Theatre plan for RAF site

WEST END theatre could be coming to Uxbridge in a plan that will regenerate the town.

Leader of Hillingdon Council, Councillor Ray Puddifoot, has announced plans are underway for a theatre and a museum at the RAF Uxbridge site in Hillingdon Road when it is decommissioned in 2010.

The site is being developed by VSM Estates as part of a restructure of the Ministry of Defence. Operations at RAF Uxbridge will move to RAF Northolt in West End Road and the land is being sold off.

Mr Puddifoot told the Hillingdon Times: "VSM Estates have been receptive to the idea of a theatre, and we really think it is something that could happen.

"I would like to see a theatre to rival the one at Windsor and this is what we are planning."

He added: "It would be fantastic to have a great theatre in our town. It would encourage people to go out for a great night to see a great show, and that would also encourage fine dining, so we would see maybe some more restaurants in the town as well.

"The kind of shows that would be out on at the theatre are likely to be shows on their way to, or from, the West End."

Other plans include a museum on the RAF site - which would encompass the bunker from the Battle of Britain.

Mr Puddifoot said: "There has been a lot of worry over what would happen to the bunker and we would not want to see that go. It is important it is preserved.

"The plan would be for the museum to be built on top of the bunker and access into the bunker could then be gained from inside the museum.

"Hillingdon has so much history, and many people don't know a lot of the background. I think it would be really great for people to have all this on their doorstep, I have wanted a borough museum for a long time. Lawrence of Arabia was based at RAF Uxbridge - and so we also have plans to have a statue of him outside the museum."

He added: "It's very exciting. A theatre would really bring some more life into the town centre, and with a new theatre comes good restaurants and shops. And the museum is something we have wanted for a long time."

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