Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, joined Tony Pidgley, chair of the Berkeley Group, and Holly Smallman, from Picturehouse Cinemas, for the Ealing Cinema site’s official ground breaking on Monday, 12 December.
The event signals the official start of work on the site. When finished, the development will include a multi-screen cinema, new homes , shops and restaurants.
The site has been derelict since 2008 when Empire demolished the existing cinema, promising to build a new multiplex. After several years of delays, the council warned Empire to start building or face losing the site. When works still did not start on the site, the council started a lengthy legal process. This resulted in Empire being served a compulsory purchase order in 2015. They were then forced to sell the site to the council.
St George, who is developing Dickens Yard on the opposite side of the road, bought the land earlier this year and are now starting work on bringing the site back to life.
Councillor Julian Bell said: “This is a very happy day for me and for the people of Ealing. The council promised that we would bring a cinema back to our town centre and despite many setbacks, I am delighted that work is finally starting on making this happen.
“This is a very exciting time. Crossrail means that Ealing is soon going to be more open and accessible to the rest of London than ever before and this development sits at the heart of our plans to regenerate and revitalise the town centre in time for all of the benefits that it will bring.”
Watch the video to see Councillor Bell breaking the ground above.