Hornsey Town Hall and Civic Square under the Stewardship of FEC

A letter to the Assistant Director of Planning , Haringey

The chair of the Neighbourhood Forum has written to Assistant Director of Planning at the London Borough of Haringey  about the plans revealed so far for Hornsey Town Hall. This is not a verbatim reproduction of the letter, but highlights the major points to be addressed.

Lack of Detail

Members of the Forum Executive Committee recently met representatives of FEC and their architects. We had a useful exchange of views and we now have a better idea of their proposed hotel operation, even though their recently launched web site does not yet illustrate the scheme, and no drawings, details or plans are in the public domain.

We look forward to learning more about the specifics of community access and arts uses.

Change of Use – a minor amendment?

Without the detailed planning submission we cannot comment on the scheme, though the substantial change of land use to a hotel is a radical one and is very different to the notionally enacted planning permission. The CE Neighbourhood Forum feels that the suggestion that this change can be properly or adequately dealt with through an application for minor material amendments is open to challenge.

We also note that the local community will expect a full public consultation commensurate with the importance of the site to the centre of Crouch End.

As an application under section 73 would result in a new permission, our position is that it can and should be measured against the (soon-to-be) adopted policies of the new Local Plan. Furthermore, the original permissions, dated 2010 and 2013, rely upon assumptions and supporting reports and evidence that are now at least seven years old, all of which require update and review. This would include any viability report that assesses costs and theresulting obligation for affordable housing. A replacement s106 should be agreed.

Listed Building Consent and the Square

We also note that the revised restoration will need a completely new listed building consent, as the works to create a hotel and the resulting spaces will be very different from those currently permitted.

The Forum shares the common desire to see the building fully restored and well used. It does not propose to have unreasonable requirements, but looks forward to exercising its role as a critical friend. In particular, the Forum has reservations about the approved proposals for the Town Square in front of the former Town Hall. We would be very pleased to be involved in any discussions over how this could be revised.

To this end, the Forum produced last year a ”Primer” on how to develop a brief on any project about changing the space. We have shared this with the developer and Make, the architects.

We look forward, as a statutorily set up body, to be involved in the consultation process but also ask that you ensure that we are involved in any discussions at the earliest possible time.

Future Communications

Where possible, please keep us fully informed about your discussions with all parties about the planning strategy for the building, the square and the car park.

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