Next phase at Grahame Park gets consent

Barnet Council has granted detailed consent for 209 more homes as part of the 3000 home Grahame Park regeneration programme.

The latest plans from Notting Hill Genesis are for 209 homes in blocks up to 11 storeys high. At the same time, councillors approved outline plans for a further 1879 homes.

The overall regeneration programme will eventually deliver approximately 3,000 homes by 2032, in place of the 1700 which were on the estate before work began. These would be around 1,800 new private homes, and around 900 new affordable homes. Approximately 25 per cent (463) of the original homes will be retained and integrated into the new development.

There are also new road, pedestrian and cycle networks, while the scheme included space for the relocation of Barnet and Southgate College to the area in 2016, a replacement health centre, library, community centre, children’s activity centre and centre for independent living, as well as new retail and open space, and a new Civic Centre for Barnet Council.

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New pocket park cash for West London

Feltham Green, Wiseworks Harrow, and Roxbourne Park in Pinner are to receive money for new pocket parks from a £1.35m government fund.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced the community groups who will receive funding to transform neglected urban spaces into thriving green havens. The £1.35 million funding will help community groups to create 19 brand new parks and refurbish 49 currently unused and unloved plots of land, breathing new, green life into towns and cities across the country. Three of those chosen are in West London.

The new parks and green spaces will provide new areas for children to play, outdoor fitness facilities for residents, and places for families and friends to come together, helping encourage community integration and tackling loneliness.
These new grants will fund the third round of Pocket Parks since the scheme launched in 2016.
Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “Pocket parks are used for everything from exercise and gardening to socialising and relaxing. They have huge benefits for our mental and physical health and allow us to take a moment out of our busy lives to connect with nature.
“We are determined to protect our nation’s parks for future generations to enjoy, and on World Wildlife Day, I am delighted to announce the recipients of the extra £1.35 million for the Pocket Parks fund – adding 68 new parks, which will take the total we’ve backed to 352.
Creating more pocket parks is part of this Government’s ambition to ensure that communities have a real sense of identity and place, and that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy green spaces in their local area.”
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More homes for South Kilburn

Plans to build 219 more new homes in South Kilburn have been approved.
Brent Council’s redevelopment of the site comprising of 1-8 Neville House, 1-64 Winterleys Court, 113-128 Carlton House and Carlton Hall forms part of phase 4 of the South Kilburn regeneration programme. The redevelopment site is often referred to as the ‘NWCC’ redevelopment site.

The Council have approved the Pollard Thomas Edwards designed development, which will reach up to 12 storeys, in Neville Road, Albert Road and Canterbury Terrace. 112 of the homes will be affordable.
In 2019, the council balloted South Kilburn residents on whether it should press ahead with the regeneration programme – of the 72 per cent of eligible residents who took part, 84 per cent, said ‘yes’.
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Yoo secure Olympia funding

Deutsche Finance International and Yoo Capital have agreed a £875m development loan facility with Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division, to part finance the redevelopment of Olympia London.

Following the loan agreement and with the addition of equity backing already in place from German institutional investors Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK) and Versicherungskammer Bayern Group (VKB), the £1.3bn Olympia regeneration project is now fully funded.

With the main construction contract expected to be awarded imminently, initial construction work on the Olympia project, which is designed by Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC architects, is due to begin this quarter. The masterplan will see the full redevelopment of the 14-acre site, including the existing exhibition halls, with 1.3 million sq ft of additional commercial space being created. Aimed at maximising the deep-rooted brand heritage of this 134 year old, world renowned venue, the transformational development will be undertaken in such a way that the exhibition space will remain fully operational throughout.

With an ambition to create a cultural hub in west London and transform Olympia into a round-the-clock leisure and entertainment destination, the development plan also includes a four-screen arthouse cinema, a 1,400-seat performing arts theatre, a 4,100-capacity music venue, a “jazz club style” restaurant and venue, shops, cafés, two hotels and 2.5 acres of public space, including pedestrianised squares and a sky garden.

