Prospect of no affordable homes on Hornsey Town Hall site ‘totally unacceptable’

Developer FEC has submitted its application to restore Hornsey Town Hall but concerns have been rais

Developer FEC has submitted its application to restore Hornsey Town Hall but concerns have been raised over the absence of affordable housing in the plan. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK - Credit: Archant

None of the 146 new homes planned for the site of a listed building’s £29m restoration should be affordable, a report has recommended.

Members of the public view draft plans for Hornsey Town Hall during a previous consultation. Picture

Members of the public view draft plans for Hornsey Town Hall during a previous consultation. Picture: JON KING - Credit: Archant

In an application to transform Hornsey Town Hall – submitted by developer Far East Consortium (FEC) – property company ULL say plans for the building are financially viable but “cannot deliver on-site affordable housing”.

This comes after residents called for affordable housing to be included in the scheme during a public consultation in July.

An FEC spokeswoman said affordable housing remains subject to viability with a full assessment to be scrutinised by an independent assessor appointed by the council.

“FEC will continue to look at balancing the Town Hall’s needs with needs such as affordable housing,” she added.

However, Town Hall campaigner David Winskill said it was wrong the application had come when people are on holiday and so unable to comment on it.

“It is a massive, complex document and simply understanding what is proposed will be a challenge,” he said.

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“Our councillors should be calling for the consultation period to be extended into October.

“The Community will also demand clarity on the economic viability assessment – redacting so much of the financial information and then announcing that affordable housing is not an option is simply unacceptable. Hornsey Town Hall is a public asset and its disposal must be open to scrutiny and challenge,” he added.

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Alan Strickland said: “The planning committee will consider the application in line with our usual procedures, taking into account all public feedback. We know the special place Hornsey Town Hall holds in the hearts of residents. We share that passion for this iconic landmark.”

A council spokeswoman added: “Our priority has been to see Hornsey Town Hall refurbished and heritage features restored.”

Disagreement over the Town Hall’s future has also sparked a row between Labour and Lib Dem councillors.

Crouch End cllr Natan Doron said: “The vast majority of Crouch End residents are happy something is finally being done about Hornsey Town Hall.

“We have fought really hard to get a viable solution. After twelve years of Lib Dem Cllrs doing nothing in Crouch End, our focus has been on getting something positive done.

“We welcome the progress of FEC’s plans. We welcome the investment in the public space. We welcome the extra clarity on the community use and public space. But our support for the plans are contingent on being reassured on the arts centre, the sensitivity of the development in terms of its impacts on residents and the level of affordable housing,” he added.

In response, Lib Dem councillor Clive Carter said: “This is an appalling failure of Haringey Council to deliver social housing.

“Despite their aim of having 40 per cent affordable and social housing they have managed to achieve not even a single unit.

“A New Labour councillor’s claim that Lib-Dems had not done anything with the Town Hall is nonsensical. They were not of the party in power, unlike the current New Labour Crouch End councillors.

“It’s a transparently absurd claim, intended to rally their troops. It also deflects the responsibility of the temporary New Labour Crouch End councillors, one of whom is a cabinet member, in the bungled sale of our Town Hall and the mess we now have before us,” he added.