|Go Ape 'Reassessing' Gunnersbury Park Plan|
High wire adventure facility unlikely to be built this year
The management company at Gunnersbury Park have told a local councillor that plans for a high wire adventure park have been put on hold.
Cllr Joanna Dabrowska, who represents Ealing Common ward on Ealing Council for the Conservatives, was told when she asked about progress on the project, “We have received word from Go Ape! about the proposed development at Gunnersbury Park. They have been re-assessing their strategy for the next few years and as a result they are not going to be building new sites to open in 2019, focusing this year on maximising their existing sites and products.”
A spokesperson for Ealing Council told us, " Go Ape have submitted a revised site layout at the request of Gunnersbury CIC. On submission, Go Ape advised us that they had also reviewed their business strategy and would not be opening any new sites in UK in 2019. This decision gives Gunnersbury CIC and Go Ape ample opportunity to revisit the revised layout and to re-engage with park users over the coming year with a view to taking forward an agreed development from 2020."
The facility was scheduled to open in June 2019 and the move had been hailed by both Ealing and Hounslow councils as an opportunity to create more jobs in the area and increase health and wellbeing in their borough but some local residents raised concerns about what they describe as the increasing commercialisation of Gunnersbury Park. The park will also see the opening of a major sports hub this year.
The Go Ape facility would have seen the installation of bridges and high wires between treetops in the wooded areas of the park. Adventure Forest Ltd was to be awarded a contract of up to 25 years to operate in the park.
The Community Interest Company (CIC) which operates the park on behalf of the two councils would have received a performance based rental income and Go Ape was to renovate some of the buildings in the park for its own use as well as constructing new ones including a reception centre. There was to be a minimum payment of £50,000 per annum to the CIC with projections from Go Ape claiming that payments of £117,000 per annum would have been made after three years of operation. A report to Ealing Council on the proposal stated that the facilities would have been constructed in an area which will not displace any existing commercial activities in the park.
We have asked Go Ape for confirmation and the reasons behind their decision.
February 28, 2019