As Crouch End Ward Cllrs we have made our position on the FEC planning application for Hornsey Town Hall very clear: our support is contingent on our concerns being addressed to our satisfaction. We set this position out in an article for the Ham & High last week.
One of our main concerns was a detailed plan for the arts centre. It is encouraging that since our open letter in August we have now had an announcement on the arts operator. We now want to hear more on the plan for the arts centre.
Today marks a significant and positive development. FEC have written to us with details of a comprehensive programme of repair that addresses the need to restore Hornsey Town Hall. FEC state that the cost of the restoration and refurbishment work will come to over £30 million. This restoration is critical to the success of this project.
Some progress has clearly been made since our open letter but there is more to do. Most significantly on affordable housing. We think it would be completely unacceptable for the development not to have any affordable housing and will not support the application unless this is addressed. We also want further assurance on the sensitivity of the development and its impact on Crouch End.
FEC have time before the planning committee meeting which will decide the application to assure us and more importantly, the community that this planning application fulfils the vision of a restored and thriving Hornsey Town Hall.
The letter we received from FEC today is printed below. The detailed cost plans can be seen by clicking here.
Letter from FEC dated 17 October 2017
Dear Cllr Arthur, Cllr Doron and Cllr Elliott,
Re: Planning application for the restoration of Hornsey Town Hall
Further to my letter dated 8 September, I am writing with more detail on the restoration costs for Hornsey Town Hall as well as with an update on the recently appointed arts operator.
We have today published on our project website the headline figures for the restoration and refurbishment of the Grade II* Listed Hornsey Town Hall and Grade II Listed Broadway Annex which makes clear our commitment to this iconic building in the heart of Crouch End.
You will see that the cost for the full restoration of the Town Hall including fit out costs is estimated at £31,540,000. The total cost for the full restoration of the Town Hall and Broadway Annex (including fit out costs) is estimated at over £36 million. I hope that setting out the costs in this way provides assurance to the local community that we’re fully committed to the sensitive restoration of the Town Hall, alongside improving internal layouts, creating better access and generating more usable spaces with a better public offer.
We have broken down the cost into three categories – ‘essential works’, ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘fit out’. These costs are based on preliminary surveys and our current understanding of the scope of work that is required.
On the arts operator, we’re delighted to have appointed a Haringey-based organisation, The Time + Space Co, to realise our vision for a modern day arts centre in Crouch End. Piers Read, the Managing Partner who will lead the operation has years of experience in the creative industries and brings a proven track record of unlocking the potential in buildings like the Town Hall. He’ll work with partners including Jon Gilchrist, former Executive Director of the Bush Theatre in London, who brings a wealth of theatre experience and Musion, the world leading 3D holographic producer who will base their HQ at the Town Hall.
Piers very much shares our vision to connect all communities within Crouch End and the wider borough, to activate the Town Hall at the heart of the community and welcome the public to enjoy the new spaces. He is also in the process of exploring building partnerships with local arts organisations, including ArtHouse Crouch End, who can help supplement our vision to deliver a successful and sustainable arts centre. We will be publicising a “meet the arts operator” event where the community can find out more about the operational uses planned for the future and ask any questions they may have in the coming weeks.
We continue to work tirelessly on this project and believe our proposals are deliverable with a workable, high-quality hotel offer whilst at the same time creating flexible spaces in the Town Hall for the arts operator to adapt to demand.
Finally, we continue working closely with the council through the formal planning application process, including viability discussions, and understand the high importance you place on the inclusion of affordable housing as part of the scheme. By means of an update, we have already agreed a number of points with the council’s independent advisors. The level of affordable housing will be determined following the conclusion of our negotiations, which at present we expect could conclude by early November. We will of course update you further at this point.
John Connolly (Head of UK Development, FEC)
cc Lyn Garner, Strategic Director Regeneration, Planning and Development, Haringey Council
Emma Williamson, Assistant Director of Planning, Haringey Council