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Crouch End Festival organisers attack developer over Hornsey Town Hall arts operator

PUBLISHED: 13:32 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:43 14 September 2017

Campaigners, including Crouch End Festival director Chris Currer, opposed to a developer's plan to redevelop the area around Hornsey Town Hall on the steps of the Grade II*-listed building. Picture: Iain Lanyon

Campaigners, including Crouch End Festival director Chris Currer, opposed to a developer's plan to redevelop the area around Hornsey Town Hall on the steps of the Grade II*-listed building. Picture: Iain Lanyon

Archant

Pressure is mounting on the developer behind £29m proposals to restore Hornsey Town Hall to reveal plans for the iconic landmark’s arts centre.

Members of the public attended a meeting Tuesday night in the Supper Room at Hornsey Town Hall to discuss plans to redevelop the iconic building. Picture: Iain LanyonMembers of the public attended a meeting Tuesday night in the Supper Room at Hornsey Town Hall to discuss plans to redevelop the iconic building. Picture: Iain Lanyon

Far East Consortium’s (FEC) plans for the Grade II*-listed building – made public in July after a series of public consultations – have already drawn criticism from residents alarmed at proposals to build 146 flats on its grounds.

But the organisers of the Crouch End Festival – who stage events at the former Hornsey Borough Council headquarters – this week broke their silence to confront the firm for not publishing details of the new arts centre.

In a letter sent to resident groups the festival’s directors accuse FEC of failing to take the arts centre project seriously.

With next year’s festival dates announced, the directors state: “Our patience is being rapidly overrun by the time available to plan next year’s festivities.

“FEC (our putative new landlords) are entirely silent,” the letter goes on to add.

According to the organisers questions over the cost of using the venue, its grounds, festival security and parking for traders remain unanswered.

Festival co-director Chris Currer said: “FEC has told us absolutely nothing. They have assured everyone the announcement on the arts centre operator is imminent. But it’s been ‘imminent’ since July. All this uncertainty leads us to the inevitable conclusion FEC are not taking this seriously.” .

Asked about the impact on next summer’s festival, Mr Currer said: “Artists need to make a living and we can’t promise them they will have an opportunity to do so because we’re stranded on an island of uncertainty. It’s just a waiting game now.”

An FEC spokeswoman said: “The arts centre is a top priority for FEC as it is for the community. As such, FEC takes the appointment of the arts operator very seriously which is why they felt it was important to take the time to get this right. The appointment of a top class specialist arts operator will be announced week commencing September 18.

“After that, there will be plenty of opportunity for the community to get involved in making suggestions for the programme of events ensuring the Town Hall is vibrant during the day and in the evening,” she added.

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