Secret Cinema Event Gets the Go Ahead

Organisers assure residents over concerns about disruption and anti-social behaviour

Layout of the structures taking over the park

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Plans for a 'Secret Cinema' event which will take over part of Gunnersbury Park for a month in the summer have been given the green light by Hounslow Council's licensing panel.

There were only two objections made by residents to the application with one in favour. The event could host up to 5,000 people on each of the 25 times a screening is taking place between Thursday 2 August and Sunday 2 September. It will occupy a substantial section of the southern end of the park.

The objectors’ were concerned that this event was following close on the heels of two major pop concerts due to take place in the park during July. They also raised the issue of the number of proposed visitors and the possibility of anti-social behaviour from attendees, as well as the associated impact of noise levels, parking and the time it would take to disperse the crowds.

Secret Group said that in addition to the provision of security and CCTV, the event was for over-18s only, with ID to be shown on entry. They also claimed that the nature of their event meant they were likely to attract a different profile of visitors than may be found at other music or dance events.

On the issue of transport Secret Group stated that they would manage their visitors and seek to control their arrival times by arranging for them to meet at a nearby station, with the assumption being most would arrive and depart by public transport. They say they have been liaising with TFL about travel to and from the event and they would be marshalling the arrival and dispersal of visitors.

There will be seven bars in the area taken over by the event in what one local resident described as a ‘hipster mini-village’. Temporary structures up to 22 metres high will be erected in the park. A single show, will be repeated over four weekends. All infrastructure will then be removed completely at the end of the tenancy on Friday 7 September according to Secret Group.

The event venue will include a main event space (containing set pieces, temporary structures and a screen for film screenings) – as well as spaces for the bars, food and merchandise concessions, production offices and welfare areas. The site has a total floor space of 42,265m2.

Secret Cinema is an immersive cinema experience with a film being shown along with a number of theatrical performances on the theme of the film as well as live music. In previous years at another location in London an event was held themed on Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge which ran for 86 nights in the first half of 2017 and saw over 75,000 people attending. A similar event was held in Jubilee Park in Leyton in summer 2016 where 30,000 people attended the site over six event days (an average of 5,000 per event).

Map of the facilities at the event

Secret Group say no permanent alterations will be made to the physical features of layout of this space and that access will be maintained to all existing buildings, roads and pedestrianised routes which fall outside of the event perimeter, so as not to impact on the day-to-day use of the rest of the park .

The Gunnersbury Park site has been designed to allow for up to 4,750 audience members to attend events, supported by a cast and crew of up to 249 people who will perform a variety of roles –from actors and entertainers to bar staff, caterers and security.

Any party aggrieved with the decision of the Licensing Panel on one or more grounds set out in schedule 5 of Licensing Act 2003 may appeal to the magistrates’ court within 21 days of notification of this decision.


May 3, 2018

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