CRITICS say a meeting from which the public was barred shows how Ealing Council is conflicted as trustee of the publicly-owned Victoria Hall while also being behind plans to sell it off.

The principal agenda item at the September 15 meeting of the council’s Victoria Trust Committee was ‘matters to be considered in private’.

The ‘private matters’ were to consider legal advice about the Friends of the Victoria Hall taking the Charity Commission to court.

This is over the commission’s decision to support Ealing Council efforts to take ownership of the hall and sell it off to become part of a hotel.

The Victoria Hall, the Princes Hall and a number of other rooms in Ealing’s Grade II listed town hall belong to a Charitable Trust, whose beneficiaries are the people of Ealing.

The council needs the permission of the Charity Commission to alter the terms of the trust, so it can dispose of the property in a deal with hotel developer Mastcraft.

A member of FoVH tried to attend the September meeting in Ealing Town Hall.

The chair warned her she would be ejected when the main agenda item was reached.

Friends chair Roger Green commented: “Conduct like this does nothing to inspire confidence that the trust is working in the best interests of the people of Ealing.

“We say hands off! The Victoria Hall should be run by a properly independent trustee body, not the council and its property developer 'regeneration' partners.”

Supporters can help the FoVH fund its legal costs by donating at

A council spokesperson said: “Ealing Council is the sole trustee of the Victoria Hall Charitable Trust.

“The Victoria Hall Trust Committee (which includes five elected councillors and three independent trustees) has considered all options available and has determined that the trust should support the council’s proposal to redevelop the town hall in partnership with Mastcraft.

“This is the best option to secure a sustainable and long-term future for the Victoria Hall Trust and the local people it serves. Earlier this year, the Charity Commission took the decision to support the trust’s position.

“The Friends of Victoria Hall have lodged a court challenge against the Charity Commission’s decision and a hearing date for the challenge is pending.

“The Trust met on September 15 to consider legally-privileged advice in relation to this challenge.

“The main agenda item was held in private session, which was entirely appropriate given the purpose was to consider the trust’s position in relation to active court proceedings.”