Mystery Deepens Over 'Delayed' Chiswick Cinema
Landlord revealed to be developer behind Octopus project
Mystery surrounds the future of the cinema project on Chiswick High Road with no indication of when it might open.
Picturehouse has not yet started refurbishing the former Ballet Rambert premises on Chiswick High Road despite being granted permission for a five-screen cinema almost a year ago when it said it hoped to open in January 2015.
A spokesman for Picturehouse said: "Work is in progress. It's taking much longer than we envisaged sadly, but we are working with our landlord on obtaining his permission to carry out our works. As soon we know more or have a firm timetable we'll let everyone know.
"In the interim we've placed guardians in the building to keep an eye on it and prevent squatters from entering."
Picturehouse did not reveal who the landlord in question was. However according to the original planning application lodged with Hounslow Council there were two owners of the site, Ballet Rambert, and Lochstill Ltd. The latter's parent company is London and Bath Estates, its director is Mr. Kim Gottlieb who was associated with the Octopus project at Chiswick Roundabout.
Lochstill Ltd owns 94 Chiswick High Road which is the larger building on the site and where four of the cinema screens were planned to be situated. 96-98 Chiswick High Road belonged to Ballet Rambert and would have housed just one screen as well as the bar and other amenities.
In 2012 Rambert appointed an agent to find a replacement tenant for 94 Chiswick High Road when it decided to relocate. At the time it was reported that they had seven years left on their lease and the passing rent on the 9,000 sq ft space was £77,500 pa.
According to reports in the press, the Octopus was the subject of a bidding war between two Middle Eastern royal families who were anxious to acquire the site by Chiswick Roundabout from London & Bath Estates. Now a 42-storey tower is being proposed by Gailliard at this location and the developer is expected to apply for planning permission shortly.
With planning consent automatically given to convert buildings to residential use there has been some speculation locally that developing the Chiswick High Road site into flats would be more lucrative than a cinema.
We have attempted to contact Mr. Gottlieb to ask him what his plans are for 94 Chiswick High Road.
Since the project was initiated Picturehouse has come under pressure to pay staff the London Living Wage, but has also faced opposition from local residents in surrounding streets who opposed its opening hours and have complained about the possibility of parking pressure.
At the time of the grant of planning permission Picturehouse agreed to fund a consultation with local residents on a possible extension of local CPZ operating hours when the cinema opens. It was recommended that hours be extended to Mon-Sat 9am to 9pm and Sunday 12am to 7pm. This would have cost £5,000 and, if residents agreed to an extension in operating hours, the cost of implementation was given as £40,000 which would also have been paid for by Picturehouse. Since then enforcement of the CPZ has been outsourced so the figure may need to be revised. There is no known reason for Picturehouse not to initiate the consultation process immediately to avoid delays later which could suggest any likely start date for the conversion of the property is some time off at best.
Recently Curzon Cinema was named as the preferred bidder for the Old Acton Library site. This venue will have better parking and be more accessible for some Chiswick residents.
December 22, 2014