OpinioN8

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Open, Honest and Transparent at Hornsey Town Hall - about the sleight of hand

I've been very slow doing it but I have been thinking about what FEC are offering at Hornsey Town Hall. To help my rather retarded thinking processes I've drawn up a table with what seem to be some key points. I've colour coded it to further aid the way I think. A row with all green cells would be acceptable. A row with perhaps one amber cell might be acceptable. Any red cells are not acceptable.

I'm not totally happy about progress so far.

What CE likes/wants What was in the bid What is now proposed
An honest and open approach A safe planning strategy A full planning application
Not a hotel A hotel Serviced apartments
ANA ANA ????
The Ply Gallery An Arts Centre Serviced apartments
A thriving business community A hotel A few disparate spaces and wi-fi
Affordable Housing 4 units A viability assessment
An Arts Centre An Arts Centre Public Spaces
An Arts Centre operator ANA ????
Tolerable Blocks of flats Tolerable Blocks of flats Extra Storeys
A thriving local economy An Offshore Company An Offshore Company
A substantial lump sum for Haringey £3,500,000.00 A viability assessment
A guarantee for the Arts Centre A guarantee for the Arts Centre A Community Use Agreement
Safeguards in Planning to ensure restoration A safe planning strategy A full planning application
No lease until after restoration No lease until after restoration A lease from January 2018

I can of course justify all these criticisms to my own satisfaction. There are some who might quibble over a few of them. But I reckon what we got at the end of the secretive, opaque , unhelpful OJEU process was a bid that most of the Crouch End public was not happy with. Now we have an open, transparent and honest process, which is simply changing everything that was agreed during OJEU. That is an admission that the winning bid was based on proposals that were never meant to be implemented. What some might call falsehoods.

A couple of interesting publications to look at.

1) A cogently argued, carefully researched and neatly illustrated proposal from the Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum to include some workspaces in the overall HTH design. After all, FEC have asked for feedback, and this is good stuff. I might put in a couple of links for councillors to explain 'cogent' and 'careful research'.

2) A book called "Curated Decay" by Caitlin deSilvey. I think Caitlin's notions of decay go further than has happened at HTH, but one of the things I like about the Hall is exactly that air of decaying grandeur. Perhaps what Crouch Enders like so much is the current state of the place. A sort of afterlife, after Town Hall and Council Offices. Perhaps what we need now is not a multi-million pound world class renaissance (huh!), but a preservation, in aspic, if need be so that we can go on enjoying the place as it is.

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

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