High Wire Operator Go Ape To Take Over Part of Gunnersbury Park

Outdoor adventure company to be given 25 year licence starting in June next year

Activity from an existing Go Ape facility

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Friends of Gunnersbury Park and Museum

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Approval has been given by both Ealing and Hounslow Council for Go Ape, a company that offers high wire treetop activities, to set up in Gunnersbury Park.

A new outdoor adventure facility is now scheduled to open in June 2019. The move has been hailed by both councils as an opportunity to create more jobs in the area and increase health and wellbeing in the borough but some local residents have 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 shortly after Go Ape starts operating.

The Go Ape facility will see the installation of bridges and high wires between treetops in the wooded areas of the park. Adventure Forest Ltd is to be awarded a contract of up to 25 years to operate in the park. They made an initial approach to the management of Gunnersbury Park in June of last year and a tender was put out to see if other high wire operators were prepared to bid in this January.

The Community Interest Company (CIC) which operates the park on behalf of the two councils will receive a performance based rental income and Go Ape will renovate some of the buildings in the park for its own use as well as constructing new ones including a reception centre which can also be used for events. There will be minimum payment of £50,000 per annum to the CIC with projections from Go Ape claiming that payments of £117,000 per annum will be made after three years of operation. A report to Ealing Council on the proposal stated that the facilities will be constructed in an area which will not displace any existing commercial activities in the park.

Go Ape have facilities across the country including one in Battersea Park at which the fee for usage is £28 for children up to 16 and £36 for others.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, Cabinet Member for finance and leisure at Ealing Council said, “We're absolutely delighted with the outcome that Go Ape is coming to Gunnersbury Park. Not only will this create local jobs, it will allow our residents to challenge both their physical and mental endurance whilst having fun. This increases our reputation as the go to place for families and friends who are looking for an exciting day out in West London.”

Councillor Sue Sampson, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services at Hounslow Council said, "We are thrilled to welcome Go Ape to Gunnersbury Park. The Gunnersbury Sport Hub will be a world class amenity for the local communities when it opens, and Go Ape is an exciting addition to it. Along with the employment opportunities presented, this really is very positive news for our local communities!"

We asked Go Ape for a comment but have yet to receive a response.

July 19, 2018

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