John Hitchcox, Chairman of Yoo Capital, says: “This is a boost for London and a clear indication of investor confidence in this transformative project to regenerate an iconic landmark. We’re moving into a pivotal year for the redevelopment, and with the finances of the exhibition business, investors as well as local community stakeholders now safeguarded, we can look forward to delivering a destination that showcases London at its very best, with culture and creativity right at its core.”

Gavin Neilan, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner at DFI, says: “To have secured a commitment of this level from Goldman Sachs is a compelling endorsement of the Olympia project, and indeed of the long term outlook for London as a global tourist and business destination. We are very grateful for the ongoing support of all our funding partners and, with the development now fully funded, we have a solid foundation to move forward with our plans to transform this iconic location and unlock Olympia’s enormous potential.”

Chris Semones, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division, says: “The history, heritage and location of this development, and the clear potential it holds, present a compelling investment case and we are very pleased to be partnering with DFI and Yoo Capital to support what will be one of the most exciting projects in London over the coming years. This transaction continues our strategy for Real Estate Credit Partners III to originate large loans to hold against high quality projects with excellent sponsorship.”

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Edgware Broadwalk hits the market

Aberdeen Standard Investments has put the Broadwalk Centre in Edgware on the market.
It is reported that agents are looking for offers over £60m for the 190,000 sq ft shopping centre next to Edgware station, on Hale Lane.
The centre is anchored by Sainsbury and TK Maxx, but the sellers believe there is an opportunity to redevelop the site and car park with upwards of 1000 homes. 
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Inland refused on Master Brewer

Hillingdon Council has refused plans from Inland Homes for a 514 home development on the site of the former Master Brewer hotel and pub.

Officers had recommended refusal on grounds of over-development. The decision will automatically be referred to the Mayor of London.

The plans submitted to the council in October 2019 would have produced a development of up to 11 storeys with 35% of the homes affordable. 

Inland acquired the site which is next to the junction of Long Lane and Freezeland Way in 2019.

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New Ealing Premier Inn plans approved

Otaki Holdings plans for a new Premier Inn on the Uxbridge Road in Ealing have been approved.

The outline plans for 24 Uxbridge Road will produce a rear ground floor extension to the existing hotel restaurant and a raised undercroft/entry foyer in front of the existing building with 15-storeys above providing 14 floors of hotel accommodation including 91 rooms with a further penthouse floor to be used either as a restaurant/bar or a further 6 hotel rooms.

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Southall Red Lion plans approved

Plans for a 149 home development in Southall have been approved.
The plans, by Red Lion Developments for land to the rear of The Red Lion public house and 94 High Street, will produce a fifteen storey three-building mixed-use development following demolition of the existing buildings. As well as the homes, there will be a ground floor flexible retail, café or restaurant unit.
The plans were designed by STARC Architects.
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Aldau get Portal Way consent

The London Borough of Ealing has given planning consent for a twin tower 700 home scheme at North Acton.

The plans involve the demolition of the existing Holiday Inn on the site, and the mixed-use redevelopment of the site to provide two linked buildings of 45 and 55 storeys, including up to 702 homes, a 159 room hotel, flexible workspace, restaurant, and flexible retail space. The scheme will provide 35% affordable housing.

Speaking on behalf of the client, Aldau Development, Taco van Heusden, Chief Investment Officer, said: “From the outset Aldau’s vision was to create a flagship destination in this part of Ealing, while not only improving connectivity but creating a sense of place through new homes, improved public realm and exciting new facilities, such as restaurants and cafes.

“This is a real opportunity to open up this part of Portal Way, which acts as the Southern Gateway to Old Oak Common, whilst realising the new opportunities presented by Crossrail and HS2 infrastructure improvements.”

