Work starts at Empire Cinema site

Wed 12 December 2012, 4:00 pm

Contractors working for the owners of Ealing's Empire Cinema have moved on site in the latest twist in the New Broadway development saga.

Back in October, Ealing Council launched a call for new developer proposals for a new cinema complex at the site, after it said Empire Cinemas had failed to provide it with proposals for redeveloping the site.

Interest from other rival groups was encouraging, and the council pledged to seek a compulsory purchase order to enable the site to be brought back into use quickly.

But last week groundwork contractors working for Empire Cinemas are understood to have moved on-site for piling preparation work.

Nick Woolven, chair of local group Save Ealing Centre, said the appearance of workmen was the first tangible evidence that progress would soon be made on the development.

“We welcome this news, which together with the completion of the sale of the Arcadia centre to Benson Elliot, is positive progress towards balanced, mixed-use, development of our town centre," he said. “We must build on these foundations to unlock other opportunities for Ealing and West Ealing."

Matthew McMillan, chief executive of the Ealing Broadway Business Improvement District Company, said the site was key to developing Ealing Broadway as an attractive destination.

“We hope this indicates real progress," he said. “While we are delighted to see work starting on site, there have been too many false starts to be anything more than cautiously optimistic at this stage.

“This is a positive move, but I hope the developers are able to finally follow through on their promises and give Ealing the Christmas present we desperately want. If they can't, I hope they will step aside in good faith."

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