Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information
Dear Mr Essex,
Thank you for your email regarding the forthcoming Cabinet decision on Hornsey Town Hall.
The Council will not be delaying a decision on Hornsey Town Hall, as securing a sustainable future for this iconic building is critically important if we are to save the building for future generations and open it to the public.
The council has been working since 2007 to find a new future for the Town Hall, but the very high costs of running and restoring this Grade II* listed building have made it very challenging to find a partner. As you’re probably aware, from 2011, we worked hard with Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts who were keen to turn the building into their new permanent home.
Unfortunately, after four years of work, Mountview announced in 2015 that they simply could not make the Town Hall work financially, and pulled out of the project.
Following this, we launched a bidding process in 2015, to look for another partner. The council followed the thorough public procurement process followed by all councils and government departments. Following this rigorous 18 month process of assessing and challenging bids, council staff and advisors are recommending a partner to Cabinet.
Given the extensive work since 2015 on the choice of a partner, and the formal completion of the procurement exercise, a month's delay would serve no purpose at all. Bids were scored by a range of expert panels and scores combined to produce a recommended bid. A delay in the report being considered would not change the outcome of this objective process. In addition, further delay simply allows the building to further deteriorate and denies the town hall the secure future it badly needs.
I am aware that Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society were involved in the unsuccessful bid and therefore have a clear interest in one proposal over another, but the Council’s role is to take a fair view.
Contrary to what is set out in your email, the proposed bid includes proposals for significant community use. The FEC bid being recommended to Cabinet is for a mixed development, with a community arts centre, a small boutique hotel, a restaurant/café and investment in the town hall square. Public access to the historically significant parts of the town hall and to the square are guaranteed.
FEC have also committed to ongoing community engagement - setting up a community steering group to involve residents directly in overseeing the arts centre and the use of the town square green.
As set out in the Cabinet report, the Tischman bid scored less well because it proposed a new planning application to develop higher residential blocks at the rear and was unable to guarantee long term community access and use. I’m sure you will agree that these are very important factors that were rightly taken seriously by the assessment panels.
If you would like to read the report being present to cabinet, this is accessible via the following link:
I hope that this answers the questions from the Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society that you raised.
Councillor Alan Strickland
Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing and Planning Councillor for Noel Park (Labour) London Borough of Haringey