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Southall Town Hall petition update

Wed 26 Jul 2017
Janapl Basran of the Southall Community Alliance presented a public petition asking Ealing Council not to sell Southall Town Hall at the full Council meeting on Tuesday 18 July 2017.

He pointed out that a local resident was prepared to carry the much talked about roof repair works on the building for FREE. He also asked for the previously submitted alternative plans to be properly looked. Southall Town, if properly run, can be self-financing.

Councillor Julian Bell responded on the Councils behalf. The sale will go ahead.

Theresa May went from “strong and stable” to “weak and feeble” in a matter of weeks.

The same is true of Ealing Council.
The real reason for selling Southall hall and other buildings is that Ealing Council is short of money.

They would blame it on the Tory Government cuts to services.
But others would blame mismanagement of Council finances.

If the real reason for selling Southall Town Hall is that Ealing Council is short of money then why did the council release statements that say it is ONLY due to Southall Town Hall not making a profit and will cost the council money to run. This is what everyone, including Labour councillors have been told.

You only do that if you are to “weak and feeble” and not “strong and stable”.

The Southall councillors were NEVER "strong and stable".
They have ALWAYS been “weak and feeble”.
Just go and ask the people on the streets of Southall.

Just look at the GetwestLondon article to see what Ealing council has been saying – TO DATE.

The REAL truth was revealed by the Council Leader Julian Bell in his response to the petition.

Featherstone High School pupils were at the full council meeting to learn about how the council works. “Did you learn anything” asks the Mayor.

Nothing according to the people in the gallery.
You are better off going to the zoo.
At least there you won’t be disappointed.

No wonder so many people are disillusioned with politics.
Political point scoring is ALL that matters to our elected officials.

A more detailed version of the petition request and response is below:

Janapl Basran of the Southall Community Alliance presented a public petition against the sale of Southall Town Hall and said:.

“The arguments about the sale of Southall Town Hall have been rehearsed quite regularly. Southall Town Hall is Southall’s last remaining public building and a landmark, an iconic building in the area.”

“I will stress three reasons why, we hope, the sale process should be stopped. The main justification for the sale was, it is a 120 year old building and has very high capital repair costs. A lot of money needs to be invested in the roof particularly.”

“I can confirm that we have been approached by a local business man who is prepared to do the whole of the roof repairs FREE OF CHARGE. This was one of the reasons the sale was initially suggested.”

“Secondly, Southall Town Hall in our estimation makes a lot of money. It is not a building that runs at a loss. The building income is £135K and it is more than sufficient to pay for the running costs and to pay for all repairs.”

“We have presented a number of times to officers, to councillors and to the estate agents details of our proposals to run the building within its existing means, as a community building, as a community asset. To date we have not had a detailed response to our proposals. I hope somebody can tell us whether we will receive such a response. We believe that will provide an immediate alternative to a sale.”

“Finally, I would ask the colleagues to consider the weight of public opinion. This petition is really asking everyone to reflect on what is left in Southall in terms of community and public space? Very, very little.”

“The building really deserves to be kept as a public building and we hope that our petition will allow us to maintain the dialogue with Ealing Council about this issue.”

The response from Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, was:

“I am aware of your concerns and your views. We have listened to them BUT I would respectfully say that we have a difference of opinion in that we think the ongoing viability of the Council running Southall Town Hall is not viable.”

“And given the ongoing austerity and cuts to our budgets that we are experiencing as a result of the Conservative government - £180million cuts we have had to take now.”

“Back in 2003, we decided that we could not justify running council services from that building any longer. We did try. It did not work.”

“The deadline is closed. We have had submissions and officers are in process of assessing those submissions. Then we will advise the cabinet.”

“At this point we are NOT going to stop that process.
We need to see the process through.
We were very particular to make sure that specifications for the use of the building included some community use.”

“Not only have taken this course at Southall Town hall, we have taken this course in this (the Old Ealing Town Hall) as well. And that is the cost of level of cuts to our budgets.”

Janapl Basran was allowed to ask a supplementary question.

“I hope we can still have a meeting subject to you taking advice about our alternative proposal? Southall has a 70K population and with the arrival of the gasworks another 20K people, we need civic amenities and space for all. That is what we got to preserve for the future.”

The response from Julian Bell was “Happy to meet but under the circumstance with a live tender in process, it would require me to have some advice from officers about when we might be able to meet with you because I don’t want to jeopardise that process in any way. We will talk with officers. I will let you know.”

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