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Can you help me Petition the Council about Hornsey Town Hall?

I've written loads of explanation here (bit.ly/myhthinfo).

This is what I thought to ask people to sign:

Join us in campaigning to save Hornsey Town Hall  

After over ten years of broken promises, Hornsey Town Hall is still empty.  

Mountview have postponed their occupation (due last month) for another two years.

This is almost certainly because they cannot raise the money they promised to bring with them - we don't know, almost all the facts are held in secret between Mountview and the Council.  

If Mountview drop out or overstretch themselves and go bankrupt, the Council will claim they have no option other than to sell it off.

Meanwhile we're losing the £100,000/yr that Hornsey Town Hall (HTH for short) has earned in the recent past as the venue for series like BBC's 'The Hour' or ITV's 'Whitechapel'.

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We want

1) The Council to ask Mountview to become the 'anchor’ tenant occupying almost the entire rentable space.

2) To charge Mountview a reasonable rent because we want them back in Crouch End.

3) The upcoming £4m Lottery grant to be used to complete the repairs/refurb as planned by Mountview, saving the 1930’s lift and restoring/reproducing the original electrical fittings if possible.

4) The rental income eventually spent on subsidies so Crouch Enders can use our own Town Hall for our own purposes.

5) The large, rear car park (left lying empty for more than a decade) to be brought back into community use.

6) A new body to manage the campus on our behalf. The shadowy 'Creative Trust' formed to do that have been dormant for years - few here even realise they exist.

7) Full disclosure of ten year's worth of secret documents/emails etc the Council have not published concerning our Town Hall so that we can verify claims of no alternative.

8) Money raised from the sell-off of the Citizens Advice Bureau that was earmarked for HTH to be spent re-upholstering the Council Chamber seating so we can use it/rent it out.

9) Free/subsidised use offered to the Crouch End Festival Chorus, the Crouch End Festival, the Crouch End players and any local group that wants to use it.

10) Every penny spent on the Town Hall to be spent locally where possible. Things like jobs, materials, food etc to be drawn from nearby, or at least from Haringey.

We call on the people of Haringey to support us and stop the privatisation of our public assets if a way can be found for community use. Otherwise, what will be next to go?

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Questions:

What do you think of it?

Should we approach well-known local people first, so I can put:

Join (insert names here) in campaigning to save Hornsey Town Hall   

How many signatures do I need in order to get the Council to abolish the Creative Trust and form a new body that will find new people to hire it out to pay it's way every year, end the secrecy and get local people permanently involved again?

What else should I do?

Can you please join the 'Hornsey Town Hall' Facebook group?

Tags: hall, hornsey, petition, town

Views: 431

Replies to This Discussion

Here is news from the Ham And High that seem to confirm our worst fears:

Hornsey Town Hall theatre schools plans in jeopardy

The 'Gateway Review' took six months and was completed, in secret, in December 2013 and has still not been seen by the public.  Why would a planning service keep not only the report, but the fact that there was to be a report secret for all this time?

Very extensive documentation, thank you.

But would not a formal council directed petition be better than 'likes' on Facebook?

Surely your petition is too complex - the first thing we need to know is just how bad the situation is - how much is this funding shortfall referred to in the review , for instance? Step 1 is not to leap to another complicated solution but to remove the secrecy around the present.

Thanks Adrian - I have plenty more detail but no time to add it yet. Can you add some of yours?  I can give you edit permission. Also be good to have someone review it critically - we could publish it here.

Thanks too for the petition link - I didn't know about it and it's a better idea.

I thought that, if people can 'like' the post, there will exist a means to contact them with the next step, and to build a group as many people will click but don't want to do much more than that - 'clicktivism'.  

The problem is, how to get the Trust abolished and replaced with a body that will achieve the specific things I detailed.  The danger is that one group of well-meaning residents get replaced with another in an acrimonious way that divides us.  

What leverage do Crouch Enders actually have? Can we actually get what we want, or will we get defeated as we have on every previous occasion?

I don't know what to do so I've put this out there in the hope that others will step forward with better ideas.  

I agree it's too complex - but it can be simplified. If we handed out leaflets and got people to sign up, what phrase would recruit them? we can say 'save our Town Hall' and everyone would agree with us- is that enough? A petition to the Council with one phrase in it?

On Tuesday (15th July) senior Haringey Councillors are being asked to approve the recommendations of a secret report that will be used as the basis of all future decisions about Hornsey Town Hall - only three or Crouch Enders have seen it and they have chosen not to comment or share it's content.

The rest of us do not even know this report exists.

Should we ask those senior politicians to delay their decision for a month, giving us time to read the report and give feedback on it or is our opinion irrelevant?

Not sure which report you mean Chris - the Gateway Review has been published in full though not until 8 months after it was produced, so this report has been, but is no longer secret. The agenda for the 15th July meeting has been published and there are many words about the actions that have already been taken, in secret as far as the public is concerned. I confess I can't see what options are to be discussed. Guess I have to go to the meeting to find out what they are, This is probably the secret report to which you refer.

