CENTRAL EALING: A public consultation into the Charity Commission draft proposals that would allow Ealing Council to sell off the Victoria Hall as part of its Town Hall deal with a hotel operator is underway and due to end on 6 January 2020. Ealing residents have been urged to reject the scheme.
The Victoria Hall was built next to Ealing Town Hall with money raised through a Victorian crowdfunding campaign. It is owned by a charitable Trust set up in 1893 to run the Victoria Hall for the benefit of local people. The Hall has hosted countless meetings, entertainments and exhibitions over the years.
However, for nearly two years the Council has been trying to persuade the Charity Commission to allow it to amend the Trust rules so that the Victoria Hall can be included in a £2.5 million of the Town Hall site.
Seven local community groups* came together in November 2019 to form The Friends of the Victoria Hall (FoVH). Roger Green, chair of FoVH, said:
‘Even a cursory look at the Charity Commission proposal shows that this would be a very poor deal indeed for Ealing residents. They’d likely lose affordable access to facilities that have been serving the community for 126 years.
‘The prospect of losing the Borough’s largest indoor community space to a private company is bad enough, but the terms under which it would happen are just too soft. Incredibly the Council seems to be prepared to let the whole of the Town Hall and Victoria Hall go for less than the price of a three-bedroom flat in Dickens Yard. That can’t be right.’
A FoVH team is going through the fine detail of the Charity Commission’s draft Victoria Hall Trust Scheme in order to lodge detailed objections. In the meantime it has launched a petition against the scheme.
* The founding organisations of the Friends of the Victoria Hall were: Central Ealing Neighbourhood Forum, Campaign for an Ealing Performance & Arts Centre, Central Ealing Residents’ Association, Ealing Arts & Leisure, Ealing Civic Society, Save Ealing’s Centre and West Ealing Neighbours. Individual and group memberships are invited.