Setting The Record Straight on Gunnersbury Park

Cllr Peter Thompson aims to dispel suspicion and mistrust

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Responding to recent rumours about the future of Gunnersbury Park, leader of the council, Cllr Peter Thompson, said, “There has been much speculation in recent weeks about Gunnersbury Park and plans for its future. I am very happy to be in a position to set the record straight."

Leaked minutes of comittee meetings held behind closed doors first sparked concern from residents and local MP Ann Keen. The Regeneration Board recently took the decision to hold all their meetings in public in a show of transparency and denied that plans to build a private housing estate and to sell historic buildings to create an independent school were being seriously considered.

Cllr Thompson said, “Let me be very clear. There is no secretly adopted plan to build on the park. Nor is there any intention to take decisions about the park’s future without the fullest involvement of the community as a whole.

“Since September last year, a small group of members and officers from both Ealing and Hounslow have been meeting informally to explore the possibilities. It is worth stressing that this group has no decision making powers.

“A Conservation Management Plan has already been produced after consultation with all stakeholders. It sets out both councils’ vision for Gunnersbury as: ‘a sustainable high quality park with varied uses which serve the local community and the region whilst respecting, enhancing and interpreting its historic framework and fabric.’

“The task now is to look at the options which are available to us to turn that vision into a reality. Therefore, the councils are jointly commissioning an “options appraisal” and have asked a number of recognised specialist consultancies to bid for this work. The results of that work will be seen early in the New Year and we intend to launch the fullest possible public debate on all of the potential options at that stage.

“The informal joint working group between Hounslow and Ealing will continue to meet to hear of progress and is next due to meet at 7.00pm on 16 October at The Small Mansion. I have no objection to this session being in public as it will help to dispel the suspicion and mistrust which appears to have been built up recently.

“Meanwhile, Hounslow and Ealing are working on the constitution for a new joint body and will be taking this through their respective Councils in the next two months.”

October 7, 2008