COMMUNITY groups and individuals will be able to use rooms and event spaces on the ground floor in Perceval House, Ealing, from October 1.

Council and committee meetings will also take place on the ground floor of Perceval House from this month. 

The aim is to ensure accessibility for everyone attending public meetings.

The mayor’s parlour will also be moved to Perceval House and the mayor will continue to host meetings and events with guests there.

The few remaining staff and councillors working in Ealing Town Hall are also to move to office space at Perceval House.

Council leader Peter Mason said opening Perceval House for wider use would provide a valuable insight on how the building might be used in the medium to long term.

The council is waiting for a judicial decision on whether parts of the town hall can be renovated and refurbished by a developer as a hotel.

The council would then return to occupy the eastern part of the building for civic purposes, such as offices for councillors and rooms for council meetings, marriage and citizenship ceremonies and community hire.

The Victoria Hall and other rooms would also continue to be available for community use.

Parts of Ealing Town Hall used for events and meetings are not currently accessible to people unable to use the stairs unaided.

A recent health and safety inspection also found that, due to the building’s age - 135 years - most of the internal Victorian and Edwardian fire stopping measures do not meet current standards.

With these factors in mind, the decision to close the town hall to staff, councillors and visitors has been brought forward to October.

Cllr Mason added: “The long-term future of Ealing Town Tall has always been our priority and I know people will be worried about the future of our iconic and much cherished town hall. 

“We eagerly await the tribunal’s decision about its future, but, in the meantime, we need to move forward our plans to open up Perceval House and ensure people’s safety.

“We have fulfilled our role to preserve Ealing Town Hall as a building for the people of Ealing as best as we can. But, as a listed building, it is very expensive to maintain and repair and is now in considerable need of a substantial refurbishment to make it safe."

Liberal Democrat Cllr Gary Malcolm, Lib Dem opposition leader on Ealing Council, said: "It is a shame the town hall has been allowed to crumble over recent years.

"[We] have previously proposed that Perceval House, which is often very empty, should be used by community groups.”