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Have your say on the future of the Gurnell Leisure Centre

Have your say on the future of the Gurnell Leisure Centre

July 22, 2020
Gurnell CGI

A consultation is now under way on proposals to redevelop the Gurnell Leisure Centre in Perivale.

You can find out more about the latest plans for Gurnell at a virtual consultation event on Saturday, 25 July.

The event, held by Ealing Council and the developer Ecoworld, will provide an opportunity to ask any questions you have about the latest proposals for the site.

They include brand new, state-of-the-art leisure facilities, including a 10 lane 50m pool, a new leisure pool, a gym, soft play facilities, a sauna, a steam room and a café. The plan will also deliver almost 600 desperately needed homes, many of which will help the council towards its target of creating 2,500 genuinely affordable new homes by April 2022 – the most ambitious council homebuilding plans in London

If you would like to attend either of the consultation events, please register online in advance.

Anyone can submit comments as part of the planning application by visiting Ealing Council’s planning portal. When prompted, enter the application number 201695FUL. All feedback will be incorporated into the next versions of the plans before they are submitted to Ealing Council.

Local leisure centres set to reopen soon

Leisure centres around the borough will soon welcome people through their doors again following a further relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions. Once the centres have reopened, visitors will notice a few changes to the way using them works.

Visitors to Northolt, Acton and Dormers Wells leisure centres and Southall Sports Centre will need to pre-book and pre-pay either online, through an app or by phone. The new measures are designed to avoid overcrowding and allow for facilities to be cleaned between sessions. This will ensure that the highest standards of hygiene and safety can be maintained.

Anyone intending to book a visit to a leisure centre should go to the Everyone Active website beforehand to familiarise themselves with the new rules.

Gurnell remains shut for now

All leisure centres were ordered to shut during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Consequently, in this financial year the council will have to return to subsidising the cost of running Gurnell. This comes at a time when the council’s finances are under huge pressure, with ten years of cuts to its government grant and a multi-million-pound hole in its budget because of the virus.

As a result, the council recently decided that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic means it is not financially viable to reopen the old centre after the lockdown. Instead, it will proceed to redevelopment, pending planning approval and the results of this consultation. Like all decisions by the council’s cabinet, this is subject to final approval call in. 

“A great new space for all”

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, lead member for finance and leisure said: “The impact of COVID-19 on the leisure sector has been monumental and unprecedented. As much as I loved swimming at Gurnell, I am sad that we must take this decision to not reopen it. Instead, we want to push forward with our ambitious plans to rebuild an even bigger, better and brighter Gurnell.

“The costs of maintaining the current site for what would eventually be a very limited opening would have reflected an astronomical cost to local taxpayers. We have already been short-changed by millions of pounds by the government having dealt with the local impact of COVID-19. That’s on top of ten years of cuts to our funding.

“The new facility would offer a great space to keep local residents fit and active and could be enjoyed by the whole community for many years to come. Alongside much-needed new homes being built at the site, we want to deliver a fantastic new centre, making best use of the limited land available to us. We encourage anyone with an interest in the future of the leisure centre to take part in this consultation.

“I’m delighted that our other leisure centres will soon reopen. It is vital local people have the opportunity to exercise and stay active. Everyone who enjoys the facilities must play their part in keeping them open. This means washing their hands, sticking to social distancing and following the new rules.”