TWO Ealing residents will be in court this month to challenge the Charity Commission over its support for Ealing Council’s attempts to sell off Victoria Hall as part of plans for a hotel.

The online hearing on September 27-28 is the latest development in the campaign against the council’s six-year-long attempt to dispose of the town hall – including the Victoria Hall that does not belong to them – to a hotel developer.

In July 2016, the council signed an agreement to sell the town hall buildings on a 250-year lease.  However, the site includes the Victoria Hall, built by public subscription and owned since 1893 by a charitable trust.

In March 2021, in the face of fierce opposition, the Charity Commission agreed to let the council take over the property.

Will French, one of the two appellants against the Commission decision, said: “The Victoria Hall is the only large venue in the borough that’s easily accessible from Acton, Ealing, Greenford, Hanwell, Northolt, Perivale and Southall. The idea of losing it to a boutique hotel is outrageous.”

Tony Miller, who will appear alongside him, added: “We’re now into the seventh year of this sorry saga. If the council had done its homework at the start it would have discovered it didn’t own the Victoria Hall and might have come up with a better idea for it.”

They launched their legal challenge in April 2021 on behalf of the Friends of the Victoria Hall (FoVH), which has raised more than £70,000 to pay for legal advice.

The online hearing is open to the public. To show the strength of feeling, FoVH wants as many people as possible to apply for access to the proceedings.

The last opportunity to do this is September 16. You should email, providing a name, address and the reason why you wish to watch the hearings.