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Ealing Town Hall's proposed closure is being delayed amidst claims that the major re-development plan is faltering.

Ealing Council approved Mastcraft as the preferred development partner in July 2016. Plans include an extensive refurbishment which would see the bulk of the building turned into a luxury hotel.

The historic Town Hall, which is used by many community groups, was expected to close to the public this spring and reopen in May 2020 but it has just been announced that this has now been put back until October.

Campaigners from Ealing Voice have been questioning the council's bid to change the charitable status affecting some of the rooms in the building which they believe could see facilities originally donated for community use transferred to private ownership.

A consultation over the changes was extended until 9th February after complaints that it hadn't been widely publicised and has had a huge response.

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “Ealing Town Hall is loved by local people. That is why we are working with Mastcraft to preserve it as the civic heart if the borough for future generations. However, it is crucial that we get the plans right and we are willing to absorb delays to make sure that the final proposals work for the council, Mastcraft and the local area.”

Julian Smith from Ealing Voice welcomed the news of the delay which he believes is tied in with legal changes the Council is seeking.

He says: ''  There has been a public outcry in response to the misleading and flawed “consultation” the Council is currently running about the Trust. The Charity Commission (responsible for policing charities) told Ealing Voice that it has been overwhelmed with complaints about the Council’s plan to give away charitable assets worth millions of pounds to a private company.

'' There is one thing about which we can be certain, if the town hall is given to Mastcraft then not only will access to the building for community groups be more limited, it will be increasingly expensive as time goes on. Mastcraft, after all, is a business existing to make profit. Although doubtless if they fail, like Carillion for example, then the public of Ealing will end up footing the bill. This awful deal needs to be kicked into touch. There are much more exciting options for the Town Hall.''

Meanwhile, plans to redevelop the Perceval House site, creating new homes and smaller council offices, have also been pushed back by eight months to 'secure the affordable housing element and to ensure that the council is receiving best value from the site.'

The council’s preferred development partner for the scheme, Galliford Try, is now expected to start public consultation on its plans in early summer.

Councillor Bell continued: “As the council becomes smaller and more efficient, it makes less sense to carry on occupying a large office block that is expensive to run and maintain. Our plans to redevelop Perceval House will help us on our journey to become a lean and modern organisation, and the deal with Galliford Try means that we are doing this at no cost to council tax payers.

“However, once again, it’s crucial that we get this right and the affordable housing aspect of the development is something that we are determined to deliver. We are making excellent progress in our discussions with Galliford Try and I am looking forward to seeing their proposals put in front of the public later in the year.”

To have your say about the Town Hall proposals email at Ealing Council.

1st February 2018


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