Hornsey Town Hall Update

We’ve reached a major milestone in the procurement process to secure a viable future for Hornsey Town Hall. As your local councillors we have worked hard to ensure the process provides the best opportunity to secure a future that’s financially sustainable; maintains meaningful community use of the building; and protects and enhances the Town Hall square for future generations.hth

At least £10million is needed just to restore Hornsey Town Hall and make it safe for use. To make it fit for purpose and realise the ambitions we have for protecting and enhancing the buildling would cost significantly more. We need to secure this investment and find a use for the building that can bring meaningful community access and generate revenue. At a time of massive cuts to our funding, Haringey simply cannot afford to do this alone. We currently spend around £350,000 a year just for the running costs of the Town Hall. It has been fantastic to see the Town Hall thrown open as the HTH Arts Centre but with the scale of the refurbishment needed it’s clear that this is not a long term solution.

As a condition of the scale of the procurement project, this is a detailed, complex, confidential and long process governed by European procurement rules but as local councillors we have worked hard to ensure the needs of the community are central to the judging criteria.

Haringey has now named a consortium led by Far East Consortium International Ltd (FEC) with its subsidiary Dorsett Hospitality and CoPlan Estates Ltd, as the preferred bidder to invest in the town hall and square. During the procurement process, FEC and CoPlan made clear commitments to:

  • Provide space for an arts centre to be retained within the town hall. The arts centre will work alongside a new boutique hotel, restaurant and cafe
  • Protect the Town Hall Square and abide by legal agreements to keep it a fully public space for the community to congregate in the heart of Crouch End

We are keen to support the community to remain involved in the development and operation of the hall and square. FEC and CoPlan know this and as your local ward councilors we will do everything we can in the coming weeks to secure commitments from FEC and CoPlan to regularly engage with the local community on the development and operation of both the Town Hall and the square.

hth2In addition to this, the council will invest £1million into Hornsey Library in order to further support arts and culture within the borough. This investment coupled with the refurbishment of the Town Hall will create a campus feel to the site where creativity can flourish, highlighting the very best of what Crouch End has to offer.

In October, the council’s Cabinet (the executive team of councillors of which Jason is a member) will to meet to decide whether to agree to officer’s recommendations to select the FEC-led consortium as the preferred bidder. If this happens,the council will enter into detailed negotiations with the consortium in order to finalise the terms of the lease.

It’s worth highlighting the role of the Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust (a group made up of local residents, of which Natan and Sarah are members) in all of this. The Trust undertook public consultation last year to feed into the future use of the Town Hall. You can read about it here. The Creative Trust were involved in scoring the bidders during the procurement process, pushing them to provide the best possible offer of community access.hth3

We’re clear that any future use of the Town Hall must genuinely benefit the local community, must respect and preserve its outstanding architectural value and must be sustainable – so that we can be confident of a lasting future for this much-loved landmark.

From years of neglect to two years of action and a thriving Town Hall since we were elected, we’re proud of the progress that has been made and optimistic for the future of the most loved building in Crouch End.

You can read Haringey’s press release on Hornsey Town Hall here: http://www.haringey.gov.uk/news/bright-future-hornsey-town-hall 

As your local councillors we’re available to discuss this project at any time. You can get in touch with us using the details provided here.

We will do our best to provide you with as much information as the procurement process allows and hope to have more updates for you soon.

Jason, Natan and Sarah.

***UPDATE*** a new update with further information and a response to community concerns: https://crouchendlabour.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/hth-update-a-response-to-community-concerns/

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why is it important for Hornsey Town Hall to be brought back into long term use?

A. Hornsey Town Hall is a really important landmark for Crouch End and Haringey, with a rich arts and culture heritage. We want to see the Grade II* listed building restored and made accessible to the public and Crouch End community on a permanent basis. Hornsey Town Hall was built in 1935 and is notable as one of the earliest modernist, continental-inspired Town Halls built in inter-war England. Much of the original decorative scheme survives, but it is fragile. The building is on English Heritage’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register, making restoration even more important.

How can you be sure that there will be community access/use if the site is sold off?

A. Securing public access to, and community use of, parts of the building is central to the council’s vision for Hornsey Town Hall and community access and was a minimum requirement for bidders.  We have been liaising with Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust (HTHCT) the independent buildings preservation trust comprised of local residents, who have been working to ensure the community can access the town hall. The Trust has worked with us to ensure community use is included in the final scheme and have been involved in developing the community requirements, preparing the community use questions in the tender and assessing the bidder responses to these questions. We will ensure on-going community access to the building is secured through legal agreements.

How will the developer protect this listed building?

A. The Grade II* listed status of Hornsey Town Hall means that any future development will have to obtain a Listed Building Consent and so it would have to comply with strict rules designed to protect its architectural heritage, and those involved with any chosen scheme will be required to work closely with Historic England to ensure compliance.

