The Story so far...
The old Acton Library closed to the public on 19th March 2014.
Acton used to have five cinemas and there was talk of a new independent cinema on this site as far back as 2015 when the Curzon Corinthian group looked like they were going to buy the building. But this agreement with Ealing Council came to an end in November 2017.
There had been other community bids for the building, but in May 2018 Acton Arts Project (in its current form) was established to:
* keep the Old Library in community use
* protect the building from residential development
* open a cinema
The group has been meeting at least once each week ever since.
The Acton Arts Project website was developed in June 2018 and in October our first bid to buy the building was submitted to Ealing Council.
Meanwhile the number of Acton residents supporting the project continued to increase and over the next few months the Facebook page and Twitter account were set up.
There was a well-attended public meeting at St Mary’s Church Hall on 21st November 2018 where director, Doug Carnegie, spoke for the project and the community support was overwhelming.
Acton Arts become a Community Interest Company (CIC) later the same month.
The Acton Arts CIC has 8 directors but many more advisors, volunteers and contributors - all from the community.
Because of our efforts, the Acton Library site was awarded Asset of Community Value (ACV) status December 2018.
But in April 2019 Ealing Council took the decision not to sell the building but to rent it out. This meant the withdrawal of our original investor and marked a shift in our project.
But we re-grouped and in May 2019 approached independent cinema operators to discuss a possible partnership.
The Acton Art Project delivered its proposal to Ealing Council and the decision to rent us the building was made at the cabinet meeting of 15th October.
On the 7th November 2019, we held another public meeting at St Mary’s and introduced our proposal to our community.
During this time we applied for the Bright Ideas Fund (we were successful) and to the Good Growth Fund which was, sadly, unsuccessful this time around.
We have also been in discussion with the Architectural Heritage Fund and with developers in Acton about financial support, via grants or investment in the project.
Our Spacehive Campaign from October to December 2019 achieved an amazing £115,000 in pledges from the community.
The planning application was successfully approved in September 2020
The heads of terms for the lease were agreed in November 2020.
Due to the restrictions imposed by Covid 19, and its impact on the film industry, we have developed a meanwhile strategy. This will be a single screen, simply constructed and Covid -ready pop-up cinema. There will be a bar and cafe run by local traders to support this activity. This will operate while we establish community interest and demonstrate financial viability to potential investors.
We hope to occupy the building from early January 2021 and begin our construction of the pop-up cinema.
Our company directors are all from the local community and have been living and working in Acton for many years.
Mohammed Faisal Yousuf
Marketing and publicity:
Kal Di Paola