Gunnersbury cash approved

Gunnersbury mansionHounslow Council has formally approved an additional £2.192 million investment in Gunnersbury Park to help deliver the regeneration plans for the park.

The extra money is on top of the £2.6 million already committed to the project, and will be added to the £8.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund announced earlier this year, and £5 million from Ealing council who jointly own the site.

The scheme will see significant improvement to the park and museum, including repairing the external and internal fabric of the Large Mansion, making more areas of the building open to the public and re-establishing views into and out of the building, as well as creating display rooms on the ground and first floor to properly showcase museum collections and be available for events, conferences and functions.

Councillors have also agreed to plans to create a new social enterprise to manage the estate. A new community interest company (CIC), which would be jointly owned by Hounslow and Ealing councils, will be set up to take over management of the estate in 2017.

Cllr Sachin Gupta, cabinet member for leisure and public health at Hounslow Council, said: “We’ve got ambitious plans to make Gunnersbury a standout London attraction park that residents can be proud of and visitors to the borough will be able to enjoy for years to come.

“We are – along with Ealing and the Heritage Lottery Fund – are investing significant amounts of money to improve the estate over the next few years, but there is still more we want to do to create a park of real value to the local community.

“Both Hounslow and Ealing have been jointly managing the house and park for some time, but we both recognise this isn’t ideal if we want it to have a sustainable future.

“The new management arrangement will help make sure plans for the park are sustainable in the long term, whilst giving both councils the oversight local people would expect for this important public asset.”

The CIC was chosen as it allows both councils to retain strategic control of the park, protect the park’s assets and allow any surplus income to be reinvested to improve the facilities.

Refurbishment work will begin in spring 2015 and is due for completion by spring 2017. Once all of the improvements to Gunnersbury Park and Museum are completed, visitor numbers are expected to rise from 600,000 to over a million per year.

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