Fears raised that deal could postpone further the building of cinema in Ealing
The latest twist in the ongoing saga of the development of a cinema in central Ealing is the sale of the site by Land Securities to developer St. George’s. The move has given rise to concerns that there may be yet further delays to the project but Ealing Council have responded positively to the news.
Land Securities have been working on the preparation of the site since 2012 and have obtained detailed planning consent for a leisure quarter in the town centre with 75,000 sq ft of high quality retail space anchored by a multi-screen Picturehouse cinema. The plans have a mix of restaurants, cafes, shops and bars, 161 new homes and a landscaped public square. The cost of the sale has not been disclosed.
St George is the firm behind the Dickens Yard development in Ealing Broadway.
Michael Bryn-Jones, Managing Director of St George PLC said, “We are delighted to continue our investment in Ealing with the acquisition of Ealing Filmworks. It will complement the success of Dickens Yard delivering a much wanted cinema, fantastic new shops and restaurants in the heart of Ealing town centre, as well as high quality homes.”
We asked St. George to specifically confirm that they would be proceeding with the existing plans for the cinema and not submitting a new planning application which would substantially delay the completion of any development. They did not respond to the question.
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said, “This brings us a significant step closer to the cinema’s return to Ealing. The Filmworks scheme is a fantastic opportunity to revitalise a large part of Ealing town centre to create a cultural quarter, more jobs and new homes.
“I am pleased that we will once again be working with Berkeley Group who are already playing a key part in transforming the borough with high quality developments such as Dickens Yard in Ealing and Southall Waterside”
When we asked the Council about the likelihood of further delays in the project due to the sale they referred us to St George.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Jon Ball said, "Ealing residents demand that a new cinema is built as soon as possible, after this sorry saga of delay after delay. I have concerns about St George taking over the site. Even now the shops in St George's Dickens Yard scheme lie empty, seven years after they gained planning permission.
"I will be seeking assurances that St George will be going ahead immediately to implement the Filmworks development that Land Securities planned. Also, the Council must ensure that St George do not pull the same trick on the Filmworks site that they did on Dickens Yard of selling the lucrative flats while dragging their heels on the other elements of the scheme that are of most value to Ealing residents."
Computer illustration of project
If the current scheme is still going ahead it would open up a north-south pedestrian link connecting New Broadway with Ealing Green and Walpole Park and the original cinema façade will be retained.
In 2015 the Secretary of State confirmed Ealing Council’s compulsory purchase order which facilitates the assembly of the remaining land needed for the development.
August 11, 2016