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Hornsey Town Hall: 'I cannot intervene to stop sale' says London Mayor Sadiq Khan

PUBLISHED: 17:01 14 December 2016 | UPDATED: 17:01 14 December 2016

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he is unable to intervene to stop the sale of Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End at Mayor's Question Time today

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he is unable to intervene to stop the sale of Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End at Mayor's Question Time today

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The Mayor of London has admitted that he is "unable to intervene" in the sale of Hornsey Town Hall.

Sadiq Khan was asked at Mayor’s Question Time this morning to hold a review into the sale of the historic town hall before a meeting of Haringey councillors on January 18, which is expected to finalise the sale of the building to Far East Consortium International Ltd.

The buyers are looking to convert its east and west wings into a boutique hotel and the rear into a luxury block of flats, only four per cent of which will be affordable.

Should this happen the Hornsey Arts Centre, a collection of small creative businesses currently based in the town hall, will be displaced.

But the Mayor of London maintained he is unable to prevent Hornsey Town Hall from changing hands.

“It is not possible for me to intervene in the sale of Hornsey Town Hall,” he said at Mayor’s Question Time.

“My planning powers are strictly defined by the Mayor of London Order 2008 and I am unable to intervene in matters that do not meet these criteria, which are the sole responsibility of the local council, in this instance Haringey.

“As well as using my planning policy to support new affordable housing, I’m also exploring options available through the full review of the London Plan to see how I can more effectively protect the provision of small businesses including those in the creative and cultural industries,” he continued.

The question was raised by UKIP London Assembly Member David Kurten.

He and UKIP’s deputy leader Peter Whittle threw their weight behind the campaign after being contacted by the Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society.

Reacting to what the mayor had to say, Mr Kurten told the Ham&High: “I do understand that when he says that he’s got to obey the law and he doesn’t have the hard power to do something, but I did ask him if he could use his soft power or his influence – he’s in the same political party as the councillors who run Haringey Council.

“I asked him if he would write to them and speak to them to see if he could do anything. You could see that he seemed to want to do something about it, but wouldn’t make a commitment to do anything.”

David Winskill, of the Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society, however, expressed his disappointment with the mayor.

“We feel that the newly-elected mayor was clearly elected on a raft of policies which included increasing the provision for space for small businesses, increasing the amount of social housing available in new developments, promoting the creative industries in London and concern about the influence of overseas developers in the housing market,” he said.

“What’s proposed by the FEC drives a coach and horses through all of these aspirations.

“Nearly 7,000 people have signed a petition asking Haringey to revise their decision and the Appreciation Society – and our MP Catherine West – would like Haringey to reopen discussions with local housing associations to work with a developer.”

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