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Hornsey Town Hall to become a hotel

PUBLISHED: 16:56 05 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:16 10 October 2016

Haringey have chosen a preferred bidder for the historic hall.

Haringey have chosen a preferred bidder for the historic hall.

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

The controversy surrounding the sale of Hornsey Town Hall has intensified after the council recommended a bid to convert the building into a hotel.

A consultation earlier this year found that just 0.37 per cent of more than 300 locals wanted to see the iconic site used in this way.

‘Hotel’ ranked ninth out of nine development ideas suggested by the Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust poll.

On Friday Haringey announced that a consortium led by Far East Consortium International Ltd (FEC) will be recommended to cabinet to acquire the 125-year lease on the grade II* listed building. It will develop the hotel along with other facilities including community spaces.

Chris Currer, co-founder of Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society (HTHAS), thought that a rival bid from firm Tishman Speyer would have better served locals. Tishman Spyer’s consortium involved Bioregional – an award-winning social enterprise.

Mr Currer said: “I certainly think that if you look at the Creative Trust consultation then the Tishman bid ticked a lot more of those boxes.

“We are quite disappointed from a community perspective because it seems that the start-ups, small businesses and young creative businesses will be effectively evicted.”

Haringey maintains that the successful bidder will be legally obliged to meet strict requirements ensuring community access to the building and guaranteeing public access to the town hall square at all times.

Cllr Alan Strickland, cabinet member for planning, said: “We have worked…to assess community aspects of the bids from developers to get the best deal for local residents.”

But an HTHAS statement described details of any such commitments as “disappointingly thin” and hoped that cabinet papers released on October 18 would provide “considerably more information”.

“There’s nothing cast iron in the proposals,” said Mr Currer.

The choice of FEC, a Hong Kong firm registered in the Cayman Islands, has also raised eyebrows in a week when London Mayor Sadiq Khan launched an inquiry into foreign property ownership.

Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, has been pushing for a not-for-profit organisation to take on the site.

She will be in the Hornsey Town Hall café on Thursday October 13 at 4pm to speak to residents wishing to voice their concern.

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