sharing news and views from Crouch End and Hornsey
A local group of interested citizens has made a planning application to Haringey on the Earl Haig Memorial Hall which does no more than to confirm the building's D1 use class. The building does have such a use - this was clearly stated in the Estate Agent's particulars and on the board (which might still be there - I've probably grown acclimatised to it).
In response the new owners of the building (successful at auction for the sum of £1,005,000) have submitted an objection to the planning application which is so ludicrous in its wild assertions that it hardly needs rebutting, though as a precaution, and just in case a planning officer has bad day and takes them seriously we should rebut it by clicking on the "Comment on Application" at the bottom right, taking care to remember that you are disputing an objection to an application of which (I hope) you approve.
One very thorough and well worded such comment from a near neighbour of the hall can be read on this comment on the planning application.
The new owner, who only now is coming to realise all the difficulties he faces in redeveloping the site, has submitted the following nonsense:
Dear Mr Holt
Re: Earl Haig Hall, Elder Avenue, Crouch End
Application for a Lawful Development Certificate for a Proposed us or
development. - Your Ref: 2012I0624
We are the current owners of the Earl Haig Hall. and we would hereby like to make a formal
objection to the above application for this building.
The hall was previously owned by the Royal British Legion (RBL) for approximately 80 years and
sold to our company in February this year. The building was closed in 2010 due to lack of usage
and no other commercially viable use has been found for the building in the subsequent two
years before being put up for sale. The building has been left empty and derelict over this period
and is now in a state of substantial disrepair.
We do not agree that the building has ever established a D1 or D2 Use Class over the lifetime of
it’s existence. On inspection of the interior ofthe building, it contains two bars with seating areas
that would suggest an existing A3 usage. There are no facilities within the building that would
suggest that it has been used for local community usage, please see attatched photos.
The applicant has stated that the building has been hired to other groups over the years but has
not specitied what groups or offered any evidence of community use. Even if there is some
evidence of the bars being occasionally hired out to individual groups that does not establish a
either a D1 or D2 usage.
It is a requirement that the applicant would need to provide documentary evidence that the
building has been lawfully and continually used for at least twelve years for D1 and D2 usage,
for a Lawful Development Certificate to be approved by the local authority,. This application does
not provide any evidence of existing D1 or D2 usage and therefore this application should be
This further contribution has been made as a comment on the planning application:
I have been a resident in the area for 26 years and apart from the recent months when it has been closed up, the Hall was always in use as a community space. As Secretary of Friends of the Parkland Walk, I tried to arrange, about 3 or 4 years ago, to have our Annual General Meeting in the hall, but was advised it had so many groups and classes that it was not possible to fit us in. Therefore I fully endorse the application for a certificate that the lawful use is in Class D, and probably a mixed use of Class D1 & D2.
The building is noted as a building of character in the Crouch End Conservation Area Appraisal and the presumption in National and Local policy is that it should be kept. The best use for historic buildings and significant buildings in conservation areas is to mantain them in their original uses where possible. This structure has been deliberately neglected and shut down. The new National Planning Policy Framework has a paragraph on such matters and says:
126. Local planning authorities should set out in their Local Plan a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment, including heritage assets most at risk through neglect, decay or other threats. In doing
so, they should recognise that heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource and conserve them in a manner appropriate to their significance. In developing this strategy, local planning authorities should take into account:
● the desirability of sustaining and enhancing the significance of heritage assets and putting them to viable uses consistent with their conservation;
● the wider social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits that conservation of the historic environment can bring;
● the desirability of new development making a positive contribution to local character and distinctiveness; and
● opportunities to draw on the contribution made by the historic environment to the character of a place.
Thus the presumption is that the structure should stay and unless there are overwhelming reasons not to do so, the community use should be maintained as well. Paying too much for a site is no reason to do away with a much liked and appropriate structure that has been for nearly 90 years part of the familiar and cherished scene.
Dear Crouch Enders. This has been my response:
"For the last 22 years, as a resident of Fairfield Road, which is no more than 50 yards from the Earl Haig Memorial Hall, I have observed continual, indeed extensive, community use of the hall - wedding receptions, parties, discos, local theatre productions, jumble sales, ballroom dancing sessions, communal remembrances of the Great Wars, book sales, toddler groups - all these and more in addition to the regular use by the British Legion itself, and the other community groups, such as the local Bridge players.
Given all this, I can be comfortably assert that the statements of the current owner(s) regarding use are totally preposterous. Furthermore, I strongly recommend any others wishing to comment on this application read and pay particular and prior regard to the excellent submissions of Consultation Responses 1, 8, 10. All state the circumstances surrounding the hall's regular use and the local need for the hall over its entire history, exactly as I and countless local resident have seen them: the Earl Haig Memorial has was established as a community amenity over 80 years ago (and in this regard the opposers should remember just how many locals served in the armed forces across the two World Wars, and thereafter benefited from the hall and its facilities), and until its sale continued in this vein.
I would also like to place some context around statements concerning the current 'state' of the hall. I would say it is "tired" not "delapidated", and would also say that largely speaking, for many years, its state, whether good or bad, has had no bearing on the type of use nor the degree of use.
Finally, in the light of what I and all others have said (barring the owners), I strongly urge the council and its planning department to support this application, and indeed any other that will enable the Earl Haig Memorial Hall to come back into regular use as a community amenity."