sharing news and views from Crouch End and Hornsey
I was passing the former British Legion building at about 2 o'clock yesterday when a little knot of people emerged. I know one of them was wearing a police uniform, another was a security guard, and I'm guessing the others were the new owner, an agent for the old owner and a locksmith. I'm basing my guesses on what I've been told has happened. Apparently on Monday of this week the new owners changed the locks on the gate at the Felix Avenue end of the Legion premises (I've marked it red on the satellite picture). This causes a problem for the keepers of the shops outlined in blue (The Hornsey Trust, Morley's and Kinleigh's) who in the past had a key to the gates to enable day to day deliveries and waste clearance, as well as being a potential escape route in the event of a fire or such.
What happened yesterday was a restoration of the rights of the shopkeepers to come and go through this gate, which, in the short term, for safety's sake and the continuation of a long standing right seems only fair. In the longer term there are probably some legal niceties to be sorted out. Apparently the shopkeepers access has been in place for at least 35 years, which may well be enough in law for them to insist upon it, regardless of whether it appears in a lease or not. Clearly the new 'owners' of the Earl Haig Memorial Hall have a different perspective, and probably plans which involve their sole use of the side alley. I put quotes around 'owners' purely because of the participants in the little knot of people I referred to earlier. If ownership had by now actually passed to the successful bidder at the auction then the representative of the 'old' owners would surely not have been necessary.
Attached is the pdf version of the land registry entry
I think the situation at the old British Legion building may have moved on a tad. As I've walked by this week the light in the right hand window has gone out and the bar area is now dimly lit. This means the security guards have moved out - the inference from which is that the new 'owner' (though we suspect settlement of the auction debt may not actually have taken place) is losing interest (especially if he has settled the debt).
The question over the right of way seems to be swinging to the tenants of the nearby shops. Not only has their key access been restored, but apparently the evidence of the use of the right of way goes back to the days when a caretaker lived in the upstairs flat at the Hall. The British Legion, as owners, apparently instructed him to keep the key and to open the gate to order as the shopkeepers needed it.
Who knows, it may soon be back on the market again!
1. Are you suggesting that the person who made the winning bid may not actually (it now turns out) have had the funds lined up. (in which case surely your post should read (especially if he has NOT settled the debt)
2. Is it possible that the existence of these rights of way makes the property less worthwhile for a developer? Might cause second thoughts as to whther it was worth buying at the price? (but still leave it of interest to a community bid)
3. if it goes back on the market again another fund raising drive by the group who tried to buy it for community use could be worth it as I for one would have pledged a few pounds but did not know it was happening and there might be others like me, unless of course the sellers decide to revert to the lower community bid that was lined up and was a real bid...
In response to your numbered points
1) Pure speculation of course, I think he may well have the funds, but not realised what a difficult site it is - the rights of way are an excuse for not completing
2) Much less worthwhile
3) We are now in the realms of speculation heaped on hypothesis, but at least now there is a lot of public interest
"speculation heaped on hypothesis"
And why not!
Anyway the community interest group who organised the failed bid should get back in touch with the Legion reps as the successful bidder might be trying to renogotiate the price.
And there is another speculation for the heap!
Scratching about for a fact I checked the Estate Agents website and the Hall is no longer listed there, nor do thay have any more auctions scheduled. But it is good to see that the old Journal offices are 'under offer'