Search

David Winskill: Put people before profit in Hornsey Town Hall development

PUBLISHED: 09:17 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:17 07 December 2017

Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society member David Winskill has called on council decision makers to put people before profit when deciding on a developer's plans for the iconic venue. Picture: ARCHANT

Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society member David Winskill has called on council decision makers to put people before profit when deciding on a developer's plans for the iconic venue. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

David Winskill, chairman of the Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum, shares his views ahead of Monday’s decision on developer Far East Consortium’s planning application to restore Grade II*-listed building Hornsey Town Hall.

A decision over the future of Hornsey Town Hall is due to be made on Monday, December 11 at a planning sub-committee meeting at Haringey Council headquarters in Wood Green. Picture: ARCHANTA decision over the future of Hornsey Town Hall is due to be made on Monday, December 11 at a planning sub-committee meeting at Haringey Council headquarters in Wood Green. Picture: ARCHANT

Last year’s winning bidder in the Great Hornsey Town Hall Disposal, (Hong Kong based, Cayman Islands registered) Far Eastern Consortium promised compliance with the 2010 planning permission and to deliver the modest aspirations in the desperately unambitious disposal brief.

Cllr Strickland heralded it as a triumph and asked officers to draw up a development agreement based on the winning bid.

FEC soon had other (very ambitious) ideas and submitted a new planning application: 40 per cent higher, twenty extra flats and zero affordable housing ... with a tidy profit of £23m. Local Councillors were outraged (but shouldn’t have been surprised) and vowed to fight for a better scheme.

On Monday a special planning Sub-committee will decide whether their hard won 11 small, affordable flats (6pc of the usable residential floor area in a £140m development) will tick the box to allow a development that will tower over residents’ gardens and ruin the silhouette of a Grade II*-listed building in the middle of a conservation area while commercialising the rest of the building with only token nods to arts, education and community.

It will also generate £27m in profit and gift a hotel worth £20m to FEC.

Planning’s recommendation to Committee is impressively creative as it tries to justify approval.

Five years ago an application for an extra floor on a building 100 yards away from HTH was refused because “its size, scale and prominent location, would be out of keeping with the design and character ... and would have adverse effect on the appearance and the visual amenity of the conservation area as a whole”. So, scraping around for a precedent to justify a pair of seven storey blocks, only meters from Reg Uren’s Deco masterpiece, the report cites Avenue Heights – nearly half a mile away from HTH and on the edge of the conservation area.

Inconsistencies and omissions marble the report. No justification for a change of use to hotel is offered; little evidence of a sustainable business model to support an arts centre is considered necessary; the loss 
of 80 small businesses is glossed over and outrageous claims 
about 400 new full time jobs are made.

The episode has helped destroy the political careers of the Crouch End Councillors: fervent Koberites they cheered on the HDV as well as project FEC. The newly minted May election candidates say that they will do all they can to stop the scheme and, elsewhere, a Judicial Review is discussed.

Catherine West has been resolute in her opposition and demands the equivalent of 40pc social housing: hopefully she will reassert this on Monday.

Planning should not be a tick box exercise to see if an application can squeeze through odd shaped holes to merit permission. Exercised properly it can be creative, responsible and deliver solutions to competing claims on our scarce built environment that provide good, sustainable community assets that meet community aspirations.

Next Monday planning councillors have the opportunity (and the reasons) to reassert community ambitions above naked profit and to send this application packing.

Related articles

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Fri, 17:52

Community groups are celebrating after the owners of the “landmark” Alliance pub in West Hampstead had planning permission for extensive remodelling and redevelopment refused.

Fri, 14:09

Twenty-five people, including eleven in Camden, have been charged with drugs offences after two-days of dawn raids in Camden, Islington, Brent and Lambeth.

Fri, 13:32

Sardonic, sarcastic and funny are three of the words that have been used to describe the late-SOAS lecturer and King’s Cross local Prof Lawrence Saez, who died at the beginning of September.

Fri, 12:49

Jamie Brown of Archant Local Impact explains how you can build brand awareness.

Thu, 19:01

This year’s Remembrance Day will see a remarkable multi-faith ceremony bring together the Highgate community to remember the horrors of the First World War on the centenary of its conclusion.

Thu, 16:43

Christmas came early for activists in West Hampstead last night after Camden Council refused to grant christmas tree sellers Pines and Needles a licence to trade from Fortune Green.

Thu, 15:00

“Zero-hours” critical care nurses at the Royal Free Trust are facing a pay cut that could set them back thousands of pounds a year, the Ham&High can reveal.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now