Victoria Hall Trust – HAVE YOUR SAY


In 2016 Ealing Council announced a deal to dispose of most of the Town Hall to a private developer to convert into a boutique hotel.  The Victoria Hall and Princes Rooms underneath it form part of the deal.  The Council would only keep the east wing with the Council Chamber and marriage rooms.

The deal was met with much dismay. People said the Council had no right to dispose of the Victoria Hall which was built for charitable purposes in 1893 from public donations. Since that time the Hall has belonged to a charitable trust whose trustees – few of them seem aware of this – are our elected councillors. Councillors are required to exercise their role as trustees quite differently from the way they work as councillors.

The Council needs the Charity Commission’s permission to vary the Trust for the Victoria Hall’s disposal and first it must consult key stakeholders about its plans.  So Ealing launched a consultation on 3 November 2017. Surprisingly, the consultation makes no reference to the Council’s plan to dispose of the Trust’s assets and Ealing Voice has complained to the Charity Commission about this.

Ealing Voice has tried to clarify just what was built with the money raised by public subscription. It’s now clear it includes both the Victoria Hall and the Princes Room below. Ealing Voice has also tried to investigate the trust’s accounts. This has proved difficult as separate accounts are no longer kept. Nevertheless, the evidence shows that the Town Hall and the Victoria Hall remain different entities.

Ealing Voice believes the aims and purposes of the charitable trust remain as valid now as when the Victoria Hall was built. Furthermore, the Victoria Hall and Princes Rooms appear to generate hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in letting fees which should be enough for them to continue to operate viably.

Ealing Voice is therefore objecting to the Council’s application to change the Trust and dispose of its assets. It hopes others will support them by objecting too.

The consultation ends on 12 January 2018. To respond email David Moore – – at Ealing Council.




This article has 21 Comments

  1. A Labour Council should not be doing this- it’s a community asset used by many local societies etc. It stands alongside the council’s plans to severely downgrade the Ealing Central Library and local history provision.
    A local election is due in the Spring. I hope electors take note.

  2. You would gather documented support much quicker if you set this up as a “” petition. I can’t imagine many residents supporting the sale of Ealing historic buildings. E-petitions are much easier to share and raise awareness via social media platforms.

    1. That’s a good point David. However the leasing (for 250 years) of the town hall to Mastcraft has already been approved by the council. Local objections at the time were ignored. The current matter is that this leasing includes the building at the rear of the site containing the Victoria and Prince’s Halls, along with ancillary rooms, which was built by public subscription and is covered by the 1893 Trust. At the time of agreeing the lease to Mastcraft the council claimed that the Trust no longer applied. The Charity Commission do not agree and hence the council is looking for their approval to vary the terms of Trust to allow the Victoria Hall building to be given to Mastcraft. That is what we are currently trying to prevent.

  3. I have had my attention drawn to this by an e-mail from Save Ealing Centre. Could you supply a few more details please?

    Will the council have an on-going interest in the hotel? In other words will it create a ne future revenue stream for future residents of Ealing?

    Secondly, who currently uses these threatened spaces? And what do they use them for? How often? And what kind of revenue does that bring in?

    1. Hi Andrew. As with so many deals involving the council the details are confidential. There will be some limited access to the Victoria Hall for public events but not on the same terms as currently. As far as we are aware Mastcraft will aim to make commercial profits from the Victoria Hall and Prince’s Hall (in contravention of the terms of Trust), and will demolish other parts of the buildings covered by the Trust. Regarding financial matters, the council have failed to keep separate accounts for the trust. Ealing Voice is currently trying to find out through freedom of information what the income from these rooms actually is.

  4. It appears that council have conducted a sale of assets associated with a charitable trust without fully investigating and consulting on the obligations of the Trustees and the objectives of the Trust. Surely the sale of an asset partially or fully administered by such a trust should involve open publication of the accounts relating to the assets to make clear why the action is needed and to show that any resulting funds will be held in trust for the original objectives of charity; attractive public rooms for central Ealing.
    If this is the situation this action could be considered Maladministration.
    Is it possible to make a complaint to the Ombudsman about this?

  5. As previously stated , this issue needs wide and instant public exposure and should be set up on “” immediately in order to reach as many people as possible.

    This is a pretty appalling move by a Labour council and has to be stopped.

    1. Hi Katie

      We would be very grateful if you, or indeed anyone else, were to set up and promote a petition via local social media. At the moment there are only Will French and myself working on this for Ealing Voice, and we don’t have the capacity to do any more than we are already doing. Please email or reply to this if you are able to help. Many thanks.

  6. Only just discovered what is proposed from an article in EalingToday. It is wrong that the charitable trust should be overridden. Victoria Hall and The Princes Rooms should remain in the public domain and be let as they have been since the 1890’s. The letting income should be ploughed back into their maintenance, Suggest this protest is made into a petition on http://www.38 Degrees the well established petitioning organisation working for the public.
    Local petitions have worked well on their site and broght many issues to light..

  7. I belong to a club for older people who used both the Princes rooms and the Victoria Hall for monthly meeting for many years, we were told we would not be able to use these places from the beginning of 2017 due the place being turned over to a hotel so we have had to find a place to meet elsewhere

    1. Hi Ol

      The petition goes from strength to strength – it is clearly raising awareness of what is going on with the Victoria Hall. I posted an update today on the EV website noting that the consultation has been extended and wondered if you would update people who have signed. If you can help more generally let us know. Will

  8. The Council’s deal to hand over the Town hall for a hotel development includes the Victoria Hall and the Princes Room. These rooms were paid for with public donations for public meetings and gatherings. A 1893 Charitable Trust document was careful to keep the Hall separate from the Council’s main activities and protect it as a place for the public to use and enjoy.

    This Trust complicates the Council’s plans as it stops them pocketing the proceeds of buildings Ealing people paid for. The Charity Commission has told the Council to consult on any changes to the trust before it would consider any them. The consultation ends on January 12th.

    SEC supporter Ealing Voice is contesting the Council’s proposed changes. Ealing Voice say that the Halls are worth some millions of pounds and take in several hundred thousand pounds a year in letting fees. This should be enough for them to pay their way and continue to be used by Ealing’s growing population.

    Ealing Voice argues that public assets – especially those paid for by public donations – should not be handed over to external developers as the Council wants to do. Ealing Voice is now calling on the Ealing public to support it by adding their objections.

    I most wholeheartedly add my objections to the Council’s proposals.
    This scheme by the Council should certainly not be allowed to happen.

  9. Ealing has an ever-growing population and there are very few large spaces for public meetings and events. The Hall has been at the heart of Borough events since the charity began and no-one imagines that it will be preserved as such when it becomes a totally profit-making resource. The money that the council makes will be gone after a short time whilst Ealing continues to decline into a faceless concrete jungle.

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