Campaigners to save Ealing’s Victoria Hall urge people to take part in “poorly publicised” consultation

Image: The Victoria Hall before its closure with Ealing Town Hall in September 2023; photograph Roger Green

Public consultation ends this week 

Campaigners trying to save Ealing’s Victoria Hall are preparing for the latest round in the 10-year battle to save the public hall next which stands next to the old Town Hall, as a “poorly publicised” public consultation comes to an end this week.

The consultation, which ends on Sunday 28 April, is the latest stage of a process needed for the Charity Commission to allow Ealing Council to take control of Victoria Hall in order to sell it to a hotel developer.

Roger Green, Chair of the Friends of the Victoria Hall, said:

“There has been little effort to run a proper public consultation. Information about it has been hidden away on an obscure Council public notices web page that is hardly ever updated and a note pinned to a corner of a graffiti-daubed notice board in front of Ealing’s now-abandoned Town Hall.”

In July 2016 Ealing Council entered into an agreement with a developer to sell off its Town Hall on a 250-year lease to turn it into a luxury hotel.  However, over 20% of Ealing Town Hall consists of the Victoria Hall, built by public donations and since 1893 the property of a charitable trust set up for the benefit of the local community that had paid for it.

The consultation is the Charity Commission’s latest attempt in a process that started in 2019 to push through a new set of rules (a ‘Scheme’) for the Trust which would clear the way for Ealing Council to take control of the Victoria Hall and sell it off.

Image: The graffiti covered Town Hall notice board on which details of the consultation were posted

New scheme is “even less satisfactory than the old one”, say campaigners

Mr. Green said:

“The latest Scheme in our view is even less satisfactory than the old one. What would be left to the charitable Trust would be much reduced in size and flexibility. No space would be available to the community from Friday evenings to Monday mornings except at boutique hotel wedding reception rates.”

He added:

“The Council’s mismanagement of the charity-owned property – the Victoria and Prince’s Halls plus associated rooms – has persisted for decades. Having not produced audited accounts for the charity for many years, it has presented the Commission with a dubious set of figures that effectively annihilate the charity by saddling it with massive historic debt.

“It even denies the charity any future income from the hiring of the space, by stipulating that for the developer should receive this.

“This latest Scheme, the Commission’s third, seems to be designed to ensure that the Victoria Hall Trust will go out of business, with the loss to the communities in Ealing of the facilities originally intended by the original philanthropists.”

Representations about the proposed Scheme can be made here: charitycommission.gov.uk