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Hornsey Town Hall’s new arts operator announced

PUBLISHED: 17:51 21 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:59 22 September 2017

Haringey Council has struck a deal with developer Far East Consortium which sees the firm pay for 11 affordable homes as part of plans for Hornsey Town Hall. Picture: Purcell

Haringey Council has struck a deal with developer Far East Consortium which sees the firm pay for 11 affordable homes as part of plans for Hornsey Town Hall. Picture: Purcell

Archant

The developer behind plans to restore Hornsey Town Hall has announced the firm tasked with running its arts venue.

How part of the proposals for the Hornsey Town Hall development look. Picture: Far East ConsortiumHow part of the proposals for the Hornsey Town Hall development look. Picture: Far East Consortium

The Time+Space company will take over the running of what developer Far East Consortium (FEC) describe as “a creative hub” and “future proofed” arts centre.

The company’s boss, Piers Read, said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed. There is lots of scope to work with the community to ensure the arts centre becomes a special place for everyone to enjoy in many ways.”

He added the firm wants to partner with arts groups including ArtHouse Crouch End and aims to unveil its vision at a public meeting to be held this autumn.

Former Bush Theatre executive director Jon Gilchrist has been tipped as a partner, with Musion, a firm producing holograms, set to base their headquarters at the Grade II*-listed building.

An artist's impression of the Town Hall Square from the developer's plans. Picture: Far East ConsortiumAn artist's impression of the Town Hall Square from the developer's plans. Picture: Far East Consortium

Welcoming the announcement, John Connolly, FEC’s head of UK development said: “Piers lives locally, has years of experience in the creative industries and brings a proven track record of unlocking the potential in buildings like the Town Hall.

“He shares our vision to connect all communities within Crouch End and the wider borough, to activate the Town Hall as the heart of the community and welcome the public to enjoy the new spaces.”

Mr Read founded Wimbledon Film and TV Studios in 2010 and was managing director of the Custard Factory.

Commenting, David Winskill, chair of Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum said: “Whilst most people are looking forward to meeting the new operators to find out more and, hopefully, to share ideas, a lot of people will be intensely disappointed with the way the announcement was made. To make no mention of the fantastic work done over almost three years by current arts centre operator ANA, who have opened up Town Hall spaces neglected by Haringey Council, they have reminded us of the importance of this building, what it should be used for and its wonderful potential.”

However, Liz Sich, chair of Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust (HTHCT), welcomed the announcement, saying: “The greatly-anticipated appointment of Time + Space as well as Jon Gilchrist and Musion is very welcome as is the intention to work closely with local arts providers such as The ArtHouse Crouch End.

“We’ve always believed Hornsey Town Hall has the potential to become a truly vibrant and exciting centre for the arts and the community and are pleased to see the appointment of an experienced operator.

“We are looking forward to hearing about the potential programme and the way the community and local culture organisations can play its part. The operator will be observing the community use agreement which the HTHCT lobbied hard to have included in the eventual lease,” Ms Sich added.

Hornsey Town Hall was the home of Hornsey Borough Council until 1966, when many functions were moved to Wood Green following the creation of Haringey Council. The Town Hall continued to be used as council offices before falling into disrepair.

Subject to planning consent the development will launch in 2018 and is expected to complete in 2020.

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