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Concerns raised over “poorly publicised” consultation on Victoria Hall’s future

Campaigners and supporters of Ealing’s Victoria Hall are getting ready for the next phase of their 10-year battle to save it from being sold along with Ealing Town Hall to a hotel developer. 

A public consultation by the Charity Commission which opened on 26 March 2024 is due to close on 28 April 2024 has been called “poorly publicised” by Friends of the Victoria Hall.

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.”

Ealing Town Hall notice board covered in graffiti. Photo: Friends of the Victoria Hall
Ealing Town Hall notice board covered in graffiti. Photo: Friends of the Victoria Hall

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

Campaigners say the consultation is an attempt by the Charity Commission to push through a new set of rules known as “a scheme” for the Trust which would allow Ealing Council to take control of Victoria Hall and sell it off.

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.”

To take part in the consultation, click here.

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