Thanks Adrian.

How did you find the link you gave me to the Gateway Review?  I missed it completely and want to catch them all in future.

I classed the Gateway Report as secret because, as you wrote, it was secret up until a few days ago, eight months after it was completed. The fact that it was taking place was also kept secret. I'm guessing there is some sort of obligation on LBH Officers to publish a report before the Cabinet meets on July 15th to decide on it.

It contains some glaring errors, like this one on page 5:

>>A series of options for the future of the Town Hall was appraised in 2010 prior to a Cabinet meeting

err, 2011. Still, what's a year between friends?

The conclusion of the report is: 

‘delivery of the project/programme is in doubt with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas

I have written more about it's contents here: http://bit.ly/hthgatewayreport2013

Tuesday's Cabinet meeting is to decide which recommendations to adopt. Should I ask them to postpone the decision for a month to give Crouch Enders a chance to read it? They will ignore me, but it's a stake in the ground...

Most grateful for any further comments.

Tuesday's cabinet meeting is being asked to look at further options in the autumn, not to take decision on Tuesday. See p 108 section 3 (also below), so I think there is no need to ask them to delay, espaecially as this project has already taken far too long. We should be asking them to get a move on.

Members are asked to:
• Review the Gateway Review report and its recommendations as set out in Section 4 and Appendix A.
• To agree that a report should be brought forward to Cabinet in Autumn 2014 presenting the options generated and results of the options appraisal and seeking agreement as to how to proceed with the options considered for the


Yes, thanks, I saw that.  

A principal objection is that the options they are going to consider do not include anything much different from what they are already doing - a month isn't long enough.  What they should do immediately is weatherproof the building whilst the weather is still nice - who's fault is it that all that self-inflicted damage is being done - it must be the fault of the 'Creative Trust' - it's not enough that they have consistently failed to open it during the last seven years - letting it rot is unforgivable when there is money available form the sale of the Citiznes Advice building ringfenced for our Town Hall.

LBH are not going to come up with a new approach during the 'review' period - only more of the same is credible to them, because there has been so much effort put into one giant solution, and none into the alternative that is needed - coproduction.  They don't believe in contingency plans because they are sure they are right in all cases, so none get prepared. So, they will paper over the Mountview cracks until another crisis appears. 

What I think will happen is that LBH will find a way to cope with Mountview decision to stop pretending they can raise £9m and their admission that they can only raise £2m.  How sick that  all the previous community-led plans were cancelled by the politicians because LBH could not afford this level of shortfall.  What a betrayal of the community! No wonder Crouch Enders no longer believe anything will ever happen.  Mountview's new date of Sept 2016 is surely just as much a pipedream as their other missed deadlines but, as they are sure that there can be no alternative, they'll cross that bridge when they come to it.

How long have Mountview kept their fundraising failure a secret?  I guess since they began it in April 2011.  Why did LBH Planning services not think to ask Mountview how much they'd already raised? I guess it's because LBH Planning have got too much work on to go into any level of detail as to what Mountview are or are not doing. They all regarded the Mountview move as a done deal, so why bother to look after the campus?  Mountview will do it when they move in etc.

Now Mountview have been found out it looks as if trust may have broken down between LBH and Mountview - who knows? When one partner demands that the other hand over their accounts for scrutiny, that's not a sign of mutual trust. It looks as if Mountview have delivered one or more 'scheme reports' - why are those being kept secret do you think - are they being exposed as lies?

Muswell Hillybilly Ray Davies ('the Shakespeare of songwriting') visited the Assembly Hall in 2010 and has something to say whilst sitting on the stage of the Assembly Hall in the first three minutes of this Julien Temple film:

 

I could be wrong about what's going on of course, but why are we not allowed to know the truth?  It's because the 'Creative Trust' has failed and, until the people on it are replaced, LBH will use the 'Trust''s ineffectiveness to do whatever they want without taking any account of local needs - they simply have gotten used to the silence from us over the last seven years 'the Trust' have met in secret, betraying our trust. The 'Trust' have marginalised our voice to a whisper - that's why they never announce anything or ask for our views - it doesn't matter what we think.

So, yes, there's no point in asking any questions, but what a sad situation we're in that it's not even worth asking, The Hornsey Town Hall Facebook group is up to 68 members after only being live for a few days, so that is one indication that Crouch Enders are starting to react I suppose.

What else can be done?

Thought to ask local parents if they will get involved. Anyone know any members of the PTA's of our local schools who might put this on the agenda?:

"People from Hornsey and beyond are getting together to help bring the iconic Hornsey Town Hall in the centre of Crouch End back into community use. Parents are asked to join the Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/hornseytownhall) so as to pitch in with ideas and initiatives that will see more local families enjoy this publicly-owned resource."

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