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Hornsey Town Hall redevelopment plans spark concerns

PUBLISHED: 15:34 24 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:46 24 May 2017

Plans for the restoration and redevelopment of Hornsey Town Hall have been made public with fears for the future of artists' studio space among the concerns.

Plans for the restoration and redevelopment of Hornsey Town Hall have been made public with fears for the future of artists' studio space among the concerns.

Archant

A developer’s plans for Grade II listed Hornsey Town Hall have sparked concerns.

A model of the Hornsey Town Hall development formed part of FEC's consultation. Picture: JON KING A model of the Hornsey Town Hall development formed part of FEC's consultation. Picture: JON KING

Far East Consortium (FEC) outlined their plans to restore the landmark and build an “apart-hotel” of 67 serviced apartments, 128 flats and four mews houses during a two day public consultation at The Broadway site.

Speaking at Saturday’s consultation, Ronan O’Neill from Crouch End commented: “The fact a large amount of this amazing building is being returned to public use is critical. It would be an awful tragedy if that was lost.

“They’ve found the right compromise in funding public space with private use, but it’s a shame there isn’t more social housing.”

But jeweller and member of artists’ group Muswell Hill Creatives Michele Wyckoff Smith – who could be forced to leave her studio as a result of the plans – questioned plans to replace artists’ workspaces with a “co-working” space.

Members of the public view plans for Hornsey Town Hall during Saturday's consultation. Picture: JON KING Members of the public view plans for Hornsey Town Hall during Saturday's consultation. Picture: JON KING

“Those aren’t workspaces for people who make things,” Michele said. “I would be really surprised if they were real studios.”

Commenting on the possible loss, she added: “I can’t go back to my kitchen table. Another studio is not that easily available. This could destroy my business.”

Chair of the Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum Dave Winskill said: “It’s great that FEC have started the engagement process, but they seem to have limited the invitations to Crouch End. The Town Hall was for all of Hornsey.

“Some of the elements in what we saw are good. I’m sure the restoration will be a success. The main problem is understanding the vision for the arts centre and community use. The extra building in the car park will cause a lot of controversy,” he added.

Responding to the concerns, an FEC spokeswoman said the company is still working on the proposals and once finalised a council led viability study will be undertaken to agree the level of affordable housing.

She added: “The focus is the restoration and these works will be funded through the apart-hotel and residential units.”

On the studio space she said the company will try to achieve “as much space as possible” adding that the change from boutique hotel to apart-hotel – run by FEC’s operations company Dorsett Hospitality – would help “accommodate all aspects of the market”.

When asked during the consultation if the future of the town hall’s public square – the site of the Crouch End Festival – would be secure, an FEC spokesman said “totally”.

John Connolly, FEC’s head of UK development, commented: “It has been great to welcome over 530 people to our drop-in sessions.

“We look forward to working with the Crouch End community as the plans take shape ahead and are excited to be delivering a sustainable future for this much loved landmark.”

To leave feedback on the plans visit restoringhornseytownhall.com.

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