Hornsey Exchange opening first step in bringing town hall 'back to life'

Hornsey Town Hall Square and Green

A computer-generated image of what the Hornsey Town Hall Square and green may look like - Credit: MF3D

The Hornsey Exchange, located on Hornsey Town Hall Square in Crouch End, opened on January 19 as a new community hub. 

It will be occupied by The TIME + SPACE Co, who will be providing information on how to get involved in the forthcoming Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre.

Far East Consortium (FEC) will also be there to answer questions related to living in the development. 

The opening is being pitched as the first step towards the eventual unveiling of the Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre, which is planned for the latter part of this year. 

The restoration of the arts centre and grade II-listed town hall is part of a deal with the developer FEC, after it was granted planning permission in 2017 to build 146 homes and a hotel within the site.  

Campaigners at the time raised concerns about arts activities and small businesses occupying the town hall becoming priced out if it was taken into private ownership. FEC however said that the development would bring Hornsey Town Hall “back to its former glory”.

There were also issues last year when the wrong paving slabs were laid at Hornsey Town Hall Square, though FEC has confirmed work will begin later this month on removing them.

Piers Read, a Crouch End resident and managing partner of The TIME + SPACE Co. which operates the arts centre, said: “Our vision has always been that the town hall will be a place to create, becoming a major destination for arts, culture and entertainment in the UK.  

“The opening of Hornsey Exchange is a major milestone in the project and a first step in bringing the venue back to life.

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"Building upon an illustrious past, the community can now reserve any of the spaces, so many steeped in history, to play your part in an exciting new era for the building.” 

Mark Afford, chairman of the Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum, said: "The opening of the Exchange is an important first step for Hornsey Town Hall.

"The project as a whole may be delayed a bit, but they only get one shot at a grand opening and better late than never.

"Indeed, given that we've been waiting 30 years for a future for this building and have seen many proposals in that time, and just as many campaigns, a few months won't hurt."