COMMUNITY outrage has followed news that Watermans Centre could leave Brentford.
Council planning bosses refused to deny the much-loved arts centre could move to Hounslow to cope with its high visitor number when quizzed by the Chronicle this week.
It comes after developer Ballymore's plans for Brentford high street did not include it, leaving residents fearing for its future.
Deborah Hall, of Tallow Road, Brentford said: “I think Watermans is fabulous and I was part of the campaign to keep it here five years ago when they were worried about funding. It would be devastating to see it go and we must stop it happening.”
Tim Luckett, former Brentford Chamber of Commerce chairman said: “I want to see Watermans in the centre of Brentford. It would be a good idea for everyone who lives here. It has a quarter of a million visitors a year and if it moved to the high street it would be brilliant for the shops, bars and restaurants here.”
The situation has led to confusing messages and finger-pointing between the council and developers.
At public meetings Ballymore explained the centre’s absence in its plans by implying Hounslow planning officers wanted the centre to have a place in Hounslow, blaming confusion surrounding the matter on the council.
But speaking at the Brentford High Street steering meeting on Monday, town centre manager Patricia Huertas said it was Ballymore being secretive, not the council.
She added: “We must assess the cultural needs of Hounslow before a decision is made about Watermans Centre. Right now I cannot say what will happen to it.”
In a joint statement, Watermans and the council said while Watermans had no firm plans to leave Brentford, they admitted it had outgrown its current site and they would consider other locations.
They added they had to decide on the best location for it to grow and offer even better cultural events and activities for residents.
A Ballymore spokesman was unavailable for comment.