Hornsey Town Hall building hours extended until 9pm as construction company is criticised for ‘poor’ communication
PUBLISHED: 12:36 10 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:54 10 June 2020
The construction company redeveloping Hornsey Town Hall is under fire for “poor” communication and engagement after it extended its building hours until 9pm.
From June 1, Ardmore has worked on-site in Crouch End between 8am-9pm Monday to Saturday following revised government guidelines during the easing of lockdown designed to recover the economy hard-hit by Covid-19.
Haringey Council, which approved the extended hours, said the government has told it to take “swift” and “positive” decisions over construction requests and only “compelling” reasons could act as grounds for refusal.
Dr Paul Toyne, whose garden backs on to the major construction site, criticised Ardmore’s alleged lack of transparency with nearby residents in Weston Park and Haringey Park who he says experience daily problems with noise and dust, leaving them unable to open their windows.
He told the Ham&High: “We want Ardmore to be considerate and recognise that we know they’ve got a job to do but some of us are working from home in lockdown, some of us are shielding, and some kids are working online from home.”
Dr Toyne, a sustainability expert, has written twice to Ardmore asking for proof of planning controls without reply.
He continued: “It’s not just about getting construction work going, it’s also about keeping up the productivity of those working from home.
“I think we need some consideration and far better communication, which so far has been poor, over longer hours when it is going to be extremely noisy.”
In 2017, despite 600 community objections, Hornsey Town Hall, a Grade-11* listed building which opened in 1935, was sold for £3.5 million by Haringey Council to the Far East Consortium, which is based in Hong Kong.
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The development is now worth £30m for the 1.3 hectare site and it will build 135 one, two and three bedroom flats – currently marketed at £490,000-£960,000 – inside a new seven-story block.
11 further flats will be “affordable” according to government estimations, and a hotel and arts centre will also be built.
Cllr Tammy Palmer (Lib Dem, Crouch End) said there was “very little” engagement from Ardmore over a development which residents feel “has been taken away from them”.
She told this newspaper: “It’s such a sensitive development and to get people’s trust and confidence, and to get people on board and onside you need to talk to them and engage with them all the time.
“That hasn’t really felt like the case – residents haven’t been told [about the changes] and it’s always been quite one-sided.
“We’ve consistently told Ardmore: ‘If you want to be part of this community then make yourself a part of it.’”
Cllr Kirsten Hearn, Haringey Council’s planning chief, said: “Construction on the Horney Town Hall site can operate until 9pm as this enables site workers to stagger their hours so they can follow social distancing guidelines.
“This is subject to no works requiring pneumatic tools or piling taking place beyond 6pm, and that the developer keeps the local community informed via its steering group.
“Council officers are attending Hornsey Town Hall’s steering group meetings to monitor the situation.”
A spokesperson for Ardmore said: “We continue to work with local residents and local resident groups to ensure that we minimise disruption as much as possible, whilst maintaining the necessary health and safety measures on site.”
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