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The Kinks frontman Sir Ray Davies slams plans for Hornsey Town Hall redevelopment

PUBLISHED: 10:42 29 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:34 02 October 2017

Sir Ray Davies has questioned a developer's plans to transform the site around Hornsey Town Hall. Picture: Sir Ray Davies

Sir Ray Davies has questioned a developer's plans to transform the site around Hornsey Town Hall. Picture: Sir Ray Davies

Archant

Sir Ray Davies, frontman of legendary 60s band The Kinks, has attacked plans to redevelop the venue which kickstarted his rise to fame.

A planning consultation into developer Far East Consortium's application has seen 400 objections from the public. Picture: ARCHANT A planning consultation into developer Far East Consortium's application has seen 400 objections from the public. Picture: ARCHANT

The lead vocalist of legendary 60s band The Kinks has filed a formal objection with Haringey Council over plans to redevelop Hornsey Town Hall.

In July, developer Far East Consortium (FEC) unveiled ideas to transform the Grade II*-listed venue, funding restoration work to the 1930s building through construction of 146 flats at the back of the site in Crouch End.

A planning consultation on the redevelopment – involving changes to the Town Hall Square, a hotel and ambition to turn the place into a leading arts venue – has resulted in about 400 objections.

In his letter to Haringey, Sir Ray, 73, seeks reassurances about plans to make sure the arts venue – where The Kinks played their first gig – continues to thrive and support the arts industry, which is currently threatened by funding cuts.

“Hornsey has been a creative hub for many artists, myself included. The Kinks had our very first performance at HTH and it paved the way to our success today,” Sir Ray wrote.

The Muswell Hill born songwriter – who penned hits such as Waterloo Sunset and Sunny Afternoon – goes on to express fears of gentrification before saying the “huge development”, with its seven storey apartment blocks, would dwarf the “much loved” Town Hall.

He went on to defend businesses based in the Town Hall since Haringey and current arts centre managers ANA opened up the venue, which fell into disrepair when the council relocated from its old headquarters to Wood Green in 1966.

Sir Ray asked: “Currently 130 people run thriving businesses from the Town Hall. Where will they go when replaced by a hotel and a few hot desks?”

In response cllr Alan Strickland said: “All responses to the application consultation will be considered in the usual way by our planning committee. We’ve been clear for many years our ambition is to see this landmark restored and secured for future generations to enjoy through a scheme respecting the building’s cultural heritage, offering community access to its important historical spaces and unlocking its long-term potential as a leading an arts venue,” he added.

Speaking to the Ham&High, The Kinks guitarist and Sir Ray’s brother, David Davies said: “We are both very concerned about what is going to happen.

“It would be wonderful to have affordable housing. Let’s hope whatever happens it’s done with good intentions and serves the community, its history and heritage,” he added.

John Connolly, head of UK development at FEC commented: “Alongside an experienced project team, including Make Architects and historic building consultants, Donald Insall Associates, we have worked tirelessly to present plans for the Town Hall and wider site which are sympathetic to the local setting taking inspiration from both the Grade II* Listed Town Hall and Grade II Listed Hornsey Library. We are also drawing on an existing planning consent for the site and an adopted site allocation for redevelopment based on that consent.

“We recently announced the appointment of a top-class arts operator, Time + Space Co, who will operate a creative hub at the Town Hall with space to host world class performances and events and for people to work, socialise and relax. Our restoration works planned for the Town Hall will create flexible spaces so they can be used by a range of people for different purposes across the day and into the evening,” he added.

The consultation closed on September 27.

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