OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

Here is the latest update from our Labour Councillors. Yes, despite your votes, all three of them are now Labour.

Just a few interesting points.

I don't think anything has been secured. I reckon both sides of the latest agreement could walk away if certain conditions are not met ("conditions precedent"). What will "Crouch End (FEC) Limited" do if it can't get planning permission. It'll toddle off back to the British Virgin Islands , no doubt, with HTH a year or two older, and deeper in decay.

And talking of planning permission, the answer to an FoI question about pre-planning advice suggests that FEC will need full permission for their project. Struggle through to the bits about section 73 if you have the stamina. This eliminates one of the major differences between FEC and the runner up in the OJEU procurement. I don't think anyone believes that the guarantee for the Arts Centre will be worth the paper its written on.

And what about "A new small hotel in sections of the building currently not open to community access". That's a new (to me) turn of phrase, but what can it mean? How will hotel customers get in and out if they don't pass through the foyer, for example. And has this proposed hotel got smaller? Maybe the luxury flats have got larger and/or more numerous.

And a quick hop across to the "2 years on" blog where we find a little bit of massaging, methinks. I believe that ANA has rather more credit here than it did before, which is only right and proper, and "it costs 350 grand a year just to keep the doors open" has become "We currently spend around £250,000 a year just for basic maintenance of the Town Hall."

 

Still at least the inaccurate accusations of the previous circular are not repeated.

Read on, see what you make of it.

Your monthly update on the big developments in Crouch End and Haringey
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Crouch End Councillor - February Update

Your monthly update from your local councillors on news and events in Crouch End and Haringey.

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Hornsey Town Hall

We’re pleased to announce that an agreement has now been signed that secures the multi-million pound renovation of Hornsey Town Hall and square. The agreement will deliver:
  • A new arts centre, with community access and café/restaurants
  • Complete restoration of the ageing Grade II* building, removing it from the national Buildings at Risk register and improving it for modern use
  • Improvements to the Town Hall Square, with free public access guaranteed
  • A new small hotel in sections of the building currently not open to community access
  • A new community access steering group, including local councillors and representatives from community organisations
A new company has been set up to manage Hornsey Town Hall and work is underway to develop detailed designs. A specialist arts centre operator will also be appointed shortly.

The agreement – which will be available for residents to see – guarantees public access to, and use of, many parts of the building including historically significant spaces such as the assembly hall, foyer, council chamber, supper room and committee rooms.

The new company will also take forward the ongoing discussion with local groups about community access and provision, which will be monitored by the steering group once the building has re-opened.

Restoration is expected to start in early 2018
Haringey Development Vehicle 
 
As councillors, we got into politics because we want to tackle the significant inequalities that exist within our borough. However, with 40% cuts to our budget, the Council doesn't have the funds to create the thousands of homes and jobs that Haringey desperately needs. Indeed no council can - in 2015/16, 26 of London’s 33 councils didn't start building a single council home.  Only 1400 council homes were built across the country.

That is why last night Cabinet approved Lendlease as the private sector partner for the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV). The HDV is a longterm 50:50 partnership to deliver thousands of new jobs and at least 5,000 new homes on council land in Haringey. Rather than simply selling the land, the HDV will ensure the Council retains influence and control so to ensure our ambitious regeneration targets are delivered.
 
Now that approval for the HDV has been given, the Council will enter into final discussions with Lendlease on how the joint venture will be established and managed. A final decision on whether to establish the HDV, and on proposals for the first phase of sites, is expected to be made by Cabinet in the summer of 2017.

