Gunnersbury Park Museum Opening Could Be Delayed Until Summer

New cafe set to open in March has applied for licence until 10pm

Significant progress has been made on exterior of large mansion

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Friends of Gunnersbury Park and Museum

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Hopes that Gunnersbury Park Museum might reopen in time for the Easter holiday have been dashed with completion now expected to take place in May or later.

The information was shared with the Friends of Gunnersbury Park and Museum during a recent Joint Advisory Panel meeting with David Stockdale, Hounslow’s Heritage & Arts Manager, and David Bowler, Chief Executive of the Gunnersbury Community Interest Company (CIC).

They related how the situation is currently quite fluid with major works reaching completion and operations in the process of being transferred to the CIC. There is good news on funding over which there had been a question mark at the last update. More lottery funding has plugged a potential shortfall and work on the Orangery, the Large Mansion and surrounding gardens is nearly done. More information panels will be installed during February.

The new café operated by Benugo is still on schedule to open in early March. They have applied for an alcohol licence and to open until 10pm seven days a week but only when the park is still open so in practice there will be relatively few days each year in the summer when the café remains open until 10pm. When the Large Mansion is finished the new playground alongside will also be opened with the contractors expected to handover officially in April.

The delay to the opening of the Museum is down to weather hampering work on the new pathways around the Large Mansion. This is now not expected to be finished until May and, without the paths, public access is not possible.

The second phase which includes work on the sports hub and new pitches is in the contract finalisation stage. The meeting revealed that the contractors’ compound will be established next to the main car park this spring. One outcome of this is that it is unlikely that the Mela can be held on the field in 2018 however the CIC are looking to expand the park’s event programme. David Bowler said that there needed to be a balance between access for local organisations for non-commercial events and those run by professional event organisers that would bring in revenue. The Ealing Youth Orchestra will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year and a special concert on the south lawn of the park is being discussed.

Two major events are planned for 2018. Ealing and Hounslow Councils have reached an agreement with Festival Republic to host the annual Lovebox and Citadel Festivals in the park. The first festival will take place on Friday 13- Saturday 14 July (Lovebox); with Citadel following on Sunday 15 July 2018. Lovebox will be announcing their first wave of acts on Tuesday 13 February, and Citadel will announce their headliner on Tuesday 6 February. There are also ongoing discussions with The Secret Group to run an immersive combined cinema and theatre event. This will involve the construction of a set around the burnt-out cricket pavilions and adjoining pitches. The event would take place in July and last for four week. The financial benefit to Gunnersbury could include a one-off payment and a share of ticket income.

The Project Team have organised another general public update meeting which will take place at the Waterman’s Arts Centre in Brentford on the evening of 27 February.

We have asked Ealing Council for a comment on the delayed opening of the Museum.

January 31, 2018

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