Gunnersbury Park’s Small Mansion and stables have received a lifeline in the form of a £2.3 million grant for emergency repair work.
Ealing and Hounslow Council accepted the grants from Highways England at two separate cabinet meetings on Tuesday night (23 April).
The work must begin as soon as possible, with the grant only claimable until April next year and the two councils will now begin seeking contractors to undertake the works.
Hounslow Council chief executive, Niall Bulger, said at Tuesday’s meeting: “This grant is for this financial year only, so that will mean we have to crack on.”
The grant still falls far short of the total amount needed for the restoration, estimated to be between £9 and £11million, and Bulger said the remainder would likely only be found when a contractor was found to use the facility.
Mr Bulger said: “This funding is very much for the urgent repair and maintenance. There certainly needs to be an end user.”
During consultation, possible uses for the buildings have ranged from a cultural site to mixed-residential developments.
The park and buildings are jointly owned by the councils, and a consultation will now begin between project teams and partners to begin market testing, and establish end users.
Roughly £2 million of the new grant will be put to construction repair work, with a quarter of a million earmarked for repairs of detailing on the building.
The remainder will be put towards a survey, in which feasible uses will be investigated. The survey phase will be led by the London Borough of Ealing and the repairs phase will be led by the London Borough of Hounslow, with the only direct council outlay being on staff working hours.
The Small Mansion was built in 1802, and is a Grade Two listed building, according to Historic England. The mansion and stables are part of the 75-hectare park, with many of the other buildings already having been restored since 2010.
The Small Mansion temporarily hosts some of Gunnersbury Museum’s collections and the East and West Stables are not fit for use.
The Gunnersbury 2026 Masterplan, formulated in 2012, outlined three Phases for the regeneration for the park. Phase 1, which dealt with the larger mansion on the land and focused upon the park itself, was completed in 2018. Phase 3, which focuses on sport facilities in the park, is due for completion in 2019. The Small Mansion and stables, technically Phase 2, has been delayed since 2012.