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Haringey Council has hatched the most abysmal plan to dispose of the Town Hall on a 125 year lease. The whole process is being conducted under an appalling EU (thank goodness we're getting out) diktat called OJEU. The process is nearly complete with the bidders having submitted their bids. The council is evaluating bids in conjunction with the Hornsey Town Hall Collaborative Trust (our representatives who are not allowed to speak to us but merely repeat what it is the council says) The plan was announced at the most inopportune moment (just as last year's festival finished) and is coming to fruition (or maybe corruption and decay) just as the Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre gets the front doors open again. Even the Neighbourhood Forum has an opinion.
And inside the building there are currently in the order of 100 small businesses operating. So people's livelihoods are vested in the continued availability of this office/business space. One wonders what any bidder will do with these livelihoods. Turn them into luxury flats, which might be in the short term more profitable. But new Mayor Sadiq Khan writes "These new figures lay bare the impact that the Government’s misguided policies are having on space for business in London. Of course we need new homes, but this does not need to be at the expense of the space we need for the businesses that provide our jobs and drive our prosperity."
Let's hope Haringey is listening.
Yes, the council really are selling the Public square, or "disposing the asset to the private sector" as they say. Apparently Haringey can't afford to mow the grass or unblock the fountain every now and again, so the developer who gains the Town Hall (and the land for building round the back) get to have it.
"Public access will be assured" we're told, but the future of the green space itself and such community events as the Festival will have to take their chances with the new owners.
Not long to go either - 4th July: deadline for final tenders; 5th September: winning bidder declared; 21st November: contracts signed.
Of course it might be very nice. They'll probably redesign it as a 'piazza' or something.