With the grand projet of Hornsey Town Hall now just months away, and the planning application due in July, the Far East Consortium have revealed their latest plans – and asked for feedback.
The local community are no doubt mulling over the strengths and weaknesses of the proposals, but the CENF economy group, mindful of Haringey Council’s suggestion that the development serve as a place-making initiative, saw an opportunity to fire off a proposal sooner rather than later – and try to put a bit more ‘Crouch End’ back into the plans, something that aids the local economy rather than just settle for another residential dorm.
HORNSEY TOWN HALL YARD
A proposal for the development of Hornsey Town Hall’s Broadway Annexe East and Mews Yard – and a vision of Crouch End local workspaces for small businesses, start-ups, artisan and creative industries
This proposal is intended as an option, it has emerged from discussions with various stakeholders, not least the Far East Consortium, local organisations affiliated to CENF, and through ongoing consultation with the local community (right back to the Crouch End for People project of 2003-4). The disposal and development of Hornsey Town Hall has been identified by the community as the foremost opportunity to strengthen the local economy.
The current HTH project has many strengths, not least the community arts provision, the restoration of the heritage spaces, and the siting of an anchor use (a hotel). However we feel the provision for co-working, without a flexible range of spaces for creatives, designers and small producer workshops, is still missing a trick.
HTH YARD, in association with Arts Centre and hotel, is a development of plural cultural production and consumption, working with a community of hyper-local producers, creatives, retailers, designer-makers, tech, media and professional services. An opportunity to enhance and complement FEC’s Hornsey Town Hall project and maintain Crouch End’s cultural capital.
Crouch End cultural cluster: HTH YARD – HTH Arts Centre – HTH hotel – Hornsey Library
OBJECTIVES AND OUTCOMES
(1). Providing a sustainable mix of enterprise workspace and small business opportunities, building on the strengths of
current provision, and meeting local demand.
(2). Delivering a community focussed, accessible project that enhances the local economy, and provides employment.
(3). Strengthening the overall FEC HTH project through, –
- generating sufficient surplus to help maintain HTH
- improving the diversity of retail and business uses, creating added value
- increasing footfall and activity
- creating a locally distinctive concept across the development
(4). Leaving the key FEC project elements of hotel, arts centre, and ‘car-park’ development uncompromised.
(5). Providing a development of at least equal value to the current project (or previous models).
A stand-alone project to house a mixed economy of workspaces, part reconfiguration, part new-build –
- Convert Broadway East Annexe into part retail, part open-plan co-working space perhaps with an extra storey.
- To create a Mews development of retail/workshop/studios, office spaces, and possible live/work units or shop+accommodation units.
- To link both elements to the public square.
- To provide space for 60 or so local businesses.
The vision directly draws upon previous projects, such as that offered by the Crouch End for People. Other forms of development are possible. PRS could be incorporated into the mix, or a different section of the Hornsey Town Hall site could be employed.
FEC’s Hornsey Town Hall Project is a high-density urban apartment development with integrated cultural and retail components.
The YARD complements this project, diversifying retail and cultural production, and enhances it through collective association. It creates opportunities and a broadening of customer base for the hotel-arts centre complex, and directly contributes to seasonal and occasional events on the square, producing an authentic Crouch End/North London experience.
The YARD presents a recognisable environment for an open, mixed workspace development:
ex-local authority buildings, a back-alley location, a liminal space at the boundary of the retail centre
This is a stand-alone proposal able to be sub-leased to an operator. The co-working project would attract interest from established players. There may also be advantages in linking it to other elements of the FEC project:
- The Arts Centre/public halls, YARD project and public square may benefit from unified day-to-day operation and management, bringing savings, creative direction and leadership.
- The Arts Centre may require cross subsidy to be viable and the YARD project could provide an ongoing revenue stream (rather than the hotel having to do so). It may ensure a self-sustainable future for the Arts Centre.
- The YARD project may benefit from not-for-profit ownership/governance. Similar small business centre developments have attracted regeneration funds and community business launch funding. There are also clear financial reasons for FEC to pursue a NFP model.
- Ultimately the elements of Arts Centre, YARD project and public square, could be brought under the umbrella of a trust/CIC if it could be demonstrated that this provided further advantages.
Mark Afford, Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum Economy & Town Centre Group, May 2017
The planning submission is expected in July, and the Forum will be fully engaged with the process. See also our previous HTH posts under category:Hornsey Town Hall.