Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum chair David Winskill: Corbyn speech all about Haringey

Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum chair David Winskill has called on ward councillors to come clean on

Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum chair David Winskill has called on ward councillors to come clean on whether they oppose or are in favour of plans for Hornsey Town Hall. - Credit: Archant

As the two and a half minute standing ovation for Jeremy Corbyn’s Brighton speech subsided, delegates were left with much to celebrate and more to ponder.

It would have been interesting to have eavesdropped on the conversation of the Haringey delegation as they munched cheese toasties on the train back to Victoria.

They might have felt, as thousands of Haringey residents did, that Corbyn’s attack on gentrification, regeneration and social cleansing were directed at them and the controversial Haringey Development Vehicle scheme brewed up by Labour leader Claire Kober’s cabinet while bobbing-about-sur-le- briny of the Cote d’Azur with Australian developer Lendlease.

Cllr Strickland immediately distanced himself from Jez’s revolutionary idea of balloting residents. No need. As Jez wrote in the Guardian, Haringey is simply “...trying to deliver the homes and jobs that residents tell us they want.“

Well, not all residents: the crowd funded application for a judicial review of the HDV will be heard in the High Court on October 25.

Following recent Haringey Labour elections to the general management committee, regime change is in the air but there is a danger of an unpleasant legacy.

Reasonably, campaigners have asked Haringey not to sign contracts until the review is heard. Request denied.

Most Read is keeping a close eye on Crouch End as the disposal of Hornsey Town Hall and the planning process rumble on.

To FEC’s credit, they have engaged with residents’ groups to reassure them that a top notch arts and community centre will be delivered. The appointment of an arts operator (modestly called Time and Space) is encouraging but, despite a three year OJEU process, there is still no published vision, no budget and no detail.

Also, working with ANA, they have extended tenure for HTH’s 83 small businesses into the medium term as well as guaranteeing next year’s Crouch End Festival.

Following talks with Haringey Planners, minor changes have been made to the housing. But, with 500 plus objections on the planning website, there is still overwhelming opposition to virtually all aspects of the scheme – height, overshadowing, design, conservation, no social housing, impact on businesses, transport and community services.

FEC’s willingness to talk contrasts with Haringey’s curmudgeonly rationing of information. The veil was lifted last week when the council admitted that, inexplicably, they had not undertaken a valuation exercise before going to market.

Further mystery surrounds how the winning bid appeared to comply with the 2010 planning permission, became the basis for the binding Development Agreement but ended up as a planning permission which compelled our Ward Councillors to write a stiff note to FEC.

In it they questioned FEC’s commitment to the restoration, asked for assurances about the arts centre and demanded affordable housing for Crouch End.

They concluded by saying “Our support ... is contingent on the issues that we have raised being adequately addressed “.

With May elections looming, will councillors join their Ward branch officers in objecting, or perhaps follow the Creative Trust’s almost lone voice and cheer-lead the application?

So, Jason, Natan and Sarah – where do you stand?