School plan for Gunnersbury Park's Small Mansion

Thu 28 March 2013, 3:18 pm

Gunnersbury Park's Small Mansion could be restored and brought back into community use as part of a deal with private-school operator Alpha Plus Group.

Hounslow and Ealing Councils, which jointly manage the park, have now agreed on the selection of Alpha Plus as their preferred development partner for the building's refurbishment as part of wider regeneration plans.

In return for “significant capital investment” in the work and meeting ongoing maintenance costs, Alpha Plus would use the building - currently on conservation body English Heritage's at-risk register - for the expansion of its Falcons Girls School.

As part of the deal, the mansion would be available for community use in the evening and at weekends.

Documents from a Hounslow Council cabinet meeting said the renovation work on the building was likely to cost "in excess of £5 million" and that in return for its contribution, Alpha Plus would be awarded a 200-year lease that would generate income for the council.

Alpha Plus property director Richard Jones said the firm would now enter detailed discussions with both councils over the proposals.

“Following the successful conclusions to these discussions, we expect to submit a planning application to convert the Small Mansion into a site for the possible expansion of our popular local independent school, Falcons School for Girls,” he said.

Ealing Council leader Julian Bell said a school would “inject even more life and vitality into Gunnersbury Park and the surrounding area" at the same time as increasing footfall at the park's café and sports facilities.

Colin Ellar, Hounslow’s deputy leader, said Alpha Plus would bring the small mansion into productive use, and that the choice was a sustainable option for the site. 

“It also allows even more access than before for community use on evenings, weekends and during the school holidays, and visitors will be able to make use of a greatly improved venue,” he said.

The councils said tender documents and refurbishment specifications had yet to be agreed.

Hounslow will decide any planning applications.

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