Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information
Let's start here by talking about something few people understand. The way in which local authorities (LA) are funded. First thoughts turn to the rates, as we elderly folk think of them, which briefly became a poll tax, and are now called council tax. But until recently the rates were not the largest component of LA income, rather this was something called the "Revenue Support Grant". The Revenue Support Grant was calculated on the basis of a formula which you can read more about here(Ernst & Young / Localis), if you want to, though I don't recommend it because the Revenue Support Grant is being phased out. "With revenue support grant being phased out" the way LAs are funded must change and the retention of business rates is one of the mechanisms for doing this.According to this Guardian article, this leaves Haringey in an unenviable position, needing to double its business rate takings to replace the full amount of the old grant.
Of course, this introductory paragraph hideously oversimplifies the the situation. Haringey does have other sources of income - Haringey is currently consulting on a rise in council tax, for example, there are rents from council housing, fees for parking permits and other licences, and parking fines. I'll leave you to look up for yourself other sources.
Has this made any difference to the way Haringey behaves? Well of course it has. Faced with seismic changes like this would you be sitting on your hands, and hoping like Mr Micawber , that something will turn up and you can keep your expenditure 6d less than your income. There has been a lot of talk of cuts and difficult decisions, but beyond there are other changes to the landscape. Literally.
For some years now Haringey has been sending delegations to property development trade fairs. For instance "The London Real Estate Forum is the premier event for the development sector. Hosted in the heart of Mayfair, Berkeley Square, brings two days of debate, deals and networking." Haringey has a web page setting out its involvement.
And how does this translate into action across the borough. Well, really quite dramatically. Tottenham is undergoing huge regeneration. And something similar is planned for Wood Green under the council's preferred option "the Complete Transformation " . You can read about this and the other options here, but for convenience I've pasted in some of the text below. A corollary of this is that Haringey has requested that Crossrail 2 be re-routed. A far reaching debate on this can be seen on HoL (Crossrail 2 move to North of borough) as can a discussion on the future of Wood Green. And what about this astonishing £2 billion Haringey Town Hall sell off project, part of what Hugh on HoL calls the sell-off stampede.
Changes on this scale are obviously packed with opportunity. And risk. And knock on effects for the rest of the borough. So what does all this mean for Crouch End and Hornsey?
In the case of Crouch End I think this is a fair question to ask of the newly recognised Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum. This is a group of local people pitching up under the heading of localism to produce a Neighbourhood Plan. Membership is free and widely defined to invite you in. I urge you to go to the Inaugural AGM and help form the future workings of this group.
Already this group has begun to look at developments in Crouch End and has identified at least the following:
Given the cumulative scale of this development in a small town centre, it is well worth asking if , in total, it has been subject to the correct level of scrutiny.
In the case of Hornsey the New River Village, Smithfield Square and the Hornsey Depot developments are well documented. To these can now be added the Cross Lane proposal for the Land to the East of Cross Lane N8 7SA HGY/2016/0086 - Erection of a part six storey, part seven storey development (plus basement parking) to create 79 residential dwellings and 1,274 sq m of flexible business (B1a) floorspace with associated access, landscaping, car parking and other infrastructure.
So, when I suggest Haringey is changing its spots, perhaps this is evolution in action. In a changed financial landscape only the fittest will survive. Is Haringey's transformation from local authority to property developer, the way to go? Will this make Haringey a fitter borough? If it does will it be to the benefit of all the parts?
6.13 Option 4: Complete Transformation This option promotes a complete transformation of the town centre through significant interventions aimed at unlocking the development potential of the wider town centre area through radical changes in the layout of existing urban blocks. It promotes shifting the heart of the town centre further down High Road to benefit from a new Crossrail 2 station that will be located below a new public square in the vicinity of the current library, at the heart of the new town centre. Around this square taller buildings would be located while the depth of both sides of the High Road would expand to provide larger retail floorplates with greater potential for residential above. Under this option The Mall would be redeveloped to maximise the uplift of the Crossrail 2 station while the Hornsey Water Treatment Works site is identified as a long-term opportunity to strengthen and cement better links with Alexandra Park and Palace. This option places an emphasis on economic regeneration, striving to significantly increase and enhance the amount of workspace and retail spaces (57,048m2 employment floorspace) while also delivering a significant uplift in housing at 5,500 new homes above the baseline minimum of 4,600. Under this option the Council‟s front office is relocated to the vicinity of the existing Wood Green Page 7 Page 8 of 21 library while back-office and civic functions anchor a new mixed-use quarter centred around Coburg Road and including the Chocolate Factory and Clarendon Road, creating more logical and legible east-west linkages. North of Station Road high-density residential development lines both Station Road and High Road and then transitions in scale into the existing suburban hinterland.