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Crouch End councillors: Assure us on Hornsey Town Hall affordable homes

PUBLISHED: 17:09 12 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:09 12 October 2017

Crouch End councillors Jason Arthur, Sarah Elliott and Natan Doron share their views of the development of Hornsey Town Hall. Picture:  JUDAH PASSOW

Crouch End councillors Jason Arthur, Sarah Elliott and Natan Doron share their views of the development of Hornsey Town Hall. Picture: JUDAH PASSOW

Archant

After years of uncertainty and decay, there is finally an opportunity to guarantee the restoration of Hornsey Town Hall with a proposal to install an arts centre plus new restaurants and cafes for the public to enjoy this amazing building.

But more work needs to be done by the developer (FEC) to address community concerns.

Let’s set some context first. When we were elected to represent the people of Crouch End in May 2014 the future of Hornsey Town Hall was uncertain.

In May 2014 all we knew was that we had a decaying building on the English Heritage at-risk register and no partner or viable plan for restoring the building and guaranteeing community access.

There had been efforts in the past to find solutions: Mountview Theatre School were potential anchor tenants but they couldn’t make the economics of the deal stack up. It proved too expensive and difficult to pay for and oversee the restoration of the Town Hall.

There had been various attempts to set up a community-driven solution in the past. None of these came close to being viable.

Crouch End needed solutions that had a chance of working in the real world, not just acting on ideas that sounded nice in a public meeting.

We didn’t want to spend four years overseeing uncertainty and decay. That meant finding a partner with both the expertise and the balance-sheet capable of restoring the building and bringing it back into meaningful community use.

When officers approached us with ANA’s proposal to organise an interim use for the Town Hall, we encouraged them to go ahead because we thought it would showcase the potential of the building.

This has proved correct and ANA deserve praise for their brilliant work.

We now have a planning application from FEC to restore Hornsey Town Hall.

The application has the potential to represent a pivotal milestone on the road to restoring the Town Hall and provide the people of Haringey and beyond an opportunity to enjoy the building.

We do, however, have concerns about this application and made these clear to FEC in an open letter we sent them in August.

Since then it is encouraging that we have had an announcement on the arts operator and we urge FEC to provide further assurance through the publication of detailed restoration costs for Hornsey Town Hall.

We would still like to see FEC funding affordable housing as part of the scheme.

We also want further assurance on the sensitivity of the development and its impact on Crouch End.

Our support for the application is contingent on these concerns being addressed to our satisfaction.

Some progress has been made since our open letter but there is more to do.

FEC have time before the planning committee meeting which will decide the application to assure us and more importantly, the community that this planning application fulfils the vision of a restored and thriving Hornsey Town Hall.

* Crouch End’s Labour councillors Jason Arthur, Natan Doron and Sarah Elliott have written this column together.

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2 comments

  • Gavin, Hornsey Town Hall: that Planning Application I agree with your criticisms of the Planning Application, but do note that the article is not the Ham and High's article. It is titled "opinion" and the (opinion) column was written by the Crouch End Councillors "together". It appears to be a response to the Chair of the Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum (David Winskiill), who the previous week, in his Opinion Piece, had challenged the three New Labour Councillors, where do you stand? And the answer it seems, is that the trio continue to sit on the fence. How long that can be sustained is another matter. Just as with their continuing support for the HDV, the hapless trio have been in too deep, for too long in order to back down now. CDC

    Report this comment

    Clive Carter

    Sunday, October 15, 2017

  • Dear Ham and High, Selling Crouch End By The Yuan ------------------------------------------- I read with interest your article ‘Crouch End councillors: Assure us on Hornsey Town Hall affordable homes’ (published 12th October 2017). One more cynical that I would perhaps be lead to think that it was a piece of well placed propaganda. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seemed that it was devoid of any investigative journalism: it didn’t question the plans, it didn’t canvass local opinion, it just regurgitated what the councillors want you to print. The article was devoid of any meaningful numbers or research! • Did you mention the seven storey buildings that are part of the planning application? SEVEN storeys – a carbuncle that will cast the rest of Crouch End in its shadow? • Did you do any research into how a seven storey building might fit into the local area? • Did you ask why the council allowed such plans when they refused a proposal from Waterstones the book store to add a single extra storey on their building – for not being “in character with the area?” • Did you mention the planned 146 flats that are being proposed and their effect on the character and infrastructure of the area? • Ditto a 67 room hotel? • Did you mention that the building is being sold to a private a Chinese conglomerate with no ties to the area? • Did you find out whether the the proposed buyer had produced the drawings that they are required to do so people can judge it’s effect? (If it turned out that the proposed buyers hadn’t – wouldn’t you want to investigate and report on the “why nots and hows”?) • Did you mention the asking price and how much instant profit the purchasers will make? • The figures I have heard bandied about are: £22,000,000 profit on a £3.5 million purchase – perhaps you could verify or correct these? • Did you ask anyone without a vested interest in the plan what their views where on it? If you were to canvass local opinion I would suggest that you would come across a diametrically opposing opinion to the one you trotted out from the council? You piece mentions “affordable homes” as if that just by mentioning the subject it is done and dusted. • How many homes? • What will their sale price be? • Will they be the same construction, have the same access, be of the same standard as all the other proposed flats? • What is meant my “affordable”? How much will a person have to earn to be able to afford such a place? You report that there are “no other viable proposals” – that’s a strong statement to make when you have no facts to support it! Well, I’ve listed a few questions you might like to investigate and try and answer. Maybe that way you can redeem yourself after your shoddy piece of puppet journalism!

    Report this comment

    _Gavin

    Friday, October 13, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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