Public pack Town Hall to hear proposals
The Victoria Hall was packed on Tuesday 25 Jan when Ealing Arts Centre directors presented their business proposal to the public.
The evening was opened with young dancers from S.A.Dance, followed by a recorded message of support from Bettany Hughes, broadcaster and historian.
John Hummerston and Ann Pavett explained the vision and detail of the Arts Centre, offering a multitude of creative activities to every section of society in Ealing Borough.
They explained that the Arts Centre would bring many thousands of people to the town hall, thereby generating extra income for the Council to offset its £1.7m annual deficit.
Spokespeople from TVU and Questors Theatre supported the idea, wanting to become involved, as did many other groups that were represented at the meeting.
The project is resident led and would keep costs down by using volunteers in much the same way that Questors does. But it would have professionally-trained arts administrators.
Brendon Walsh, Ealing Council’s Property and Regeneration officer and Cllr Shital Manro were on the platform taking part in the “Question time” that followed the presentation.
Despite repeated questioning from the audience, Brendon Walsh failed to support the idea of an Arts Centre, offering instead to take over the dance studio idea and to look into the possibility of re-housing the ARK art project in one of the rooms. Ealing Arts Centre directors were noticeably upset that two years of discussions with Brendon Walsh, and a professional business plan, had resulted in next to nothing, despite obvious popular demand for the project.
Cllr Manro attempted to mediate, publicly offering to progress plans to set up a special panel to discuss the matter – but not until May.
Protests were made about the high hire charges for halls which keep community groups out, especially at weekends. The audience generously gave £300 to cover the cost of the meeting.
More signatures were gathered for the petition which now has over 2,200 signatures of support for the Arts Centre.
Adrian Cave OBE who chaired the meeting ably kept the agitated 350 in order.
Contact Ealing Arts Centre for more information at
26th January 2011