I’m reliably informed that the recently closed Grosvenor pub will re-open as a gastro pub. If true, and I hope it is, this will be one heck of a transformation. I thought it would end up as housing but this sounds a very bold move on behalf of the new owners. The Grosvenor is some way off the high street in a residential area and has a lot of potential customers within a short walking distance – including me. I wish the new owners well and really hope they will succeed and transform what had become a run-down pub in to a thriving business that becomes a cherished part of our local community.
Updated Friday 20th December
The two-storey art deco style building above Morrisons on the corner of the Uxbridge Road and St James Ave looks likely to become an integrated drug and alcohol recovery centre if planning permission goes through. A while back when I was with OPEN Ealing we negotiated a deal to take the lease on this property to make it OPEN’s permanent home. It’s a bit of a long story but the money never came through to complete the deal and this building has remained empty for a couple of years.
The service is currently sited in Leeland Road in West Ealing and the charity CRI has put in a change of use planning application to take on the 8,500 sq ft St James Annex . Their website describes CRI as follows:
‘CRI is a social care and health charity working with individuals, families and communities across England and Wales that are affected by drugs, alcohol, crime, homelessness, domestic abuse and antisocial behaviour.
Our projects, delivered in communities and prisons, encourage and empower people to regain control of their lives and motivate them to tackle their problems.’
The centre is planned to be open from 8am – 8pm weekdays and 10am – 6pm on Saturdays.
The application can be found here by typing PP/2013/4403 in to the reference number box at the top of the form. The closing date for comments is 3rd January. It’s a little odd that the list of consultees does not include anyone living in St James Avenue which is barely 50 metres away.
Six Short Plays 2
Another in OPEN’s occasional series of performed readings, SIX short plays 2, is on this Friday 20th, 7.30pm at OPENShop, 13 Drayton Green Road, W13 0NG.
Six plays by writers: Danny Flynn, Liam O’Grady and Wally Sewell will be performed by actors: Ben Owora, Peter Saracen and Richard Ward.
Don’t miss this Christmas treat!
£5 on the door.
Last week it was Papa John’s and this week it’s Peri Peri Original that’s soon to open in West Ealing. I think that also makes the third such Peri Peri chicken shop on the high street. I own up to not tried this style of cooking so I had to look up what Peri Peri (or Piri Piri) chicken is all about. If I’ve got it right it’s a Portuguese style dish from Africa with a hot chilli sauce made from the peri peri chilli.
I’ve read that the high street average for vacant shops is around 14%. I’m going to have to count how many empty shops we have in West Ealing as I don’t think we have that many. I have written many times about the future of our high street and how I think it is unbalanced by being dominated by budget shopping. However, if my guess is right then we have fewer empty shops than the average and that’s good going in these times.
After some 10 days of silence and no sign of any builders, a crew was on site today (Saturday) dismantling the scaffolding that appears to one cause of the delay. You can see from my photo (apologies for the poor quality) that they have taken down all the metal sheeting that was across the top of the site. It looks like health and safety concerns are the reason for the scaffolding problems.
Another cause of the delay seems to be the revised planning application for a taller building which is needed to up the number of bedrooms to meet the requirements of Holiday Inn Express.
The one who suffers most from all this delay is our local butcher Tony Luckhurst who is quoted in this week’s Ealing Gazette as hoping he will be back in February or March. Tony is currently working for another butcher to pay his bills. The work will really have to get going if there’s any chance of Tony being back in March but I hope he is as plenty of us are missing him.
It’s 10.30am and the marquee is taking shape and already it’s causing interest as people come up to ask what’s happening. The first of the children’s carousel rides has just arrived. It’s all looking good.
We’re almost there! Watch out for the marquee and carousels tomorrow in Dean Gardens.
We have carols from St John’s Primary School at 4pm and then more carols from the New Testament Choir at 7.30pm. Here’s the full running order:
4.00 – 4.20 St John’s Primary School choir
4.20 – 4.30 magician
4.30 – 5.15 Gypsy Dynamite (quartet)
5.30 – 6.00 Robert Brookfield
6.00 – 6.10 magician
6.15 – 6.55 The Onironauts
7.00 – 7.20 Piers Hogg
7.30 – 8.00 New Testament Gospel Choir
For your Christmas gifts we have stalls selling:
- Handmade fragrances, lip gloss, lavender bags
- Bags made from recycled juice cartons
- Animal nighlights, metal signs
- A wide variety of jewellery
- Cushion covers, baby bibs
- Greetings cards
- Terracotta tiles, picture frames, bags
- Mulled apple juice, quince cheese, jams, chutneys, marmalade
I’ve heard it said that West Ealing lacks a ‘night-time economy’. In other words, there’s nothing going on in the evenings to make you want to come out to West Ealing after dark. Is that fair and what would attract you to come to West Ealing at night?
In terms of entertainment, our cinema days have long gone (not just in West Ealing but also in Ealing Broadway). The Drayton Court puts on some excellent comedy and magic shows. OPEN Ealing has some sporadic events such as plays and exhibitions but these are one-off events. This may change if they can secure funding for their ambition to take on the cafe on the new Green Man Estate and turn this in to a cafe-cum-performance/exhibition space. We should know quite soon if this ambition can be realised. A number of our pubs have some excellent live music – The Grosvenor, The Plough and so on.
If it’s food you’re looking for then West Ealing has an ever-increasing number of fast food/take-away restaurants. Papa John’s pizza will soon open and Peri Peri Original chicken restaurant is about to open next to the Best Western Maitrise Hotel. We have very few ‘sit-down’ restaurants in West Ealing except in the strip running from the Lido Junction to Culmington Road. These seem to be very popular, especially the Persian ones, and they probably benefit the nearby pubs and bars such as The Castlebar and Star and Anchor.
What we seem to lack is a strong ‘destination’ venue. Whether it be an entertainment venue with something on every night or a restaurant whose reputation attracts people from miles around.
This is just my personal view. What would make you want to come to West Ealing at night?
I seem to be taking photos of a lot of shop fronts recently. Here’s another one. This time it’s the shop next to the new Morrisons, near the corner with St James Ave, which will be a pop up shop for the next few months. The plan is to offer the shop at low cost to a range of people or groups to sell their products for a trial period. A competition has been run and decisions will be made next week. I believe the first group to take it on will be the winners of a Dragon’s Den type event at the nearby Westside Youth Centre. They will be selling urban clothes. Watch this blog for more news on this shop as we get it.
I think it’s a great idea to give local people and businesses a chance to try out their ideas at a low risk and bring something new and different to our high street.
Papa John’s is soon to open where Fu On used to be up near the juncton with Eccleston Road. Papa John’s looks to be an expanding chain acros the UK. It will be at least the third take-away pizza place in West Ealing, so competition is getting tough. if you try it please come back and tell us what you think.