Ealing Town Hall Could Become a Hotel

Cost cutting proposals could see changes also for Library



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Ealing's grade two listed Town Hall could be turned into a hotel, and Central Library could move to Perceval House under radical new proposals to save money.

Other options being looked into by Ealing Council include possibly demolishing the existing council offices and finding smaller more efficient premises.

The Town Hall in Ealing

Ealing's Cabinet (Oct 21st) agreed to look into the major redevelopment of Ealing Town Hall which could become home to a hotel, restaurant and small number of flats.

The council says it will seek proposals from developers.

Council Leader Julian Bell said: “The Town Hall is a beautiful building but is expensive to maintain; in dire need of refurbishment and we’re not making the most of such a prime location. Including a commercial element such as a hotel and possibly housing could be the ideal solution. Equally, as the council’s needs for office space changes and the expense of running an ageing Perceval House increases we cannot ignore the site’s potential. This exercise is about looking at ideas from experts in the market on how we get the best for Ealing.”

Large parts of the grade two listed Town Hall are run-down and require costly repair. Running costs are also high and because there is no sound-proofing between the large Victoria and Princes Halls the council cannot hire the two rooms at the same time.

The cabinet also agreed that officers should commission studies on how the council’s offices at Perceval House and its car park could be redeveloped.

Ideas include demolishing the existing building which is expensive to run and repair and will become too big as the number of staff employed by the council reduces in the coming years. Smaller, more efficient council offices could be built on part of the Uxbridge Road site; at another location or the council could move to an existing office building to enable the development of much needed housing.

All developments would be subject to planning approval.

The option of temporarily moving Ealing Central Library from its current out of the way location home on the first and second floors of Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre to a more prominent site is being explored with a longer term option to move into a redeveloped Perceval House site. This would significantly reduce the library’s running cost as the council would not need to pay rent.

Leader of Ealing Council, Julian Bell said: “The council is facing significant changes to its services over the next few years as we respond to unprecedented cuts to its budget. At the same time, Ealing town centre is at the heart of west London’s exciting regeneration thanks to developments such as Crossrail, Dickens Yard and improvements to our two shopping centres. It’s therefore common sense to look at how we can make the most of our buildings in prime, town centre locations, ensuring they are cost-efficient, offer the best service and value to our residents and play a key part in supporting Ealing’s regeneration.

Cllr Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for finance, performance and welfare said: “We are at the start of the process to see how we can make the most of this landmark building. Although the town hall is much loved, it is in dire need of modernisation and improvement. Local groups will continue to be able to use the enhanced community facilities and the best elements of the building and its civic functions will be conserved.”

All cabinet decisions are subject to call-in for a period of five working days from the date of publication of the minutes of the meeting.

The Conservatives have criticised the plans. Cllr Tony Young, Conservative Deputy Leader said:

“ Labour commissioned a study on the Town Hall almost 2 years ago, but is now revealing their plans after the election. This speaks volume as to their intentions.

"When you consider all the plans together starting with the relocation of Ealing Central Library, to privatising the Town Hall and potentially bulldozing Perceval House to make way for flats, you get the idea that their intentions is to turn it into a concrete jungle. Unfortunately, despite the potential over densification, the flats will be priced out of the reach of the average Ealing resident.

''Whilst we are very supportative of the plans to redevelop the Broadway Shopping Centre, it’s disappointing that the benefits of retaining the Central Library are not being considered. Good shopping centres will attract shoppers, just like good libraries attract a range of users. Having the two together is therefore a guaranteed way to increase footfall.”

Any redevelopment of Perceval House and car park would be subject to planning approval and further cabinet approval. It is unlikely construction would start before 2017.

If approved, work on Ealing Town Hall would be unlikely to start until at least spring 2016

October 24, 2014

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