COMMUNITY campaigners are celebrating victory in their fight to save Southall Town Hall from being sold by Ealing Council.

It is currently home to 15 tenant organisations, including Southall Community Alliance, the Migrant Advice and Advocacy Service and Lalis Direct Care.

The High Court, which considered their case for Judicial Review at a hearing on July 4-5, has now issued its judgement and the sale of the town hall is quashed.

“We won the case on both grounds,” said Helen Mowatt, a solicitor from the Public Interest Law Unit at Lambeth Law Centre, which led on the case.

“The High Court has determined that Ealing Council failed to act in accordance with its public sector equality duty when it decided to simply sell the town hall to the highest bidder.

“It had also not followed guidance which allows for local authorities to sell buildings for less than the best price – a power which is particularly important where the interests and needs of the local community are at stake.

“It’s likely now the council will have to start the bidding process again or may even decide to take an alternative course of action – working with, rather than against, community organisations.

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“This is a great victory, not only for people in Ealing and the Save Southall Town Hall Campaign, but for anti-austerity campaigners generally.

“The community value and the use of buildings must be properly considered before being sold off to the highest bidder.”

Council leader Julian Bell said: "We are very disappointed with the decision as we want to secure and revitalise the building in a way that is not a drain on ever-diminishing council resources. 

“We will now take advice and consider our legal options as we strongly believe this is a necessary step."

The council will not be disposng of the freehold of the site, but granting a lease on the building. 

The town hall is Grade II listed, so any alterations and demolition will require both planning and listed building consent.