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Big Conversation V

What's next for Gunnersbury Park & Museum? We asked you for your ideas...

The fifth outing of the Big Conversation focused on the masterplan for Gunnersbury and several areas for regeneration were identified. Below are the main comments from the discussions, followed by answers to some questions posed.


Model Farm

  • A preference to demolish existing, dilapidated 20th century buildings to provide a clearer site for future uses
  • Extend and improve the existing children’s playground into the model farm area
  • Develop it as a BMX & Skate park – children already use are near the Potomac informally for BMX – this would make it official within a recognised and designed space
  • Provide a serviced area – power/water/WCs/seating for flexible use – pop-up food stalls, markets, exhibitions
  • Provide a serviced area – power/water/WCs for flexible use – small scale, community events space, performance space
  • Find a forest school provider to invest and develop the site
  • Develop a community hall – for children’s parties etc.
  • Construct a water play area or lido – inspiration from Hampstead ponds!
  • Respect the heritage of the site – it was a working farm in 19th century, but bring uses up to date for the contemporary needs of park visitors

Getting around Gunnersbury

  • Footpath around the southern section of the park (discussion re-funding of this, what was done with HLF monies, what kind of surfaces would be best, do we need listed planning consent)
  • Existence of Desire line/paths – is there a plan to make these into additional, more permanent paths
  • The importance of commercial income – we were asked to communicate more strongly how these funds are needed (and used) for the upkeep of the Gunnersbury Estate
  • We need to reinforce our need for fundraising – we were asked how people can give to us. Can we be more transparent in terms of specifically how we would use the funds generated by large scale commercial activity, so that the community are more inclined to feel positive about it, e.g. we are hosting large scale events for xx nights in order to raise funds to repair the paths/install more bins
  • Lighting – generally it was not considered that this was an issue given the amount of light coming into park from exterior sources. It was considered that more lighting would be damaging to the natural environment. It was noted that once the Sports Centre opens (until 10 pm) we will probably need additional lighting in the park
  • Signage – request for emergency numbers on the signs and also for location points for emergency services. Giving the various gates specific names would be helpful. Request for tree signage and tree maps. Consider QR codes to avoid too much signage.
  • Drainage around the sports centre – what is happening here.

Small Mansion

  • Convert the flats into accommodation/Airbnb style - a place for people to stay overnight when there are festivals/weddings/bigger events and put the income back into Gunnersbury
  • Hire out the spaces to local community groups/clubs and charge a small fee
  • Local artists to come and use space as artist workshops, focussed on art forms that need a lot of space e.g. blacksmithing / metal work, pottery facilities e.g. a kiln that could also be used by local schools and community groups or hired by different artists
  • Hold temporary exhibitions for well known artists
  • Have something similar to Cecil Sharp House - a place where people can come and listen to music, watch dance performances.
  • Have short term courses onsite as well as long term courses so it caters to both groups (those who work and don't work)


  • Have a cafe in the stable
  • Outdoor catering just outside the stables in the summer
  • Could be used as a repair workshop 
  • Something similar to Mensshed - a group of men get together in the form of a mental health support group and do gardening but here they can have a repair work shop.  Members liked the idea of having something similar to the TV programme - The Repair Shop.  Could be a small onsite business?


  • Status as a nature reserve?
  • Find a balance with fishing / community fishing and the ecology 
  • Important to ensure that the area does not return to the dilapidated state it was 5 years ago.
  • Could be positive education / learning opportunities
  • Restoration of the Pulhamite Landscape and Gothic Tower



What is happening with the café?

Work began this week to demolish the old café, find out more here.

We will also be conducting a procurement exercise over the next few weeks to renew our list of pop up vendors, and it is our intention to secure a more varied offer for the rest of the year.

Any news on the little side gate on the north circular?

This gate has been identified for repair work by the two councils, who are responsible for its maintenance. We hope they will confirm funding and a start date for the work soon.

How can we send over comments/ further ideas?

Get in touch with us at

When will the fences surrounding the green field will be removed?

We are aware that the HERAS fencing has caused inconvenience for our visitors over lockdown. The fencing will remain in place until spring both to protect and allow for additional works on the fields so they are in the best possible condition for their use in the spring.

Over the next few weeks we will work with our Grounds maintenance contractor and London Borough of Ealing officers, who project managed the sports centre and pitch construction, to attend the site, and we hope to have an update then.

We apologise for this ongoing situation and hope our visitors will continue to bear with us.

What is happening with Putt in the Park at Gunnersbury

We remain committed to bringing Putt in the Park to Gunnersbury Park. We believe that Putt in the Park will be a welcome and fun addition to the park for visitors of all ages, while also bringing vital income into the park.

What is happening with homelessness in the park?

Homelessness is unfortunately an issue that occur in parks across London. We work closely with St Mungo's to help ensure that homeless sleepers are given the support that they need.

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