Deal signed to progress Empire Cinema site

by Jim Dunton Fri 20 September 2013, 9:01 am

Developer Land Securities has agreed a deal with Ealing Council to push forward the redevelopment of the Empire Cinema site in a move that could see the "Filmworks" residential and leisure scheme open within five years.

Under the agreement, Ealing will acquire the sites for the scheme, including that of the largely demolished former Empire Cinema - potentially through a Compulsory Purchase Order, and transfer them to Land Securities for the full amount. It has also agreed to sell 14-16 Bond Street to the company to complete the land footprint for the £100 million scheme.

Land Securities this week submitted its planning application for the scheme. The current proposals for the 2 acre site includes a multiscreen cinema complex, cafés, bars, shops, restaurants, and up to 161 flats - up from the 150 indicated in the earlier masterplan, reported by Ealing in London back in July.

The proposed scheme will create new pedestrianised routes between Walpole Park, New Broadway, and Bond Street, as well as a flexible performance area with amphitheatre-style seating and an outdoor screen. It is expected create approximately 350 new jobs.

Ealing said it expected the application would go before its planning committee later this year, after public consultation, and that any Compulsory Purchase Order would be pursued after the planning process.

Empire Cinemas originally planned to redevelop the site after the original cinema closed in 2008 and all but the façade was demolished, however it has failed to progress its scheme.

The site is currently held by receivers Allsops, who were appointed by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

Council leader Julian Bell said the authority was “firmly committed” to pushing ahead with the Land Securities project.

“We hope a negotiated agreement can be reached as quickly as possible but are prepared to use our CPO powers if necessary,” he said.

Land Securities development director Nick Davis said the deal and planning application submission marked a milestone for the project.

“We received an overwhelming level of support for the film quarter during our public consultation and are in discussions with various groups on how our flexible, performance area, outdoor screen and gallery can best be used by the local community,” he said. 

“We are 100 per cent committed to delivering this scheme, bringing new jobs, footfall and investment to Ealing town centre and look forward to continuing to work with the council and other interested parties throughout the planning process.”

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