It has been suggested
that HQ might not be fully aware of what the Crouch End branch is up to. So I've written to the people who put their names to Head Office press releases. So they have the opportunity to take a gander.
10th September 2017
To: Ms. Venus Zhao, Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Finance
Contact Number: (852)2850 0639
Wonderful Sky Financial Group
Mr. Paul Sham / Ms. Ellie Chen / Ms. Jacqueline Wong
Contact Number: (852) 3970 2170 / (852) 3970 2215 / (852) 3970 2177
Dear Venus Zhao, Paul Sham, Ellie Chen, Jacqueline Wong
As the persons whose names appear at the foot of many FECIL press releases I feel you might be interested in the way your project to refurbish Hornsey Town Hall and to develop the car park is being perceived in the local area.
I set out for your consideration a number of facts.
1) Included in the planning application was an Economic Viability Assessment (EVA) from which, supposedly, the confidential figures had been removed. In fact all the figures in the report were readily available to anyone with a computer. This document was supplied by FEC to the London Borough of Haringey and published on their website. A second version of this same document has now been published, which adds nothing to our understanding of the application.
2) In large part as a reaction to the figures in the EVA the three councillors for Crouch End substantially shifted their position on the FEC proposal. Having been firmly behind it up until that point, the councillors then published an open letter to FEC demanding considerable changes to the proposals. Given that the councillors seem to know very little about what was being proposed, it is difficult to understand why they were so committed to the project in the first place.
4) The Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust (HTHCT), the council appointed 'voice of the people' , also a long term backer of the FEC project, then published a note, in large part backing up the councillors in their questioning of the details of the project and saying "What FEC still needs to do is to earn the trust of the Crouch End community".
5) One of the long term goals of HTHCT is to create a world class arts centre in the Hall. FEC has for some months now been promising to announce the name of an arts centre operator "in the next two weeks". The continuing delay of this announcement is raising questions in many minds over the credibility of FEC (Crouch End).
6) A group of local organisations has combined to hold a meeting designed to help local people 'comment' on the planning application. From the buzz on local social media it seems likely that many of the comments will be objections. The groups involved include the Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum a body recognised by Haringey as authoritative in planning matters; the Crouch End Festival, one of the largest community festivals in Britain and scrupulously neutral on all political matters; The Weston Park Residents' Association, a group formed especially to respond to the planning application; and the Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society, a group of local intellectuals widely respected for their insights into many issues.
7) FEC won this bid on the basis of a detailed and extensive procurement process. There is considerable disquiet that what is now being proposed is very different to what was agreed during that process. Divergences include:
- there was in the bid to be no full scale planning application - instead we have a very large, and quite controversial proposal which is still undergoing changes even though the consultation period is nearing a close
- the bid included a 4 Star Dorsett hotel - what we now have is a series of serviced bed sits
- it was assumed that, based on the previous planning application, some provision would be made for affordable housing in the scheme - no affordable housing is proposed
8) FEC (Crouch End) appears to have ceased communication with the public, choosing rather to use the channel of the local councillors' blog. In their latest communication there appears a further variation on the announcement of the Arts Operator in two weeks . Even now the councillors do not support the FEC proposals.
I hope you find this information of some use. If you would like further information please do get in touch with me.