Hornsey Town Hall development public meeting July 10th

Haringey Council and developers Far East Consortium are holding a Development Management Forum (what are Development Management Forums? Click here) to present plans for Hornsey Town Hall on Monday 10th July (venue: Earl Haig pub).


Development Management Forum 

Date: 10th July
Time: 7pm
Venue: Earl Haig Hall , 18 Elder Ave, London N8

Site: Hornsey Town Hall, The Broadway, London N8 9JJ
Proposal: Demolition of the Weston Clinic building. Change of use of the Hornsey Town Hall to an apart-hotel, food and beverage uses and community and co-working uses. The erection of a 7 storey building and a part 5/part 6/part 7 storey building comprising 114 residential units. Change of use of the ground floor of Broadway Annex to food and beverage use and change of use of the first and second floors to residential use comprising 14 units. The erection of a residential mews block to the rear of the Broadway Annex. Landscaping improvements to the public square and open spaces.


People will note the the short description of the project closely matches the existing plans as presented at the two engagement events a few weeks ago. Further details can be found at the developer’s website. The Forum have blogged on a number of occasions about the project, including a proposal to feature the type of creative workspaces the area sorely lacks.

The Development Management Forum is an official part of the planning consultation process and presents an opportunity for Crouch Enders to interrogate and improve the scheme, albeit an opportunity without the full supporting information attached to an actual planning submission.

However, we hope that the material available to the public goes further than outline plans, and that some supporting documents are made available before the meeting takes place. Information that could usefully include, –

  • a digest of key planning issues and identification of pivotal Development Management policies
  • an outline of likely planning obligations; viability assessments and provision for affordable housing
  • details on community venue uses and design (and even the proposed operator and the structure of governance)
  • a statement by Heritage England on the restoration and the planned re-purposing of the building to hotel and venue
  • a statement on environmental sustainability
  • impact assessments; transport plans; construction details; etc..
  •  – and how about some worked-up renders of the completed scheme?

Questions?

If you wish to query the impact of the refurbishment on the listed building or the height, massing and siting of the large residential blocks, this is an opportunity to do so. Other questions posed to CENF have included, –

  • What’s the design for the public square, and how does it relate to use (by the Festival for instance) and continued public access? How will it be managed?
  • Will a restored, refurbished Town Hall be phased to complete before the sale or occupation of the residential units?
  • Why are the office spaces of the annexes all to become residential when there’s such great demand for workspaces?
  • How will the development respect and enhance the local town centre and economy?
  • What planning obligations will be identified in a section 106?
  • How many affordable units will be secured?
  • Will the proposed design for the residential blocks be appropriate in a residential conservation area alongside a listed building? Will it go to a Quality Review Panel?
  • For what uses, performance, art, theatre, events, etc. will the public halls be designed? Will appropriate acoustic protection be in place?
  • What retail businesses are planned?
  • What is the council’s development policy on apart-hotels?
  • What safeguards are there to market the residential units in the UK?

We also note that the public halls are identified as ‘community use‘ in the Development Management Forum synopsis copied above rather than the ‘arts centre‘ previously announced (though the designs suggest ‘venue‘ rather than either designation). This confusion must be resolved, as a clear vision for the future use of the spaces is essential, both to establish a brief for an operator, and to determine the form of the auditoria.

Also, what mitigation will the Community Infrastructure Levy supply? The council’s policy of raising millions from housing developments in the west of the borough and spending the proceeds on infrastructure projects in the east is surely not sustainable permanently. The impact of the HTH development on social and material infrastructure (such as schools or transport) in Crouch End deserves to be taken seriously.

Lastly, what is the proposed timetable for the planning submission and for an appropriate level of scrutiny? We would expect that the findings of the Development Management Forum will be afforded the time and space to influence the subsequent application.


If you cannot make the meeting feel free to pass on comments and questions through CENF, either by emailing [email protected], or by way of comments under this post.


Transparency, accountability and a willing Neighbourhood Forum

Hornsey Town Hall is a public building, a grade II* listed building, which is due to receive £millions of public money for its restoration by way of rebate on the land value. Accountability is necessary. As all stakeholders are in accord that the objective is to secure a long term sustainable use for the building, a clear exposition of the sustainability and feasibility of the planned future uses of the building is warranted. The business case for hotel and community venue, subject to commercial confidentiality, should be made public.

The haste in which the scheme is progressing through planning gives rise to a suspicion across the community that the consultations are little more than a tick-box exercise. However, we welcome the opportunity presented by the Development Management Forum, and hope that it presages a more transparent process now the procurement period has closed and the planning and development period has begun. Haringey must maintain the independence of the local planning authority, and ensure that the voice of the community is represented in any future development discussions. Happily the developers seem willing to engage.

With a statutory role in planning and established links across the community, the Neighbourhood Forum stand ready to positively engage with all stakeholders.