Great court victory for Southall Town Hall CampaignThu 19 Apr 2018
In September 2017 Ealing Council agreed to lease the Town Hall for an unprecedented 250 years to a private religious group. Many residents believe the entire process followed by the Council to sell the building was unfair, did not involve public consultation and has not considered the likely negative impact of sale on local communities.
The Southall Town Hall Campaign has been waiting for a long time to have a hearing about their case and on Wednesday many of them attended the Royal Courts of Justice in London for a permission hearing.
It was supposed to last one hour and its purpose was to decide whether the case, that Ealing Council did not properly consult about the sale nor did they carry out an equalities impact assessment, had sufficient merit to progress to a full hearing.
The judge, Kate Markus QC, decided that there needed to be a full judicial review hearing to determine whether Ealing Council had acted lawfully or not.
"This is a massive vindication for all Southall residents and groups who have questioned the decision to sell the Town Hall and the process followed by the Council."
"We are trying really hard to preserve Southall Town Hall as Southall’s main civic building, open for all and a source of support for our multicultural community."
"This is a massive issue for Southall because we have lost so many assets, buildings and services over the years that the potential sale of Southall Town Hall is really the last straw. We must stop the sale of the Town Hall and ensure that it remains a community asset for future generations."
"Southall Town Hall is the last remaining public building in the town and is linked closely with the history and development of Southall and it's communities. We all passionately care about preserving Southall Town Hall as a public building, open to all residents and have opposed plans to sell the building."
The Save Southall Town Hall Campaign has been established by residents, community groups and businesses. The Campaign already has many supporters and this support is growing fast, including:
The Monitoring Group, Southall Community Alliance, Migrant Advice and Advocacy Service, Southall Self Defence Club, Lancaster Estate Residents Association, Southall Transition, Horn of Africa Disability Elderly Association, Lalis Direct Care Ltd, Samafal Community Association etc
Letter from Ealing Southall MP
On 29 June 2017 MP Virendra Sharma wrote to Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, saying "I am writing to you again regarding Southall Town Hall and in pursuance to my letters dated 20th November 2015 and 18th April 2016. For over two years now I have been urging the council and local community groups to come to a mutually agreeable solution for the future of Southall Town Hall. Unfortunately we do not seem to have reached one, and I understand Ealing Council is unilaterally selling Southall Town Hall out from underneath community groups working in the local area."
"I am highly concerned by these allegations, and I want to urge Ealing Council in the strongest of terms to halt the sale of Southall Town Hall. I understand the exact wording is agreeing a lease of 250 years, but that amounts to a sale. I would also urge Ealing Council to agree a scheme with local groups which allow them to continue to provide services from the Southall Town Hall site. This was an issue raised regularly during the most recent General Election, and I know that many residents feel strongly about protecting this local landmark as a community facility."
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