Planning Application Submitted For Ealing Town Hall Hotel
Residents have less than a month to comment on controversial plans
Developers hoping to turn Ealing Town Hall into a boutique hotel have submitted a planning application and residents have until 26 February to submit comments.
Mastcraft were chosen as the development partner for Ealing Town Hall in 2016 and want to renovate the Grade II building to include a hotel, restaurant and bar.
The plans have been subject to a number of delays after community group 'Ealing Voice' discovered part of the town hall building is held in trust. The council is now seeking approval from the Charity Commission to change the conditions of the trust and the way part of the building, including the Victoria Hall, is managed in the future.
Julian Smith from Ealing Voice said: '' We are surprised that this application covering property owned by the Victoria Hall Trust has been made now. The Charity Commission has not approved the proposals and lawyers acting for Ealing Voice believe that charity rules will not permit this scheme.
''The council has delegated powers as trustee of the Victoria Hall Trust to its General Purposes Committee. This committee has not even considered the architectural plans, which include demolition of a significant portion of the Victoria Hall.''
Local groups opposing the hotel development have called on the council to consider alternate uses for the town hall building. However the proposals received during the community asset moratorium period including those for an arts centre were ruled out by the general purposes committee which recommended cabinet agrees to proceed with the Mastcraft proposal.
The council says it will continue to occupy the eastern part of the building and will use it to house civic functions such as offices for councillors and rooms for council meetings, marriage and citizenship ceremonies and community hire. In addition they say the Victoria Hall and other rooms will continue to be available for community and other groups to hire for events.
However, Julian Smith argues this is misleading and says ''this use will be limited to off-peak periods when Mastcraft is not using it to generate profits for itself. This limited use is only guaranteed for 10 years. The Victoria Hall, Princes Hall and other rooms owned by the trust are currently generating over £250,000 per year and are generating a surplus after operating costs are covered.''
The council will continue to own the freehold of the site and grant Mastcraft a long lease. Mastcraft will be responsible for the ongoing external maintenance and repair costs of the whole building and internal costs for the hotel. Once the building is operational the council says it expects to generate an annual return from the commercial activity.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Ealing Voice are currently in the process of preparing a follow-up letter to the Charity Commission, once published we will update.
The full planning submission can be found on the council’s planning portal by searching ‘Ealing Town Hall’.
January 28 2019