quell some of the anger by saying he has been given ' categorical assurances' by St George ( Berkeley Group) that the cinema will be ready for 2020.
Opposition politicians have been quick to react.
Councillor Greg Stafford ( Conservative) said, '' For 8 years Ealing Labour have presided over a wasteland opposite the town hall. Every year we get a 'categorical assurances' that our cinema will be rebuilt; every year nothing happens.''
The Liberal Democrats are petitioning the developers demanding the cinema is given priority, over 1,000 people have already signed it.
A council spokesperson, said: “The delay to the cinema and the whole scheme is because of the Judicial Review brought by Wahill. St George have informed us they will complete the cinema in the third quarter of 2020. If they don’t, there is no financial penalty, however the Council has included a longstop date by which if the scheme is not developed the Council can take back the land and finish the development itself.''
26 March 2018 ( updated 28/03)