Architect KPF’s Design Principal, John Bushell added: “4 Portal Way presents a great new opportunity for this part of London. KPF specialise in mixed used schemes and this brings to life our vision for a mixed use ‘hub’ with a hotel, flexible workspace, residential use and a public venue at the top of the building.”

See previous coverage.

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Bees to host England women in Euro 21

Brentford Community Stadium will host four UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 matches, including a quarter-final on 22 July, with Wembley hosting the final, in what promises to be a record-breaking edition of the European tournament next summer.

England will play the opening match at Old Trafford on 7 July 2021. Wembley Stadium will host the showpiece final on 1 August, meaning the venue is hosting back-to-back men’s and women’s European Championship finals in 2020 and 2021.

Brentford Community Stadium is one of ten grounds which will stage UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 matches next summer and Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of London Borough of Hounslow Council, warmly welcomed this morning’s news: “Football’s coming home to Hounslow. As Leader of Hounslow Council I am thrilled to welcome this tournament to our borough. It’s very exciting to be chosen for such high-profile games and Brentford FC’s brand-new stadium will provide a fantastic venue. I look forward to meeting players and supporters alike during the tournament. Now, let’s rally behind the Lionesses!”

As tournament hosts, Phil Neville’s Lionesses qualify automatically, and after beginning their campaign at Old Trafford, will complete their group stage fixtures in front of home crowds at two Premier League venues – Brighton & Hove’s Community Stadium and St. Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, making the choice of Brentford’s new stadium even more significant.

Now in its 13th edition, the UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 is poised to be the biggest women’s EURO to date, with over 700,000 tickets available to fans and extensive coverage of every game of the tournament available on free-to-air television, radio and online.

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Plans go in for Old Oak Common station

HS2 has submitted plans for Old Oak Common Station to the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC).
The station in West London will provide a world-class interchange for an estimated 250,000 passengers each day and will be a gateway into Old Oak and Park Royal, one of the largest regeneration sites in the UK. The station design development has been led by engineering professional services consultancy WSP, and architects WilkinsonEyre.
The submission is the next stage in the development of the Old Oak Common site. The submission follows consultation in 2019.
Plans to transform the wider area around the station, a former railway and industrial site, are being led by OPDC and they project that the area around the new HS2 station will become a neighbourhood with the potential to create tens of thousands of homes and jobs.
HS2 say the new station will incorporate passenger and retail facilities, providing a high quality and exemplary customer experience for all passengers and visitors to the station. It will provide direct interchange with conventional rail services through 8 train platforms served by the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail), taking passengers to Heathrow and Central London, and trains to Wales and the West of England.
The 6 HS2 platforms will be situated underground with an integrated connection to the adjoining station at ground level via a shared overbridge. A concourse will link both halves of the station, unified by a vast roof inspired by the site’s industrial heritage. To the west of the station, above the HS2 platforms, there will be a new public park, a green space which will welcome visitors to Old Oak Common and provide a new focal point for the growing community. The submission also includes an application to lower and widen Old Oak Common Lane, which will improve access to the station for buses and pedestrians.

Work at Old Oak Common to prepare for construction of the station has been ongoing since 2017 and the site is near ready to be handed over to HS2’s station construction partner, Balfour Beatty Vinci Systra JV (BBVS) who were awarded the contract last September. HS2’s Enabling Works Contractor, Costain Skanska JV (CSJV) have to date made considerable progress on the site, clearing 32,000 cubic meters of former rail depot sheds and outbuildings, working through 105,000 cubic meters of earth to clear the site and remove any contamination built up over a century of continuous railway use.

