Judicial Review Into Southall Town Hall Gets Green Light

Council's plans to 'sell off' historic building to be challenged in court

Southall Town Hall


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Campaigners have won the first round of their battle to save Southall Town Hall.

At the Royal Courts of Justice, it was agreed that there were legitimate concerns for reviewing Ealing Council's move to lease out the historic building and that a judicial review challenge should proceed to a full hearing.

The Council say the repair and upkeep of the 19th Century building is too high and want the private sector to take it on.

However the claimant, pensioner Mohinder Pal, (a member of the Indian Workers Association (GB) Southall Branch) has a mass of public support under the umbrella of Save Southall Town Hall Campaign.

They say the Town Hall is a public asset and an important historical building for Southall’s diverse community. In 1979 it was the scene of major anti-racist demonstration against the National Front at which schoolteacher, Blair Peach, lost his life.

In 1994 a proposal to sell Southall Town Hall led to a local charity worker going on hunger strike. It currently houses many charities and businesses, providing advice and support to vulnerable people.

Janpal Basran, from Southall Community Alliance said, “As a tenant, working in Southall Town Hall, we are delighted with this decision. It is a real boost to hear a senior judge say what members of the Campaign have been saying, namely that the sale process has not considered the value of this historic building to our community. We hope that the Town Hall can be preserved as a community asset for future generations'

Suresh Grover, Chair of the Save Southall Town Hall Campaign urged the Council to review the decision: '' The alternative is to squander taxpayer’s money by proceeding with their case and to defend the indefensible”

Helen Mowatt, solicitor from the Public Interest Law Unit said after the hearing, “The decision of Judge Markus has made clear that Local Authorities must take their obligations under the Equalities legislation seriously, and must actively consider the community value and use of buildings before selling them off to the highest bidder. We hope for a positive result at the full Judicial Review hearing, and for a final decision which places equality at the centre of all local government policy and decision-making'.

May 2nd 2018

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