Ealing Town Hall Hotel Given Planning Green Light
But the controversial plans are still under investigation by the charity commission
Ealing Councillors have approved a controversial application to turn part of the Town Hall into a luxury hotel.
They voted by 9 votes to 3 to allow developers Mastcraft to use the western and central part of the Grade II listed building for a 120-room hotel with a health club and a cocktail bar. The eastern part would be retained for civic use.
The council would continue to own the freehold, granting Mastcraft a long lease. Mastcraft would 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.
The plans have been subject to a number of delays after community group 'Ealing Voice' discovered part of the town hall building isn't actually 'owned' by the council but held in trust. The council is 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.
There has been no ruling on this as yet but the Planning Committee pressed ahead and met to decide the application (Wednesday15/05).
Mastcraft and Council officers claimed that the scheme’s “clear public benefits” would outweigh the admitted harm of altering the listed building.
Will French spoke on behalf of Save Ealing Centre (SEC) about the status of the Victoria Hall which is part of the charitable trust. He said: '' As a public benefit, they seemed able to point to little more than the refurbishment free of charge of a Town Hall building that successive Councils had allowed by to decay for years. I argued that had to be set against the loss from public control for the next 250 years of a valuable central site, the strong opposition of experts in the Victorian Society, the Town Centre Conservation Panel and Ealing Civic Society and the loss to the whole Ealing community of the Victoria Hall with the events and the memories that have brought fun and a sense of belonging to thousands of Ealing residents. This argument did not prevail.''
Omar Kadhim from the newly-formed Dickens Yard Residents Association spoke about the poor consultation and impact of the plan on residents off the Dickens Yard flats, and fears that there would be many more service vehicles for a hotel rather than the Town Hall.
16 May 2019