Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information
USING it's main output channels, the Council has promoted the Hornsey Town Hall (“HTH”) sale for many months. Local New-Labour Councillors at least endorsed this, if not actively pushed for the disposal.
At each step, its web-site, twitter account and magazine hail a new milestone on the way going forward to secure the vibrant exciting future and working together (and thanks to a robust procurement process – as with the attempted sale of Ally Pally in 2007).
2014 July 15—Early LBH Tweet about an Options Appraisal for HTH
2014 July 16—HTH update: Gateway Review
2014 November—HTH Options Appraisal Final Report for Publication (PDF)
2015 January 23—Soft market testing and HTH
2015 January 26—Securing the best future for HTH
2015 March 2 to March 27— 15 Tweets about inviting attendance
at an exhibition about HTH; first Tweet refers to
steps for "securing its future"
2015 March 26—HTH: Q&As from community and stakeholder engagement
2015 November 23 Full Council hears a petition on HTH, asking LBH to
consider a Community-led proposal (Tweet)
2016 July 28—Final bids made to restore HTH
2016 September 30—Bright future for HTH
2016 October 12—New arts centre proposed at heart of HTH
2016 October 13—HTH letter in the Ham and High
2016 October 18—£27 million HTH investment proposal agreed
2016 November 15—Haringey secures major restoration of HTH (update)
2016 November 15—Haringey secures major restoration of HTH (news)
2017 January 27—Innovative ideas for HTH’s future
2017 February 15—A secure future for HTH
2017 February 15—Update—HTH
2017 May 26 (last update)—Frequently asked questions (about HTH)
April/May – Haringey People magazine—A secure future for HTH (PDF, p.7)
June/July – Haringey People Leader's Column reference (PDF, p.2)
As may be seen, the promotion (propaganda?) of the disposal has been consistent and one-sided.
(A full list of comments on Hornsey Town Hall from the official Haringey Council Twitter account, may be found here).
However, such was the concern about the sale of this major public asset, that it was called in by the Liberal Democrat Group and by a respectable sub-set of the Labour Group.
It went to the Council's own Scrutiny Committee … but the overweening Cabinet largely ignored Scrutiny's concerns. Crouch End Councillor Jason Arthur is a key member of Cabinet, holding the powerful Finance brief.
It is his Cabinet colleague Alan Strickland whose letter appears in the Ham & High (3rd in the above list). Cllr. Strickland is Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration and since March 2016, also responsible for Planning.
AS well as local government employees pushing the disposal on behalf of their masters, we have of course had the political masters personally promoting the deal.
As an aide memoire, a couple of video clips show Haringey Council Cabinet Councillors boosting the disposal decision at the October 2016 meeting:
Crouch End Cllr. Jason Arthur shares a few reflections. " … this proposal does deliver [on so many things]"
Cllr. Joe Goldberg
Joe Goldberg apparently lives in the west of the borough, and claims that the whole time he has lived there the square has been underused. This may well be true of the years that the council had it fenced off. It is no longer true on any sunny day when many sit on the grass. It is not true on the Saturdays and Sundays of the Crouch End Festival when crowds flock to the square, nor on the days of the Christmas shop-local market, when the square is packed.
Does this square look under used?
WHEN our Hornsey Town Hall came to Cabinet on 15 November last, over an 11-minute period, local Crouch End Cllr. Natan Doron loosed off no fewer than seven tweets in support of Cllr. Alan Strickland and the disposal.
(from 6:48 PM to 6:59 PM)
Was the remarkable support collegiate and New-Labour comradely, or just fawning to a Cabinet Member?
Elsewhere, he described the benefits of the disposal as "massive".
The PR push is not unstoppable. The long delayed announcement of the "Arts Operator" was posted on Facebook by Jason Arthur. Three of councillor Arthur's constituents managed to make replies to it before Cllr Arthur switched off commenting.
Obviously there's no point in these councillors reading comments.
One-way communication of the agreed message is the most efficient model.
Alan Strickland (Cllr for fine-dining) has received approval and endorsement from the Dear Leader and, naturally, from Cllrs Doron, Elliot and Arthur.
What could conceivably exist which in any way might add to this mutually fruitful conversation and democratic engagement?