CAMPAIGNERS hoping to turn the town hall into a creative arts hub say it will remain 'just a dream' after Ealing Council announced it would set up a dance studio.
Ealing Arts Centre Ltd has looked at the possibility of turning under-used parts of Ealing Town Hall into a theatre, dance and music studio, with workshop areas for communities.
But despite their efforts, which would help plug the £1.7million annual town hall deficit, the group was upset to learn the council has taken over the dance studio idea. It now fears community groups will be priced out of hiring rooms.
Ann Pavett, co-director of EAC, said: "This is economic nonsense, since the rationale for the arts centre costings was our ability to run the arts centre with a high number of volunteers, similar to the Questors Theatre.
"While a dance studio is welcomed by residents, if it's run by the town hall it won't produce any significant increase in income and the arts centre will remain just a dream."
The organisers of a proposed film club in Ealing were told a two-hour booking on a Sunday would cost £500 and an extra £100 would need to be paid for one security guard for every 40 people in the audience.
John Hummerston, co-director of EAC, said: "We did get a concession for Friday evenings, but on the back of a commercial booking. If that ceases, the film club would be liable for the full commercial rent and would have to close down or go elsewhere.
"Ealing Council seems unable to understand normal commercial economics of reducing prices to increase client numbers, and consequently income and profit."
A council spokesman said: "We're committed to improving arts facilities, but what Ealing Arts is suggesting doesn't stack up. The council is willing to invest in an arts project in Ealing, but the ongoing costs proposed by Ealing Arts are just not viable.
"Event bookings at the town hall allow us to cover our running costs, which is essential in the current economic climate. The group can't expect to take over half the building at a massively subsidised rent, take all profit from bookings and not contribute to maintenance costs."