|Nearly Two Million 'Wasted' on Town Hall Disposal|
Campaigners say council has already spent a huge amount on hotel deal
Nearly two million pounds has been spent by Ealing Council so far on the ongoing process to turn the Town Hall into a hotel.
The figure of £1.9million was given at the last Council meeting by Council Leader, Julian Bell in response to a query about costs relating to the deal.
The full breakdown of what this expenditure involves has not yet been given - we have requested and await this information from the council.
The council want to lease the historic building to boutique hotel Mastcraft who would be paying £2.5million for a 250 year lease. However the 'sale' has been delayed with an ongoing dispute over Victoria Hall, paid for by Victorian crowdfunding and currently governed by a charitable Trust set up in 1893, campaigners are fighting to save it for the benefit of the local community.
The Charity Commission is still examining the issue and has to decide whether the council can proceed with the disposal of the property.
Ealing Central and Acton MP, Rupa Huq has recently written to the Commission to find out when a decision is likely and stating that she believes 'valid objections' have been highlighted by local groups.
If the deal falls through the Council would have to pay a £350,000 indemnity to Mastcraft.
Eric Leach of West Ealing Neighbours (WEN), co-founder of Friends of the Victoria Hall (FoVH) blasted the spending as wasteful, "It beggars belief that Council tax payers are funding both Ealing Council’s lawyers and Friends of the Victoria Hall’s lawyers with regards the disposal of the town hall. With annual booking revenues from Victoria and Prince’s Hall of around £250,000 a year this would cover Mastcraft’s annual lease payments. If, as we expect, the Council will ultimately fail to ‘give’ these halls to Mastcraft, the hotel deal will then fall apart. Our fund raising is making good progress and should we need to go to Court we are confident the funds will be found.''
FoVH recently delivered a 2,000 signature petition to the Charity Commission’s office in Petty France, St James, London SW1.
Find out more here.
March 11 2020