Ealing Council has approved an application from a local group, Ealing Voice, to list Ealing Town Hall as an asset of community value, which will at least delay the council’s plans to sell it to Mastcraft for conversion to a hotel.
Ealing Voice will then have six weeks to express an interest in bidding to take on the lease of the building. Should Ealing Voice inform the council of its intention to bid it will have up to six months to present plans.
Julian Bell, leader of the council, said: “I am totally committed to preserving Ealing Town Hall, but even after an £800,000 investment it still needs considerable work done to bring it up to an acceptable standard and the council is no longer in a financial position to maintain and run the building.
“It is essential that we find a balance between the community and commercial use of the building to ensure there is a long term sustainable future that ensures it remains at the heart of the town centre for future generations. I welcome any interest from local people to find a sustainable long term future for the town hall.”
The council has already completed a bidding process through the European Journal which was open for any organisation to bid. This began in November 2015 and concluded with the council’s cabinet approving Mastcraft as its preferred bidder in July 2016.
The council believe Mastcraft’s proposal could ensure that the magnificent neo-gothic building would continue to be at the heart of the borough’s civic life for the next two centuries and beyond. The building’s two main rooms, the Victoria Hall and Council Chamber would be preserved as part of an 18-month extensive refurbishment to reconfigure the underused building.
Part of the town hall would be developed into a hotel with function and meeting rooms that a range of organisations would be able to continue to hire. Subject to planning approvals, the proposed hotel development could also include a bistro restaurant, bar and rooftop terrace. These plans could help the council protect public access to the building and allow local community groups to still hire space in the building.
If Ealing Voice indicates that it wishes to work up a proposal then the council will consider this before entering into any legal agreement with Mastcraft.