As your local councillors, we support the creation of the HDV – as did the majority of our colleagues in the Labour Group. However, we know that there is significant concern about the risks involved in setting up such a venture. That’s why we will be working hard over the next 5 months to ensure that the following principles are clearly enshrined within any contract with Lendlease:
  • New housing should meet Haringey’s planning policy requirement of being at least 40% affordable housing. There should also be no reduction in housing stock offered at social housing rates
  • The Council should use profits from the vehicle to further boost affordable housing numbers where it can
  • ‘Right to Buy’ should not be offered on replacement homes built by the vehicle
  • Council tenants affected should be re-housed with the rent matching that of an equivalent council property and on the same terms, either on their estate or elsewhere in the borough, according to their choice
  • Residents continue to consulted before any regeneration takes place on their estates
  • No public land can be passed to the vehicle for regeneration until it has been approved by Cabinet
Many of the recommendations by the Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee into this issue have been agreed by Cabinet. Although the request of the committee for a six month delay to look into risk, governance and other details was not agreed, this was because the Council’s process already includes a five month period  to resolve exactly the issues they raised.

At our ward meeting on 21st February, there will be an opportunity to ask questions of Cllr Alan Strickland, Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration. Do come along if you can.
First council homes built in 30 years

On Wednesday 8 February, tenants were welcomed into the first new council homes built in the borough for at least 30 years. 31 new homes being built on former garage and car park sites in seven housing development sites across the borough.

However, it is worth noting how difficult it has been to get to this point. Although we had hoped to deliver 250 council homes by 2018, the combination of government cuts, borrowing restrictions and the impact of Right to buy has made that aspiration unachievable.

The new homes are of a high quality, promoting sustainable development, energy efficiency, and affordability. Construction of these new homes, which includes both affordable rental homes and shared ownership homes for sale, is expected to be completed by June 2017.

This week, the Planning Committee, chaired by Natan, also approved 260 homes, 78% of which are affordable.
Haringey's Budget 

Haringey’s Cabinet this week recommended that the Government’s three percent social care levy be added to bills this year and next, bringing in an additional £2.7milllion per year that will be ring-fenced for caring for vulnerable people in the borough.

However, the council’s share of the general council tax bill – which helps fund a huge range of services from parks and libraries to roads and recycling – will remain frozen for the eighth consecutive year as part of Haringey’s ongoing commitment to supporting local families and helping to ease the pressure on rising household costs. Other budget recommendations made by Cabinet for 2017/18 include:
  • Increasing funding for adult social care by £7m and temporary accommodation by £6m
  • £2million investment in libraries in 201/18, shelving an earlier suggestion to reduce opening hours
  • £4million investment in roads and pavements across the borough
  • £1.8million for aids and adaptations to support elderly and disabled residents
  • £200,000 for outdoor gyms to help more people to live healthily
We’ve listened closely to what local people have told us, which is why our proposals include a commitment to maintaining current opening hours at our libraries.

The budget will also look to deliver £20million savings in the face of ongoing funding cuts by central government, which have seen the council’s spending power slashed by 40 percent in real terms since 2010. Many of the cuts will fall on the council’s back office functions to protect frontline services.

The recommendations will go to Full Council for a final decision on Monday 27 February.
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Campaigning

As ever, we think it's critical for Crouch End Labour to be speaking to residents directly about the issues they care about. We will have a stall on Crouch End Broadway from 11.30 - 12.30 on Saturday 18th February.

We will also be going out door-knocking on Saturday 25th February, meeting at 11.00am at 28 Middle Lane, N8 8PL. Please join us!
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Community Roadwatch

The Safer Transport Team are looking for volunteers to assist in monitoring traffic speed. If you are interested, please contact PCSO Mel Mouzouris on 020 8345 0703.

A community roadwatch event will also be happening on Crouch End Hill/Waverley Road on Tuesday 28th February at 11am.
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Community Ward Budget

This year we have been really keen to support great community initiatives in Crouch End.

The deadline for ward budget applications for this year is February 28 so get in touch soon if you or anyone you know are interested in bidding for grant funding
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You can find out more about what we have been up to on the Crouch End Labour blog

Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any local issues that you would like us to sort out for you or your neighbours. You can find our contact details below:

Jason Arthur | 07812 677736 | jason.arthur@haringey.gov.uk
Natan Doron | 
07815 700588 natan.doron@haringey.gov.uk
Sarah Elliott | 
07979 592878 sarah.elliott@haringey.gov.uk

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