I wrote once before to FEC's award winning head of Investor relations, Venus Zhao. It did get some small response. So I'm trying again. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to try.
Dear Venus Zhao
Congratulations on your "Best Investor Relations Officer (small to mid-cap)” from Investor Relations magazine.
I would like to bring to your attention , again, the very bad public relations FECIL is getting from its involvement in the development at Hornsey Town Hall.
Somewhere in the region of 700 individuals and residents' groups have objected to what is being proposed. No other project in Crouch End, a tiny , quiet , peaceful suburb has ever generated such ill-will.
The Haringey Planning officer's report, and reports from FEC's consultants, are full of Inconsistencies and omissions.
- No justification for a change of use to hotel is offered, while the change is clearly contrary to policy;
- little evidence of a sustainable business model to support an arts centre is offered, indeed the arts centre concept seems to have been abandoned in favour of audio visual editing suites;
- the loss of 80 small businesses is glossed over - this loss will be a massive blow to the vibrancy of the town centre
- outrageous claims about 400 new full time jobs are made
- an absurd precedent is dredged up for the unprecedented 7 storey block which is proposed, while a much smaller, more relevant and recent example (which was rejected by the same planning department because “its size, scale and prominent location, would be out of keeping with the design and character ... and would have adverse effect on the appearance and the visual amenity of the conservation area as a whole”) is ignored
These and other planning reasons are quite sufficient to reject the application, and all of them could be successfully defended at appeal.
Alongside the planning reasons are other practical concerns.
- The very existence of a planning application is a betrayal of an obligation given by FEC to make only minor amendments. An obligation which helped them win the bid for the purchase of this precious public asset. The current application is massively more disruptive than the plans they undertook to stick to.
- The lame duck nature of the outgoing administration would persuade me that Haringey does not currently have good authority to commit to this deal. Its main proponents (Cllrs Strickland, Goldberg, Arthur , Doron and Elliott, the last two also members of the Creative Trust complicit in the deal making) have all now stood down. The administration of Haringey is now in the hands of a few die hards who have been thoroughly discredited. FEC should not be seen to be associated with them.
It is still not too late to withdraw this flawed application and come back with something more suitable to the area.