Labour rebellion over offshore sale of beloved Hornsey Town Hall
PUBLISHED: 14:08 03 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:02 03 November 2016
© Nigel Sutton email firstname.lastname@example.org
The battle for the “heart of Crouch End” continues, as Labour councillors rebel against the decision to sell Hornsey Town Hall to an offshore company
Labour-run Haringey Council’s cabinet recently voted to develop Hornsey Town Hall into a hotel.
In a drastic move, which has reportedly not happened for more than a decade, 12 Labour councillors – almost a quarter of the party – asked the council to think again.
Hong Kong developer Far East Consortium International Limited will transform the Grade 2* listed building into a boutique hotel, with an arts centre and café.
But the Labour councillors are concerned about the “negligible” affordable housing planned and believe the deal undervalues the publicly-owned asset.
In the “call-in” for a new decision, the councillors ask why there is only four affordable housing units planned for the site.
They query why there are no costings in the public report about the value of the land, which includes Hornsey Town Hall, the green square at the front, the town hall annex and the car park.
Haringey Council announced the deal will involve a £27m investment from the Far East Consortium, helping to restore the building.
The call-in, written by Cllr Joe Ejiofor, says: “The cabinet decision regarding the sale of Hornsey Town Hall contained no safeguards whatsoever to ensure the properties that were built would be marketed to the people of Haringey, before being available for purchase by anonymous overseas investors.”
Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, hopes that the council will take this opportunity to reconsider its decision and call for more affordable housing.
A petition started by the Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society asking the council to go back to the drawing board has more than 6,400 signatures. The Liberal Democrat opposition has also called on Haringey to reconsider.
Haringey Council’s watchdog scrutiny committee will decide whether to refer the decision back at a public meeting on Tuesday.
Cllr Alan Strickland, backing the development, previously said: “This solution for Hornsey Town Hall guarantees public access to the building for future generations, following a £27million complete refurbishment...
“The new Hornsey Town Hall will have a new arts centre, improved square and a new café to give residents a new community space in the heart of Crouch End.”