Calls for community voice to be heard in sale of Hornsey Town Hall

The fight for community ownership of Hornsey Town Hall continues, even though the council officially invited bids from developers last week.

A petition to “save Hornsey Town Hall,” launched by the Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society, has now reached more than 2,200 signatures, triggering a full council debate.

Miriam Levin and Chris Currer from the Appreciation Society pleaded with the council to take community involvement and access seriously at a meeting last Monday.

Now that the bidding process has started, Ms Levin explained that the original aims of the Appreciation Society has changed.

“We are in a different position to when the petition was launched over the summer,” Ms Levin said. “But what the petition represents is the high level of community interest in the future of Hornsey Town Hall.”

The Appreciation Society is no longer asking the council to transfer the building into community ownership but they do want to be consulted about public access to the famous art deco building.

The campaigners want Haringey to encourage developers to get in touch with them, in order to find out how best to fulfil community access requirements.

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“In terms of criteria for bidders, community access is right at the top,” said Cllr Jason Arthur, responding to Ms Levin’s points. “It has the highest rating quality criteria.”

“The process has to be a process that we get right,” agreed Cllr Natan Doron. “It has to be one that delivers genuine positive benefits for the community and meaningful access for the public to that building.”

The development of the 1930s hall and the surrounding sites is estimated by the council to be worth between £100m to £150m.

The public listing advertises that 123 residential buildings can be erected at the back of the site and that the project includes the Town Hall, the Town Hall annex, the green square in front of the hall and the car park.

Bidders will need to demonstrate how they can meet the objectives of restoring the Town Hall, developing the surrounding site and allowing for community access.

The council estimates that the Town Hall needs a £10m investment to restore it.