|New Business Managers For Gunnersbury Park
Social Enterprise will take control from Ealing and Hounslow Councils
Gunnersbury Park - which is undergoing a major restoration - is to change management and become more commercial.
The park is currently the responsibility of both Ealing and Hounslow, but, by 2017, will be looked after by a community interest company (CIC) - with the two councils retaining the freehold and an interest in the site.
Ealing's Cabinet approved the move and say it means there will be a dedicated company with sole focus being the operation and success of Gunnersbury Park.
The CIC will be able to operate on a commercial basis, making its own decisions on the day-to-day operational running of the site, without having to involve the two councils.
The council believes this model will ensure any surplus income generated by the newly developed Gunnersbury Park is re-invested back in the site to improve facilities; as well as paying for ongoing enhanced maintenance.
Both boroughs found out in July that they had been awarded £4.7million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to go towards the project to make major improvements to Gunnersbury Park. This award was shortly followed by another from the HLF of £4.1million to go towards improvements to Gunnersbury Park Museum.
The entire project aims to transform the 186 acre park into a sustainable, high quality public space and turn the museum into a vibrant, interactive visitor attraction that will be more accessible to a wider range of visitors.
Work to restore Gunnersbury Park has already begun and planned improvements include:
Building a brand new café to replace the current one
Gunnersbury Museum will close to visitors in December. Work will start in early 2015 to carry out the following improvements:
Visitor numbers to Gunnersbury Park and Museum are expected to increase from 600,000 to over one million people per year once the entire project is completed and the museum reopens in spring 2018.
Ealing Council’s leader, Councillor Julian Bell said: “This new management arrangement is really great news for Gunnersbury. It means that both Ealing and Hounslow Councils will be able to ensure that all long term plans for the estate can come to fruition. The future of the park is pretty much protected if it’s managed in this way, as it won’t be subject to any fluctuations in council budgets going forward.”
5th November 2014