Haringey strikes 11 affordable homes deal for Hornsey Town Hall
PUBLISHED: 15:05 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:05 23 November 2017
Haringey Council has clinched a deal forcing the developer behind plans for a multi-million pound restoration of Hornsey Town Hall to pay for 11 affordable homes at the site.
Far East Consortium (FEC) agreed to pay for the homes – to be owned and rented out either by the council or a housing association – as part of work at the Crouch End landmark.
In October the council gave a ‘cast iron’ guarantee it would argue for 11 affordable homes at the Broadway site.
Haringey Council’s housing chief cllr Alan Strickland said: “We’ve been pressing the developers hard to cover the costs of affordable housing and I’m absolutely delighted they’ve listened.
“The redevelopment proposals show how the Town Hall could once again be the beating heart of Crouch End.
“To have affordable homes sit alongside this is a tremendous bonus. I’m delighted FEC’s commitment to covering the costs means we will have more money to invest in further much-needed affordable housing at other locations in the west of the borough,” he added.
As part of FEC’s original application submitted in August a report from property company ULL said plans for the Town Hall made financial sense but recommended affordable homes should be left out – sparking outrage among residents who had called for them during a public consultation in July.
The council said its agreement will also allow it to invest money gained from the Grade II*-listed building’s sale in at least another 15 additional affordable homes at other locations in the west of Haringey – estimating the total number of homes to be more than 25.
FEC’s pledge comes after weeks of what the council termed “strong” negotiations.
Liz Sich – chair of Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust set up to preserve the site – said: “The announcement FEC will pay for social housing provision at Hornsey Town Hall is welcome.
“The considerable cost of full restoration and sensitive refurbishment of the Town Hall will be met by FEC and also needs to be taken into account when assessing the finances of the whole project,” she added.
But Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society member David Winskill attacked the deal saying 11 homes were welcome but not enough to meet demand.
“Eleven socially rented homes in a borough with 3,000 plus families in temporary accommodation is welcome but represents a tiny amount that could have been provided in this development if Haringey had insisted from the start of this shambles of a sale that it wanted 50 per cent (less the cost of restoration) affordable and social housing,” he said.
“Our MP Catherine West has insisted on this and it’s a disgrace that our local councillors have been cheerleading this scheme from the start but only seem to have woken up a few weeks ago to the prospect of a development with no affordable housing.
“This leaves many hundreds of people wondering whether the increase in the height of the residential development to seven storeys is the price levied by the developer for this smaller amount of affordable housing and whether we’ve heard the last of any other potential requests for an increase in size,” he added.
However, Crouch End cllr Natan Doron welcomed the homes along with fellow ward councillors Jason Arthur and Sarah Elliott.
“Affordable housing has always been a priority for Jason, Sarah and I. That’s why we’re proud that Haringey Labour has delivered 72 per cent affordable housing on major developments in the last few years,” cllr Doron said.
“We’ve pushed the developer to pay for affordable housing as part of the Hornsey Town Hall development and this news is very welcome especially when you consider the developer is also investing in excess of £30m to restore the building as well as providing an arts centre,” he added.
The council confirmed it has also agreed a “review mechanism” with FEC meaning the development’s success will be checked before the end of the work and any additional payment gained at that stage would be used to deliver extra off-site affordable housing.
FEC’s proposals come before the council’s planning committee on December 11 and include £30million worth of investment in restoring the 1930s Art Deco landmark.
Hornsey Town Hall was used as council headquarters before falling into disrepair after a rejigged local authority moved to Wood Green in the 1960s.
It is currently on a list of buildings deemed to be at risk of neglect, inappropriate development or decay by Historic England, the government agency charged with looking after sites across the country.