THE long-awaited court case to challenge the Charity Commission over its support for Ealing Council’s attempts to sell off Ealing Town Hall will take place from February 20-22.

The hearing will take place nearly two years after the appeal was lodged by two residents, Will French and Tony Miller.

It will be the next stage in the long-running campaign against the council’s six-year-long attempt to dispose of the town hall – including the Victoria Hall, which does not belong to them – to a hotel developer.

In July 2016, Ealing Council entered into an agreement with a developer to sell off the town hall on a 250-year lease, to turn it into a luxury hotel. 

However, more than 20% of the site consists of the Victoria Hall, built by public subscription and, since 1893, the property of a charitable trust set up to run it for the benefit of the community.

The Victoria Hall is the only large venue in the borough that is easily accessible from Acton, Ealing, Greenford, Hanwell, Northolt, Perivale, or Southall.

In March 2021, despite fierce opposition, the Charity Commission agreed to let Ealing Council take over the charitable trust property.

Will French, one of the two appellants, said: “It’s been in nobody’s interest for this affair to have dragged on for so long, effectively denying the communities in Ealing the use of a facility they have enjoyed for over 125 years.”

Mr French and Mr Miller launched their legal challenge in April 2021 on behalf of the Friends of the Victoria Hall, which has raised more than £70,000 to pay for legal advice.

The court hearing, in the Royal Courts of Justice, will be open to the public and is expected to be streamed online.