Matthew Botelle, HS2’s Stations Director, said: “Significant progress is already being made at Old Oak Common with site clearance ready for station construction to start. The Schedule 17 submission is the next step in HS2’s delivery of a world class railway, with landmark station architecture designed with future passengers in mind.
“HS2 will transform Old Oak Common, and will be the key to unlocking thousands of new jobs and homes around what will be the UK’s best connected transport hub.”
Adrian Tooth, WSP Project Director on Old Oak Common, said: “Old Oak Common has been designed to be a landmark destination within the UK’s transport network and will be a force for regeneration in West London, supporting new jobs and homes within the wider OPDC area. The design responds to the station’s function, as two-thirds of those using the station will be interchanging between the below ground HS2 and the above ground conventional rail services.
“HS2 is a transformative project which has already boosted the skills and experience of the apprentices WSP has brought onto the Old Oak Common scheme, and we look forward to being part of its delivery.”
Bosco Lam, WilkinsonEyre Project Director, said: “Our architectural approach is inspired by the rich history of the site and its railway heritage. The station unifies the various connecting railways under a single roof, a series of interlocking arched vaults which break down the volume to a more human scale and celebrate the structural engineering as a fundamental part of the architecture. The dramatic volumes underneath have open and clear sightlines that promote intuitive wayfinding for users, and allow natural light and visual links outwards to the present and future context.
“Six 450 metre HS2 platforms will be built in an 850 metre long underground box, with twin tunnels taking high speed trains east to the Southern terminus at Euston and west to the outskirts of London. Material excavated during work on the tunnels will be removed by rail from the nearby former Willesden Euroterminal depot.”
The planning application will now be considered by OPDC and a decision is expected by Summer 2020.
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Wrapology crowned West London Company of the Year

On Friday 7 February 2020, over 500 guests from across West London descended upon Twickenham Stadium to celebrate business excellence at The West London Business Awards 2020.
Finalists represented accountants to tech accelerators; mobile payment to packaging – many companies from many backgrounds took the spotlight as business excellence in West London was once again highlighted to a global audience.
The big winners of the night were Wrapology, who claimed the prestigious title of West London Company of the Year 2020; in addition to being named Export/International Business of the Year.  Wrapology makes, manages and moves packaging for global brands, from their base in Park Royal.
Wrapology’s mission is for sustainability to be at its core, with every employee and client engaging with at least one of their sustainability principles in every packaging order. In 2018 they invested more in prototyping, staff learning, communication and technology. The outcome of this journey was Wrapology’s ‘6-pillars of sustainability’ which are now their starting points for new product development both with clients and suppliers.
The seventh edition of the awards once again recognised individual achievements; with Andrew Brammer of Kerry Foods being named West London Business Leader of the Year and Tak Takumine of Japan Centre Group awarded the Lifetime Achievement in Business Award.
Another notable winner of the evening was Alexanders Removals and Storage of Park Royal who claimed Park Royal Business of The Year – joining an elite group of companies to claim a win at three separate WLB Awards ceremonies (2017, 2019, 2020).
Awards host Gaby Roslin, said: “It was a pleasure to host the West London Business Awards last Friday, and to see the inspiring things being done by businesses in West London. Congratulations to all the winners, highly commended businesses and finalists!”
Andrew Dakers, Chief Executive of West London Business and a member of the judging panel said of the winners: “All our categories were more competitive than ever and all the entrants can take huge pride in their achievements. This year’s entries highlighted the great strides that West London businesses are making on social and environmental sustainability, as well delivering a profit for investors and owners. Special congratulations to the Wrapology team for securing the title of West London Company of the Year and Alexanders our Park Royal Company of the Year.  Two truly inspiring leaders are to be found in Andrew Brammer of Kerry Foods, West London Business Leader of the Year and Tak Takumine of Japan Centre Group who was recognised with our Lifetime Achievement in Business Award.”
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Metro opens in Hammersmith

Metro Bank opens its Hammersmith store on Friday 14 February 2020 in the Kings Mall.

To mark the occasion, Metro Bank invited businesses, residents, families and dogs to the grand opening party to celebrate the new store.

