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I've just been to the second Annual General Meeting of the Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum. It was a good meeting. If you look at the Agenda you'll see that it's a very tightly managed affair. Every speaker is listed, either by name or by organisation. And two absentees are notable. Our councillors, who are members of the Forum under the terms of its constitution, and the Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust, who claim to be the voice of the community. There was no surprise appearance from HTHCT, but Jason Arthur (JA) and Natan Doron (ND) did turn up, quite unexpectedly, for the section on Hornsey Town Hall,
One can only imagine that someone rattled their cages - come on chaps you can't let this opportunity pass by to flannel some more about all the things you don't know about in respect of the future of Hornsey Town Hall. Somewhat surprisingly, given that they weren't on the agenda, they were granted the floor for nearly an hour. But they didn't spoil their almost unblemished record of evasion, by actually saying anything.
I took notes. I don't have shorthand so they are not perfect notes, but I'll do my best. But I have warned you, they said very, very little of substance. Mainly what they said was "that is still to be decided" or "don't know" or "not telling"
To start with they had a free format introduction in their own words. My reaction in [square brackets]
Haringey has suffered £160m of cuts recently and will suffer £20 - 30m over the next 2 -3 years. [Old news]
FEC bring the right balance of money and community use [?] If FEC don't behave in the way they promise in the lease and the other agreements Haringey as freeholders always have the nuclear option of repossession.
There is £1m to be spent in the library, some of which might be on workspaces to replace those lost from HTH [this is a red herring - all this money is set aside for other purposes]
For any future changes at the Town Hall relating to community use , FEC will publish alternative proposals and the public will vote for them [this is the technique Haringey uses - Option 1 is just barely acceptable, Option 2 is totally unpalatable, Option 3 is even worse, so Option 1 gets picked]
The Crouch End Festival will continue.
The areas set aside for community use will always be for community use - how this will work is still to be decided [my emphasis]
The Arts venue might be operated by ANA - this is still to be decided
There is still a lot of work to be done
FEC will send a letter to local residents. FEC are very excited about community involvement.
The planning permission to be implemented will be that which has already been implemented with some minor amendments.
The steering group will make sure that we are all proud.
Then there were some questions.
|1) Q. How does one get a place on the steering group?||
A. This is still to be decided. Definitely it will include councillors and HTHCT. Express interest and ANA or whoever will interview.
|2) Q. What sanctions are there if FEC do not perform as specified?||
|3) Q. Why has a hotel been chosen and what benefits does this bring to the community?||
|4) Q. How will the affordability of the community spaces be assured?||A.This is in the community use agreement which has yet to be published|
|5) Q. Given that the value of the land has gone up much more than the cost of renovation, why is there not more affordable housing?||A. In return for the renovation Haringey has taken a hit on the affordable housing.|
|6) Q. How will the community maintain control over the green?||A. Not answered.|
|7) Q. What, roughly , are the figures involved in the FEC bid?||A. Not telling|
|8) Q. What is the cost to the developer of each affordable unit?||A. No answer|
|9) Q. What will the council do about traffic during construction?||A. Control over this is enforced through planning [how, if there is to be no planning application?]|
|10) Q. If £2m is to be spent on the square it will become unrecognisable, especially if the hotel needs to allow access for taxis, etc?||A. The community will decide which of three options will be adopted. This will be a challenge|
|11) Q. Can the 'meanwhile' uses continue during phased development?||A. This is still to be decided|
|12). Q. Why was the library car park included in the sale as it renders the library not viable?||A. The library staff have not expressed any concern|
|13). Q. What if FEC goes bust or sells on as they are already doing in Shepherd's Bush?||A. LBH are the freeholder, and LBH are the planning authority. [?] LBH will not consider options that do not include the terms of the community use agreement.|
|14) Q. Will there be a sale of the Freehold?||A. No.|
|15) Q. Will there be any income from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) ?||A. ND - this was included in the 2010 planning. JA - no it wasn't. Intervention from CENF - Section 73 (a minor amendment to planning permission is a device to avoid paying CIL and to avoid the time involved in a full application. JA - we won't know about the planning situation and CIL until the detailed design is done. This is still to be decided|
|16) Q. Is there a threshold over which a change to planning permission changes from a minor to a major change?||A from ND [chairman of the Planning Committee] - don't know|
|17) Q. from Daniella who runs the Ply Gallery - why is no one talking to me?||A. Somebody should. We understand your frustration [!!!!]|
|18) Q. Who should we be talking to - John Connolly [FEC lead project manager]?||
|19) Q. Surely there are so many differences there must be a new planning application?||
|20) Q. If there are 100+ new dwellings there will be enormous parking problems, what can LBH do?||A. There will be a planning condition that this will be a car free development [how , if there is to be no planning application?] Intervention from CENF - the hotelier plans to use the underground car park for the hotel guests.|
I was there and can testify to the accuracy of the above.