Timescales for redeveloping the Perceval House site have also changed.
The town hall was expected to close to the public this spring and reopen in May 2020. The change means that it will now close at the end of this year, reopening at the end of 2020. This gives people looking to hire rooms and halls for their weddings, parties and groups extra time to consider using the town hall. Groups that regularly hire the rooms have already been contacted about the changes.
Ealing Council approved Mastcraft as the preferred development partner for the town hall in July 2016. Mastcraft’s plans include an extensive refurbishment of the historic, but underused, building, and preserving the Victoria Hall and council chamber. The east wing of the building will be retained by the council for civic use and marriage ceremonies, with the centre of the building and part of the west wing transformed into a high-quality hotel.
Integral to the development is the creation of rooms for public hire, a community-use discount for local groups during off-peak periods that mirrors current arrangements, the preservation of Victoria Hall and its continued use for public and community events at affordable rates. In addition, the council will have free use of the Victoria Hall 10 times a year.
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “Ealing Town Hall is loved by local people. That is why we are working with Mastcraft to preserve it as the civic heart of the borough for future generations. However, it is crucial that we get the plans right and we are willing to absorb delays to make sure that the final proposals work for the council, Mastcraft and the local area.”
At the same time, it has been announced that the council’s plans to completely redevelop the Perceval House site, creating smaller and more efficient council offices as well as hundreds of new homes, many of them affordable, on the site of the existing office block, have been pushed back by eight months.
The delay in starting work is due to rigorous scrutiny of the proposals to secure the affordable housing element and to ensure that the council is receiving best value from the site. The council’s preferred development partner for the scheme, Galliford Try, is now expected to start public consultation on its plans in early summer.
Councillor Bell continued: “As the council becomes smaller and more efficient, it makes less sense to carry on occupying a large office block that is expensive to run and maintain. Our plans to redevelop Perceval House will help us on our journey to become a lean and modern organisation, and the deal with Galliford Try means that we are doing this at no cost to council tax payers.
“However, once again it’s crucial that we get this right and the affordable housing aspect of the development is something that we are determined to deliver. We are making excellent progress in our discussions with Galliford Try and I am looking forward to seeing their proposals put in front of the public later in the year.”
More information on how to hire space in Ealing Town Hall is available at www.ealingvenues.co.uk.