OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

In last week's Ham and High Sue Hessel asked why The Crouch End Festival must take place against the backdrop of an "empty and abandoned" Hornsey Town Hall. This week  Claire Kober attempts a rebuttal, listing all the things that are going on to "see the building restored to its former glory". (Sorry I can't find a link to Claire's article). Based on outward appearances Sue's argument carries more weight than Claire's. There is absolutely no question that the Town Hall looks empty and abandoned. The last time it looked full and busy was in the 1980s when my children (amongst others!) appeared on the stage there and local operatic societies put on plays in the main hall. Since then it has been wickedly neglected, and continues to fall into further disrepair even as I write.

But,  I was invited to a meeting which took place on Tuesday of this week in the training centre behind the Town Hall. Present were two of our three ward Councillors, a representative from the Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust, three officers of LBH and two very senior people from Mountview. I find it encouraging that the project team has taken the time to address the concerns quite properly and calmly expressed by our Councillors, and more stridently by me.

Based on what was said at the meeting I am not yet completely relaxed that all fears about the joint Mountview/Haringey project to which Ms Kober refers are removed, but there was certainly some better news to come out of the meeting, including:

1) It was agreed that senior project members would write a detailed timeline showing what will happen between now and Christmas, and publish this on the LBH website

2) Some of the highlights from this timeline include:

  • a) a wonderfully detailed survey of the building to confirm the findings of previous, more superficial,  inspections and to become sure of the extent  of the decay present (and asbestos) and to understand exactly what needs to be done
  • b) the appointment of a project team to undertake the next stage of the project
  • c) agreement will be reached on exactly how the project will be monitored by a joint Haringey/Mountview board
  • d) the creation of a detailed ten year business plan
  • e) an assessment of the exact cost of the project

3) The interim project director knows how to negotiate the OJEU process

4) The interim project director seems to know a lot about buildings

5) The recently appointed CEO of Haringey (Nick Walkley) is actively enthusiastic about this project

6) Asbestos is not believed to be an integral part of the building, but has been used superficially

7) The value of the car park as a development site is probably not going down

Tags: Hall, Hornsey, Town, meeting, progress, project

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