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Ealing and Northfield

Empire of the Slow

It has been a disappointing few days with regard to the cinema. Last Tuesday I drove past the cinema first thing. It appeared that some work was going on but it was only men taking scaffolding down. This caused a bit of a stir of excitement that something was happening with the cinema. It wasn’t. They were merely making sure that no-one could access the site.

On Thursday we had Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC). We had invited the chief executive of Empire cinemas, Justin Ribbons, to come and give us an update on progress with Ealing cinema after his appearance in the summer. Ribbons did not turn up but sent the e-mail apology below to the OSC officer Keith Fraser at lunchtime on the day of the meeting.

OSC recommended that the council’s cabinet press ahead with its compulsory purchase order of the cinema site. This will not make Empire quake in their boots but hopefully it helps keep up the pressure on them.

After so long residents will be disappointed and cynical about another delay. Ealing Central and Acton MP Angie Bray has written to Justin Ribbons today to take him to task, see below, click to enlarge.

Empire are not covering themselves in glory here in Ealing. I am not quite sure why Ribbons is so unwilling to communicate clearly. We all know these are hard times for businesses as well as individuals. We might have some sympathy if problems were explained. The silence from Empire makes us think the worst of it.