Metro Bank say their stores act a hub for the local community. The Hammersmith store once opened will host regular networking events for local businesses and the Metro team will deliver its free financial education programme, Money Zone, to schools and youth groups in the area. The National Curriculum approved training, which is provided through classroom and store-based sessions, has already supported more than 100,000 children across the UK with their financial literacy. The Hammersmith store hosted its first Money Zone on the morning of the opening, welcoming a group of pupils from Flora Gardens Primary School in to learn some money top tips, play games and meet the bank’s mascot, Metro Man.

Customers can visit the store seven days a week, with no appointment needed, and open a personal or business account on-the-spot, leaving with their debit card in hand, along with internet and mobile banking set-up.

The store has more than 2,500 safe deposit boxes available, which are already available to be reserved, and will offer free coin counting facilities for customers and non-customers alike.

The Hammersmith team have been working closely with the Hammersmith BID in the lead up to the opening and last year attended its local Christmas market for charity, where Metro Bank put on a craft event for children.

Ian Walters, Managing Director of Retail and Business Banking at Metro Bank, said: “We’re thrilled to be opening a new store in Hammersmith, and to be providing the very best service and convenience to our growing network of personal and business customers in the West London region. This store will give the people of Hammersmith a place not only to do their banking, but to connect with their local community and feel valued as customers.”

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London Councils launch City of Opportunity guide

London Councils have launched their 2020 Guide to Development in London – “the City of Opportunity” – reaffirming their commitment to securing the investment that ensures “London continues to thrive”.

The guide is used by each of the 32 boroughs and the City of London for setting out their vision for development in their local area.

While celebrating the capital’s success as a powerhouse of the UK economy and global city attracting businesses from all over the world, boroughs highlight London’s acute housing and infrastructure pressures. London faces the most severe homelessness crisis in the country, with 57,000 households living in temporary accommodation – including 88,000 children.

Boroughs are determined to attract international investment that brings clear benefits to their communities, such as high-quality affordable homes, new jobs, and transport links.  

Cllr Peter John, Chair of London Councils, said: “London is a city of boundless creative energy and opportunity across all its 33 local authorities. We need investment from around the world to drive economic growth and ensure London continues to thrive.

“London boroughs are determined to play our part in telling London’s story and attracting that investment. As part of this effort we are launching the Guide to Development in the City of Opportunities and I, along with other borough leaders, will be going to MIPIM, the world’s largest investment market, to ensure that in the post-Brexit era, investors hear the message loud and clear that London is open for business.”

Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing & Planning, said: “Although London’s booming population is a sign of the city’s success, we can’t afford any let-up in securing the investment that brings new homes and jobs to Londoners.  

“Boroughs have an appetite to do more for local communities – to build more housing, to create more opportunities, and to attract more investors. We use our own powers and resources to the best of our abilities, but we also need to build strong partnerships with the development industry to achieve our ambitions.” 

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Novartis Unveils Its New White City Place Headquarters

Novartis has now officially opened its new UK headquarters at White City Place.

The occasion was attended by Global CEO Vas Narasimhan and was marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock.

Novartis have moved on to the Second floor of the WestWorks building and have relocated over 600 staff to the site. The move is the latest in the a series of life sciences companies – including Autolus, Gamma Delta and Synthace – to take up residence in the region, which is emerging as a leading cluster for European life sciences research and innovation.

Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs, including innovative medicines, cost-saving pharmaceuticals and eye care. In 2017 Novartis invested almost £30million in R&D and is a leading sponsor of clinical trials in the UK.

Speaking at the ribbon cutting event to mark the opening of the new Novartis Headquarters, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock MP said he was “excited” about the developments at White City and its emerging ecosystem, and underlined the importance of a “holy trinity” of “private enterprise, academic research, and the effective and empowering role of Government”.

