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Councillor Peter Mason standing in a local street, looking to the left of the picture. The words Leader's Notes are superimposed on the image.

New horizons for leisure and culture

This month we will be sharing our new masterplan for a new Gurnell Leisure Centre and next month we’ll be opening a new park in Perivale.

It was apparent some time ago that the best option for Gurnell Leisure Centre was a replacement, not a repair. The new leisure centre will not only replace the existing facilities, including a 50m swimming pool, but also introduce even more and better features, to truly make it a state-of-the-art, landmark leisure centre for the borough.

The unsuccessful planning application in 2020 took us back to the drawing board. Thousands of you shared your thoughts on what you’d like to see at the site and our new plans reflect that.

We listened to concerns. Our new plans have less than half of the scale of development than what was originally suggested, just enough to help contribute to the costs of delivering the new leisure centre. We’ve reduced the heights of the housing too and we’ve revised our plans for the grounds around the centre so we can make the park and the new centre top leisure destinations.

New park in Perivale and leisure for all

The opening of a new park in Perivale next month marks the next of our promised 10 new parks in the borough, and a step closer to our ambitions for a regional park in west London.

Almost two-thirds of people we surveyed supported the closure of Perivale Golf Club to create a new park. As soon as the club closes early next month we’ll be busy transforming it ready for people to start using it this summer. We’ll be working with residents to help this new space take shape.

Leisure centres and new parks are certainly some of our big-ticket items, but there’s a wealth of activity that happens alongside our bigger ambitions that thousands enjoy every day.

Our investments in playgrounds have increased year-on-year, and for the year ahead we’ll hit close to £1million spent refurbishing and replacing the next round of places that are so important for children and young people.

Our leisure and sports centres saw more than 2.13million visits last year too – an increase of more than 230,000 from the previous year – and the Dormers Wells Women Only Gym continues to be incredibly popular.

The indoor and outdoor activity available at Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub, which opened in 2021, saw more than 285,000 visits in 23/24 – again, up on the previous year. Our grass pitches are filled with football and rugby players during their respective sporting seasons and Rectory Park Football Facility, home of Middlesex FA, saw more than 110,000 visitors pass through their gates.

Working with the Lawn Tennis Association, we’ve renovated tennis courts right across the borough – an investment worth almost £325,000. And, just in time for summer and Wimbledon.

Planning for a culture-filled future

Recently, the council published our cultural infrastructure plan, which is a stocktake of existing facilities and offerings in the borough for culture and the arts – from our cinematic heritage and the return of cinemas to Ealing, to Pitshanger Manor, the Creative Enterprise Zone in Park Royal and beyond.

It also shows how we can support the creation of more places for the arts to thrive in places like Southall, where cultural life is teeming away, without the space to showcase it – and how we can work to ensure all residents can access, enjoy or build careers in creative and cultural sector.

This week we open up a truly unique opportunity for young people to gain a crucial first foothold in a career in the arts. The Martinware Collective Curatorship 2024 is exactly the sort of opportunity we want our young people to have access to, and which is usually not available to many people.

Meanwhile, our new Ealing Culture website, which went live last month, allows people to upload details of their events for free. It’s the place to go if you want to share or attend local cultural events in the borough.

Festival goers to last weekend’s Hanwell Hootie lucked out with the weather, and I hope the sun continues to shine as festival season gets fully under way. As well as our much-loved Greenford, Hanwell and Acton carnivals, we look forward to the Ealing Summer Festival, LatinoLife Festival and the return of our New Gen youth festival, which offers amazing opportunities for our young creatives. Keep up-to-date with all of this and more at Ealing Culture.

Councillor Peter Mason signature
Councillor Peter Mason, leader of Ealing Council

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