OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

Last minute Christmas Present - a view of Hornsey Town Hall

I don't know who Simon Turner is or where he trades from but can you see what he has done with the Town Hall Square? He has moved the trees out of the way so the the Hall is visible, he has replaced the quite nasty phone boxes that are there at present with some nostalgically red classics, reduced the bus stop to a bare minimum, and mowed the lawn. And a couple of other things. If only this were to happen in real life. Regrettably , Haringey has removed the bus stop from the sale to FEC, so it will not be part of any remodelling, the trees are pretty firmly planted and phone boxes are only a part of the past. So this idyllic view can only exist courtesy of Simon's artistic licence or on your sitting room wall if you are clever enough to get in touch with him via Facebook and buy a copy.

Tags: dorsett, far east consortium, hornsey town hall, ojeu, tax haven, town hall square

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A provoking piece. Do you think the rearrangement of the trees to reveal more of the Town Hall and open it up to views from the Broadway is the kind of idea the new owners of the site will go for?

Simon's Warner is a local artist whose lovely picture is a rather bitter sweet view of what could have been and what could be, given a sensible budget, some sensible thinking and a little tlc.  It would not take much to make the Square look reasonable, meanwhile it has mostly been left in the hands of Friends of Crouch End Green (FCEG) a group of volunteers determined to make the most of the green whatever its fate. In over three years of meetings with Cllr Jason Arthur and officers of Haringey, FCEG have established that the total annual budget for care of the green is £500 (barely enough to mow the lawn).  Also the council employee who in summer fills up a bowser from the manhole in the square to water other sites in Haringey is not able to water the green.  When asked directly about both points whether this was an absurd situation, Haringey councillors and officers made no answer. 

In the face of this neglect, FCEG stepped in maintain and improve the Green as an interim measure whilst the fate of the Town Hall and Square is decided - this will take time and we need more than a barren desert to enjoy in the summer meanwhile . So far we have achieved: a community Christmas tree for three years (funds raised by FCEG from local shops and businesses) plus Christmas lighting on the tree and around the the green; enlarging and planting borders at the front of the green; a rota of volunteers to water the green and flower beds daily during the summer; secured replacement birch trees in place of the tree felled this summer; removal of commercial banners on lamp posts in the square; investigated the removal of 4 redundant BT phone boxes - we were told this would cost £15K per box; applied for funding to improve the lawn in 2017.  All of which is minimum maintenance and care, formerly undertaken by Haringey.  We are stuck between a Council that doesn't care and a new owner who may care too much.  The community is actively using, accessing, improving, maintaining and co-managing a public space whilst the Council has stepped back and a new owner has not stepped forward. Haringey promises "no large scale development" on the green and community use and access - no more details are forthcoming.  Personally I am not holding my breath.  Simon's picture should be shown to both Haringey and the new owners as a basis for any short and long terms plans.  

Four redundant phone boxes! The rest of us are supposed to clear up our litter after us, why not BT? Perhaps its the income from the ads which would cost them £15,000 per annum to forego.

I found the image below from Google maps - I think the lady in the foreground, the dog and its handler must be left over from a zombie walk (double click to make it bigger).

FCEG is clearly working hard to maintain the square until whatever happens next happens. Thank you. This is in the tradition of local activists - we all know that the Clock Tower commemorates a local (and councillor) who worked hard to preserve open spaces and to uphold planning decisions.

My initial response to the two new trees just planted was to suggest that they not be. I like the present leafless view across the square, in the photo below. The whole facade of the Town Hall is visible, as is Electricity, the bringer of power and light. The suggestion that the new trees might soften the facade of Barclays is true from some angles, but not in my picture below, whence what they will achieve is to hide the carved stone reliefs above Barclays. Clearly, whatever is to be done longer term deserves a bit of thought.

What really does need fixing is the Middeys canopy/dead bush.

We do seem pretty close now, to having the Town Hall sold to a Chinese property developer cum hotelier. I doubt that my views will hold much sway with the new owner, maybe FCEG or Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum can get on the promised committee  and perhaps have some say, before the square becomes a taxi rank / charabanc park.

I agree about opening up the view of the Town Hall and square.  This has mostly been achieved by felling of the central tree in centre in June this year.  The two small birches are far more discrete and the decision to press for their planting was to stop the green from being totally denuded of greenery.  Haringey owed us a tree, we though we should make sure we got them.  

The Amnesty International tree on the front edge of the square by the W7 bus stop is showing signs of ill health. Does anyone know who locally was responsible for the planting of this tree some time ago?  

Meanwhile, it would be good to know how community governance is to be ensured and who will be our representatives. The right people need to be involved and I sense that this is being decided as we write.

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