Hornsey Town Hall – the final consultation?

FEC, new owners of Hornsey Town Hall, have launched a public consultation on the restoration of the TH and the transformation into hotel / arts and community centre with a new website – www.restoringhornseytownhall.com

We’d like to know your views too.

This is the start of a community engagement due to last until the summer, and FEC (the Far East Consortium) plan an information ‘hub’ in the Town Hall building, drop-in sessions, and a public exhibition (the scheme is expected to go for planning submission in the late summer). A Community Advisory Group will also be convened to input into the development.

The developers seem principally interested in public feedback into the plans for the public square and the public halls, so whether further concessions can be wrought, particularly in favour of a mix that includes sorely needed space for small businesses, is an open question. If you have views on any aspect, be it the square, the housing, construction, transport, or the local economy, let us know – or indeed, FEC. We imagine a restoration that finally removes the building from Historic England’s At Risk Register will meet with general approval.

The project team, including FEC, the PR team, and the architects, also took the time to meet with the Neighbourhood Forum last week, and the following information was shared,–

  • FEC will be granted a 130 year lease from Haringey in January 2018, when planning consent is achieved. Vacant possession of the building is expected sometime before.
  • The construction works are expected to commence spring 2018, the Town Hall will therefore be closed for the next 2 years, and a grand opening is planned for spring 2020.
  • The project team is a high profile one and includes development partner Co Plan Estates, Make ArchitectsDonald Insall, and the PR Newington Communications, among others.
  • The planning strategy is to employ the existing consent from a few years ago, and submit a new application using ‘section 73’ for minor amendments. They have a pre-application meeting with Haringey in April. Whether ‘minor amendments’ adequately covers the proposals is down to the Planning Authority, though we believe that a full period of public consultation should be afforded the community – this is a key part of Crouch End’s town centre. A new Listed Building Consent is required.

Further clues to the plans were also given,–

  • The 4 star 60 room hotel will be run by FEC subsidiary Dorsett Hotels, under their ‘d.Collection’ brand of boutique hotels. The guestrooms will occupy the east wing and link block – the old office quarters of the building – with additional ancillary spaces. The hotel lobby, at the revolving door entrance, will mark the limit of hotel branding.
  • The public halls, comprising most of the areas of heritage significance, will become a community/arts space. This will be governed by a Community Use Agreement (available on the FEC website) and a Steering Group. A vision of the resulting institution, its design, format, or programming does not seem fully formed however, and the operator of the space has yet to be announced, though is promised before final detailed designs.
  • The use of the other heritage spaces in the west wing has not been confirmed.
  • There will be a variety of retail food and beverage sites. Exact locations are unconfirmed but may include the ground floor of the annex, the ground floor of the west wing (both on the square), a roof terrace, another restaurant in the courtyard at the back, and a variety of bars and coffee bars in the building. The operators of the retail units have yet to be announced.
  • Designs for the Town Hall Square are in hand, but open to consultation. They are likely to include space for a variety of markets and events geared to increasing activity. With a number of cafes and restaurants planned around the square the space may feel quite different, though some form of green and ongoing public access is confirmed.
  • The likely mix of units in the residential development remains unchanged from earlier planning consents, and contains a minimum of 4 affordable units. There are no current plans to market homes offplan to overseas markets.

As further details are confirmed the Forum will develop a response reflecting the policies of the Haringey Local Plan, the work done for the Neighbourhood Plan, and of course the views of Crouch End. Already we have held a number of street stalls and meetings to determine public opinion. Do feel free to comment.

It made the trades as well.

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