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Stanhope buys back in to Chiswick Park

Stanhope has bought Building 7 at Chiswick Park, the business park it originally developed.
They have acquired the building from Blackstone, who have now ended their association with the park, for £312m. Blackstone bought Chiswick Park from The Chiswick Park Unit Trust for £480m in 2011. They sold most of the buildings to China Investment Corporation (CIC) for £780m in 2014. Stanhope is buying the building with backing from private clients as part of a plan to build up its asset management platform.
The 334,000 sq ft Rogers Stirk Harbour designed building is occupied by Pernod Ricard, China Global TV Network, HH Saudi Research, Danone, Venture X, Fox News, and others. There is 5000 sq ft currently unoccupied.
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Tommy Hilfiger heads for Wembley

Tommy Hilfiger has chosen London Designer Outlet in Wembley Park, the capital’s original outlet centre, as the place to be for its first dedicated childrenswear outlet in the UK.
This is the latest in a string of ‘firsts’ for London Designer Outlet with the destination home to the UK’s first Champion outlet, stand-alone Converse store and London’s first H&M and Lee Wrangler outlets. It is also the only UK shopping centre to offer Dropit, the app-based, store-to-door delivery service.
Tommy Hilfiger has signed to open a 1,387 sq ft unit at the capital’s leading fashion and lifestyle outlet centre. All items will retail at up to 70 per cent off the RRP. The signing will boost the line-up of childrenswear at London Designer Outlet, including Nike, Champion, GAP, Adidas, PUMA and Guess and the wider fashion offer including Fiorielli, Kurt Geiger, Levi’s and the recent opening of Dune.
Internationally recognised, the brand will appeal to the growing numbers of tourists that increasingly see London Designer Outlet as an important part of their trips to the capital. Across the 2019 calendar year tax free transactions at the centre increased by +10%, accounting for 7% of all retail sales at the centre.
Christine Grace, Leasing Director at Realm, said: “We’re delighted to have signed Tommy Hilfiger which will be a really great addition the fashion line-up at the centre. It’s tremendous to see that our consistent trading track record and reputation for leading the field has helped us to secure another first at the centre. We’re thrilled to be attracting increasingly aspirational brands and are looking forward to the year ahead.”
The 265,000 sq ft premium retail and leisure destination is home to Europe’s top Guess outlet store, one of Nike’s top three outlet stores in Europe, and the UK’s best performing Gap Outlet. Enjoying seven million visitors a year, almost twice as many people than go to Wembley Stadium and The SSE Arena, Wembley combined, London Designer Outlet bridges the gap between online shopping and the physical retail experience. Combining the ability to touch-and-feel and try-before-you buy with the ease and convenience of online shopping, Dropit provides a handsfree shopping service which allows visitors to have purchases, bought from any of the stores, delivered to hotels, workplaces or their homes with same-day deliveries available within the M25.
London Designer Outlet is managed by Realm, the UK’s specialist outlet operator; and is owned by Quintain, the developer behind Wembley Park, one of Europe’s largest urban transformation projects.
The centre benefits from the transformative changes at Wembley Park, an 85-acre estate adjacent to the world-famous National Stadium. The 85-acre mixed-use development will feature over 500,000 sq ft of retail and leisure, including some 240,000 sq ft of new build shops, restaurants and services and up to 8,500 new homes. The vision is about offering an imaginative spectrum of independents and major brands. In addition to London Designer Outlet, current attractions include London’s largest Boxpark, which won Best F&B Concept at the 2019 MAPIC Awards, and the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, currently staging soon to stage the 30th anniversary tour of Fame The Musical and opened in 2019 with a six week residency of the National Theatre’s War Horse. Catering to the neighbouring residential and worker population in Wembley Park and the wider, affluent catchment, the scheme is set to attract over 20 million visitors per year and yield a £328 million annual retail spend.
A dynamic new neighbourhood for North London, Wembley Park Quintain’s Tipi brand is the largest build-to-rent development on a single site in the UK and will be home to residential community of 20,000 full-time residents by 2027, managed by Quintain’s lifestyle-focused rental brand, Tipi.
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Exhibition London opens

