Haringey’s announcement of the Asset of Community Listing

Taken verbatim from the Haringey website on 16th August 2015

Update – 13 August 2015

“Community value” status for Hornsey Town Hall

Hornsey Town Hall and Square has been designated an asset of community value (ACV) in recognition of its cultural significance to Crouch End and Haringey.

Haringey Council confirmed the ACV designation following a community nomination from members of the Crouch End Community Arts Festival.

The status is formal recognition of the community value both of the much-loved Grade II* listed Town Hall and the public square and green in front of it – and underlines the council’s ongoing commitment to preserving the landmark for future generations to enjoy.

Cllr Alan Strickland, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said:

“We welcomed the asset of community value nomination and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to give Hornsey Town Hall and Square this official recognition.

“We share local people’s enthusiasm for the Town Hall, which is why we’re committed to finding the best possible long term future for it – one that will respect and protect its Grade II* listed architectural heritage, offer community access and secure its future.”

Work to find a sustainable future operating model for the Town Hall is continuing as planned. The Town Hall site will go to the open market later this year, with the council hoping to secure a long-term lease arrangement with a partner that will take forward refurbishment works to the listed building as well as redevelopment of the remaining land on the site.

The council will welcome bids to restore, lease and run the Town Hall, together with development of the remaining site, from any interested party – including community groups – that can demonstrate how they will offer community access while securing a lasting future for the building. Strict bidding criteria will mean that any proposals that fail to demonstrate community access will not be considered.

ACV designation means that if the site was put up for sale, there would be an initial pause of any sale for six weeks to allow any community group to make a written request to be treated as a potential bidder.

If a community group was to come forward as a potential bidder during the six-week pause, a further moratorium of six months would be triggered, during which time the asset could not be disposed of unless to a community interest group. Following the six-month period, the site could be disposed of.

It is anticipated that putting the Town Hall site out to the open market and securing the right partner will take longer than any moratorium period that could be triggered by the ACV designation. Should any community group come forward as a potential bidder, they would be able to engage with and respond to the open market opportunity. Further information on this process will be advertised in due course.

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Hornsey Town Hall is granted Asset of Community Value status – press release

HTH Arts Centre
The Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society has had confirmation that Hornsey Town Hall and Square has been listed by Haringey Council as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), following on from the nomination put in by the Crouch End Festival.
We welcome the Council’s decision (http://wp.me/a6rSkI-N), as it recognises the huge value that the Town Hall and Square have for the people of Crouch End. However, it leaves little room for celebration as the council have informed us that they will not honour the spirit of the legislation by giving the community the additional time to put together a community bid for the town hall, which we want to do in order to bring the Town Hall into community – rather than private – ownership. 
What an ACV listing should do is place a six month moratorium on a sale, so that a community has an opportunity to prepare its own bid. However, rather than supplying the community with this vital breathing space – the Council have declared that the timetable for the sale should be unaltered.

The headlong rush to dispose of the Town Hall site to developers is dependent on the EU system of publishing a tender in an ‘OJEU procurement’ process: a process which effectively bars community bids in favour of big business and wealthy investors. For the council in effect to say “the time allowed is long enough” does not  meet the spirit of the ACV legislation, when the community is actually locked out of bidding in the process. 

We fear that Haringey’s procurement process could result in an outcome that pleases nobody. We will continue to press Haringey for changes to the proposals and the process. Instead, we are continuing to offer Haringey Council a real solution that meets both the council’s objectives and the long term wishes of the community: community asset transfer to a not-for-profit Community Interest Company.

Amanda Carrara, one of the joint signatories of the ACV application said:
“This is a vindication of the views of all those thousands of people who visited HTH for the first time during June’s Crouch End Arts Festival. They simply couldn’t believe that Haringey have started a process on such an important building which seems to have disregarded the option of an asset transfer to the community.”
Chris Currer adds “In tandem to the successful listing, we have recently applied to register a Community Interest Company which could become the vehicle for a community asset transfer. This is an option that dozens of councils up and down the country are adopting when planning new lives for old buildings. Why not here in Haringey?”
If you’re interested to find out more about what we’re trying to do – and be part of the campaign to bring the Town Hall into community ownership, join our facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hthas/ , or follow our blog https://hthas.wordpress.com or drop us a line hthappreciationsociety@gmail.com