General Election 2024

This website was established whilst I was an MP. From 30th May 2024 to 4th July 2024 there are no Members of Parliament due to the dissolution of Parliament and the General Election.

Statement on Watermans closure

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Watermans

Like many residents of Brentford I was shocked and saddened by the news that Watermans would be closing at such short notice. As someone who has fond memories of the centre going back almost 40 years, I know the important role it has played in our local community, both as a base for the arts, but also as an accessible community space – something we are short of on the eastern side of the borough. I am particularly concerned about the impact on those who work at Watermans, including those running the bar and restaurant.

 Since the news I have met with the Director of Hounslow Arts Trust that runs Watermans, along with councillors and council officers and local community activists to discuss the implications and possible ways forward. I also attended the community meeting held just before Easter, where we heard just how concerned people locally are about the closure. The Director told me that the Arts Trust cannot afford to continue to run Watermans Arts Centre because of the large gap between their income and their rising costs (particularly energy). This meant that unless they did something drastic, they were soon going to be insolvent. The Trust gets a grant from the Arts Council to deliver the community arts programmes in Bell Square and at local venues across the borough, so I welcome their plan to continue to deliver these after moving from Watermans. 

Meanwhile several local people are interested in taking over Watermans for the time being - I know the council are open to this possibility and are engaged on working on this. So that we have an arts centre fit for the future there is the planning permission to build a new arts centre on the Police Station site, funded from the redevelopment of the Watermans site -something I really hope goes ahead. 

I will continue to work with the council and the local community to ensure we deliver the best outcome for Brentford.

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