Why can’t the Town Hall be left as it is now, with ANA running the Arts Centre there?

A. The Town Hall requires substantial restoration and refurbishment to allow it to be fully re-opened safely and securely and it’s not possible for us to meet the costs of this work without a contribution from an external party.  ANA Arts Project Ltd has done a fantastic job of bringing parts of the building back into use, however both ANA and us recognise the limitations of the building given the current state it is in.  Small scale refurbishment fails to address the long-term restoration that is needed to preserve the building for a sustainable future. In addition to the required capital investment, there are significant annual operating and maintenance costs for the building which is still heavily subsidised by Haringey. Simply leaving Hornsey Town Hall as it is will fail to deliver the necessary refurbishment works or fund the running costs of this ageing building?

What is the developer going to do to the building and site?

A. The developer is planning a mixed-use scheme combining community spaces, a boutique hotel, cafe/restaurants and residential development.

Which parts of the building will be community use?

A. The details of the community based activities in the town hall are still being developed, however it is the intention that these will mostly be concentrated in, but not limited to, the more historically significant parts of the building, including the assembly hall, committee room and council chamber.

Is the hotel going to take up the whole building?

A. No, absolutely not.  The hotel is mostly concentrated in the less historically significant parts of the building, a lot of which already has planning consent for residential use (granted in 2010).

Will the new scheme need a new planning consent?

A. The new scheme intends to use the existing planning consent, however it will require some amendments for any parts of the listed buildings which now have a different use e.g. the hotel. The preferred bidder needs to develop its designs and work with our planning department to agree a planning strategy.  There is not an active Listed Building Consent for the scheme and the preferred bidder will need to obtain this.

How is public use of the Town Hall square and green being secured?

A. The town hall square is an integral part of the scheme as it is the gateway to the town hall building and therefore has been included in the site boundary for the lease to ensure improvement works are undertaken in line with the restoration and increased activity inside the building.

The square will remain accessible to the public at all times and the developer and operator of the building is signing up to this in its lease with us.  The developer recognises that community use of both the outdoor and indoor spaces is integral to the success of the town hall.

We set strict rules for every bid to keep the square publicly accessible at all times and this will be written into legal agreements with the successful bidder.

What is going to happen to the current occupiers of the building?

A. ANA worked with the preferred bidder during the tender stage and looked at ways of the current uses continuing until works begin – they are also reviewing longer term opportunities.

All of those hiring space from ANA are on short term hire agreements, and we will work with occupiers and advise on whether there are other local Council owned premises they can operate from.

Is there any affordable housing included in the residential scheme?

A. Affordable housing is important to us and we recognise the importance of building more of this type of housing in the borough. However Hornsey Town Hall has been recognised as a challenging project because the responsibility of carrying out the necessary extensive works to improve a dilapidated Grade II* listed building and finding a financially sustainable long term operation for the building has significant cost implications.  This is a unique project in which the restoration of the art deco listed building, and our guarantee of community access have been prioritised.

The preferred bidder intends to use the existing planning consent for the site which includes four residential units.  Any increase in the amount of affordable housing within the scheme will impact on the viability of the project.

The preferred bidder includes a company from Hong Kong, does this prohibit the lease from being enforceable?

A. No, we will not enter into a lease which is not enforceable.

What are the next steps and when will the public see the plans?

A. The preferred bidder is being recommended to our Cabinet on 18th October 2016.  Once a decision has been made the preferred bidder can have further discussions with ANA and develop the details of the community activities to take place in the building.

Following exchange of the lease (expected to be by early 2017) the winning bidder will develop its designs and obtain necessary consents to implement the scheme.  They will engage with the community throughout their time on the project and share plans and information on uses when these are available.

Work on site could start as early as autumn 2017, which should enable the restored building to open by 2020.

_______________________________________________

Jason, Natan and Sarah are your hardworking local Labour Cllrs.

Since we were elected in 2014 we’ve seen:

  1. Hornsey Town Hall open again with progress made towards finding a sustainable future for the building
  2. £8million invested in Park Road leisure centre including the protection of the much-loved diving board
  3. Over £14,000 invested in community groups in Crouch End to provide services for the disabled, protection of green spaces and to support art and culture including the Crouch End Festival
  4. Over £1million for roads and pavements with 56 roads designated as 20mph and almost 150 new street lights
  5. Waiting times for Homes for Haringey repairs reduced from 23 to 12 days in Crouch End

Find out more by clicking here.

This record was a major reason why former leader of the Haringey Lib Dems Sarah Elliott has joined the Labour Party. This means we now have three Labour Cllrs in Crouch End. You can read Sarah’s statement about joining Labour here.

 

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One thought on “Hornsey Town Hall Update

  1. Pingback: HTH Update: A response to community concerns | Crouch End Labour

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