Watermans' old site could reopen for a short period depending on financial backing says Hounslow Labour Group

By Cesar Medina

29th Apr 2024 | Local News

Councillor Tom Bruce from Hounslow Council says Watermans' old building could reopen for a short period depending on financial backing (credit: Cesar Medina).
Councillor Tom Bruce from Hounslow Council says Watermans' old building could reopen for a short period depending on financial backing (credit: Cesar Medina).

Hounslow Labour Party has provided an update on Watermans' closure saying it is 'keen' to reopen the building as soon as possible.

Last month Watermans Art Centre announced it would shut its doors after 40 years in the Brentford community because of a lack of funds, with 11 April being its last day of operation on the old site.

However, the art centre and Hounslow Council has previously said it is working on delivering a new site for Watermans - one that is "more sustainable operationally and able to present an even stronger mix of high-quality dance, theatre, music, film and exhibitions."

On Friday, 26 April, on behalf of Hounslow Council's Labour Administration, Cllr Tom Bruce, Labour Group Spokesperson for Regeneration and Development said: "It is obviously still disappointing to many that the Hounslow Arts Trust were no longer able to keep the doors open on the Waterman's Arts Centre.

"I know that over the years this has been a well-loved and well supported venue, and I share in this disappointment.

"However, it is now important that we look to the future, working with both the Trust on their continued arts and culture offer in the borough and with the community in Brentford on the current and a future use for an arts centre in the town.

"I am grateful to all the groups and individuals who have written in, suggesting new ways the former Waterman's Art Centre building could be used.

"Although our long-term commitment is still to have a new arts centre built in Brentford, I would like to re-iterate our short-term commitment to enabling meanwhile use on the current site.

"In the next few weeks we will be writing to all those who have written in, as well as opening up a wider call, asking for formal expressions of interest for the meanwhile uses.

"Once these expressions have been received, they will be formally evaluated and a further request made for more detailed bids.

"We estimate we can achieve assessment of all bids within four months. However, this is dependent on the number and quality of the bids received."

Hounslow Labour Party say Watermans' old site could be reopened for a short period depending on financial viability (credit: Cesar Medina).

Cllr Bruce added: "I am keen that we get the building re-opened as soon as possible. It is important to note that Hounslow Arts Trust currently hold the lease for the building and will do until September.

"Also, as the landlord, the council will be required to conduct a structural survey to ensure the safety of the building and those who may occupy it.

"We are working closely with the trust to ensure the handover of the building and any associated equipment will take place as quickly and smoothly as possible, but also to ensure the resources and equipment they require for their community arts and culture projects can be safely secured and easily accessed.

"In the next few weeks, the community will see activity around the site as the council act swiftly to carry out surveys and release more detailed information on the next steps to be taken."

To find out more about Watermans Art Centre in Brentford, click here.

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