Clock Ticking for New Watermans Centre Project

Scheme needs to be commenced in next five months

Visualisation of the new Watermans from the planning application


Minister Gives Green Light for Watermans Relocation

Planning Committee Approve Watermans Arts Centre

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November 10, 2023

A forthcoming meeting of Hounslow Council’s cabinet is to discuss the current situation with the project to build the new Watermans Arts Centre project on Half Acre.

The agenda papers for the meeting on Tuesday (14 November) include an item on the borough’s Delivery Plan which details progress on all the major projects in the pipeline.

It identifies several key risks for projects including inflation, increased cost of materials, shortages in the supply chain and labour market, increased cost of borrowing, delays to utility connections and availability of sufficient power supply to meet demand.

The building of 105 new flats 484m2 of retail space along with the new arts centre in the seven-storey block is marked as a ‘red risk’ in the report.

Permission was given in 2021 to develop the former police station to allow the existing riverside centre to relocate.

The new centre was to have larger theatre, two cinemas with a gallery to enable film festivals to be hosted as well as space for a café/restaurant. The total space of 2,776m2 would be approximately equivalent to its current size but there would be no car parking.

The Albany Riverside development on the site of the existing arts centre and the former Max Factor officers would include 193 in blocks 6-7 storeys high but this cannot proceed until the Watermans has a new base as the affordable component of the scheme is at the Half Acre site.

Albany Riverside
Albany Riverside

The project has experienced escalating costs and this July the council’s cabinet approved recommendations to cover the funding gap and improve the viability of the scheme.

However, work needs to commence on the project within three years of approval being given which means that permission lapses in April 2024.

The report to cabinet states that to ensure that the redevelopment is delivered as planned, a dedicated project lead is being appointed.

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