Thursday, January 24, 2008

Church sketches future of The State

From the minutes of January's Kilburn Partnership meeting:

"Paul Brightly-Jones, a Trustee of Ruach Ministries, expressed his pleasure to be at the meeting and to be part of the Kilburn community.

Paul couldn’t give detailed information as decisions about the building are still being made by his organisation. However he gave the following update:
  • Ruach Ministries completed the sale from Mecca Bingo at the end of December 2007
  • Paul explained that the church will focus on bringing back the ‘former glory’ of the building & introduce cutting edge facilities too.
  • Detailed plans are still being worked up, eg for the car park, the former cinema etc.
  • The church is keen to talk to local people and groups to find a way to work together. He reported that the church has worked well in the Brixton community and is popular there.
  • Work on the building has already started and the church intends to open the building by Summer 08.
  • Paul will extend an invitation to the church Prayer for the Nation at the end of January to all involved in the Kilburn community.
Car Park Update: The car park is closed to the public for the foreseeable future. Ruach Ministries are considering how to manage it appropriately. It is likely that neighbouring businesses will be able come to an agreement to continue using parking spaces. The car park was cleaned thoroughly during the first week of January 08 and litter and fly-tipping is being carefully monitored.

Wurlitzer Organ: Dave Neale, the Gaumont’s chief engineer and custodian, has been retained to ensure continued maintenance of the listed Wurlitzer organ and the interior. Ed Jarvis, Brent’s Conservation Planner visited the building on 15th January with a representative from English Heritage. Ed told Ruach representatives that they need to provide him with a schedule of all works before they start and in the first instance this will just include non-structural works.

Planning Update on the Gaumont State (supplied by Andy Bates, Brent Planning): The new owners are proposing a change of use class from D2 (Bingo Hall/Cinema/Concert/Dance Hall) to D1 (Non-residential Institution). A planning application will be required. A listed building application is needed for any works to the building. No application has been received to date.

In terms of any likely community benefits sought via this planning application, it is inevitably going to be a finely balanced assessment for Brent Planners. Weighed into the balance needs to be the fact that the new owners are likely to have to spend a significant amount of money bringing one of Kilburn’s most important buildings back to its former state, which is really important, whilst at the same time the access for the non-church going public might be restricted."

The key here is that, in return for getting planning approval, the church will have to offer services to the local community. So, local residents should think about what they would like the church to offer, and pass your thoughts on to your elected representatives at Brent and Camden Councils.


Anonymous said...

So now it is vitally important for the local community, all Londoners actually, to come up with ideas for it's use when we gain access six times a year.
Des Brittain.

Chris Porter said...

I have a great idea - it's a cinema-one of our greatest. Wouldn't it be superb if they showed a classic film (for paid admission) on some of those days? The organ could play and you could get to see the building as it was intended to be used again.

Alan K Baker said...

Chris Porter's idea is admirable and I would support it. However, there are snags. The organ and projection equipment requires regular maintenance and the building is likely to need heating. A projectionist must be paid and an organist must be free on the day/s and be paid.
What I suspect will happen is that the bare minimum will be provided. No heating, organ out of tune, keyboard player who can't handle a full-blown WurliTzer organ, etc etc.
The people will come, the 'show' will go on, the people will go and will never return. Would you?
The 'church' will claim that they have complied and provided the facility, but that the 'community' just aren't interested. As has already been mooted - decay will set in and eventually the 'church' will remove its cloaking device revealing its true purpose as developers and the building will be turned into apartments, at vast profit for the 'church'.