A new entertainment venue has opened, marking another milestone in the emergence of White City as a cultural hub.
Exhibition London, created in the restored Grade ll-listed Victorian Dimco East building next to Westfield London Dimco building, hosted Catfish and the Bottlemen for their first concert with a crowd of over 2000.
Originally built at 333 Wood Lane between 1898 and 1899, it is among the oldest surviving examples of Victorian industrial heritage in Hammersmith & Fulham, and was famously used for location shots in the final scenes of the 1988 movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”. The giant redbrick structure housed generators which powered trains on the Twopenny Tube, now the Central line. By the 1970s, the building had fallen into disrepair, except as a gloomy backdrop to films such as The Mummy Returns. Renovation began in 2008, and included removing trees that had grown inside. After a new role as a garage space for double-deckers, it is now a multi-purpose performance venue.
 
Picture: Gemma Parker Photography
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Barnet Parks £5m upgrade nears completion

The first sections of Silkstream Park and Montrose Playing Fields have been opened as Barnet Council’s £5million upgrade of the two green spaces nears completion.

The upgrade is being funded primarily from developer contributions to infrastructure in the borough. Other cash injections have included £324,000 from the Mayor of London’s Green Capital grant, nearly £80,000 from the Environment Agency Water Environment Improvement Fund, and £113,000 from the London Marathon Trust.

A string of new facilities in the two parks – situated between Colindale and Burnt Oak – will provide enjoyment for all ages by the time work is finished.

Councillor Dan Thomas, Leader of Barnet Council, said: “We’re delighted to have reached this milestone, which represents a significant step in the transformation of the area. This project shows how all our residents can benefit from growth and regeneration.

“We want these parks to be fun and family-friendly places that can be enjoyed by the whole community. The new Silkstream and Montrose will bring people together in a safe and shared space. We hope that they will be enjoyed by everyone.”

An ‘Active Zone’ in Montrose Playing Fields, next to Unitas Youth Zone, will feature two tennis courts, table tennis tables, parkour area, basketball court and outdoor gym. A skate park has been installed nearby, ready to be opened as soon as nearby landscaping works are finished.

There will be a new café called The Hub, as well as changing rooms, public toilets and a multi-use studio for children’s parties, mother-and-toddler groups and other events. What’s more, there will be two new playgrounds – the first of which, in Silkstream Park, has now opened to the public. Its facilities – for youngsters aged 3-15 – include a climbing frame, slide, seesaw, swings, roundabout and more.

Residents will also be able to find new litter bins, benches, pathways and landscaping in the reopened parts of the parks. Various biodiversity improvements are being made to the two parks, including the development of a fruit tree orchard.

A new wetland area has been created in Silkstream Park. The area will fill with water whenever the Silk Stream Brook bursts its banks, reducing the risk of flooding to nearby properties during heavy rain. A bridge across the wetland area will allow residents to get closer to the birds and other wildlife that it attracts.

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OPEN Ealing adds to culture mix

A new arts location has opened in the Dickens Yard complex. OPEN Ealing has launched the borough’s first permanent arts centre.

The new Arts Centre offers a range of classes including life drawing, arts & craft, music, dance, theatre and professional development for aspiring artists.

Jack Jones, a founding member of OPEN Ealing, said: “We are really excited to work with Christ The Saviour to activate their Community Hub space and transform it into a dynamic Arts Centre. This collaboration will enable us to develop a compelling and thought out programme to inspire creativity and reach new people across the community. We have been helping local residents realise their own creative potential for over 10 years. Now we’re giving them the opportunity to take a break from the routine, and learn new skills in our multiple vibrant studios dedicated to the boroughs’ creative wellbeing.”

Over the next year, OPEN plans to establish new partnership opportunities with local business and community leaders, and work with the community to cultivate people-led initiatives.

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