#HTHBadDeal – Legal review of the sale of Hornsey Town Hall – *Part 2*

Sorry to publish a near duplicate post so soon after the first, but its because I’m an idiot. I forgot to put the link to the crowdfunding page in the first one.

This is the link to the crowdfunding page

A big thank you to everyone who contributed to our call for funds to pay for a legal opinion on whether we have grounds to launch a Judicial review into Haringey Council’s disposal of Hornsey Town Hall.

The advice we have received is that there is a chance that the Courts might be persuaded to interfere with Haringey’s decision to grant planning permission. We feel it is only fair to afford our supporters the opportunity to take that chance but to do so we need to raise £20,000 very quickly.

We are therefore now asking you, your neighbours and friends to back the launch of a Judicial Review by contributing to the fighting fund and help us to raise the £20k in order to be able to cover all costs of a full judicial review. Please contribute what you can but most importantly share this page with your friends, neighbours and colleagues on social media and email.

We will only bring proceedings if we reach our target. If we do not reach it then your donation will not be taken from your card.

This is the last chance we have to stop this disposal. Haringey could have delivered so much more for those on the housing waiting list, for our small businesses, for our arts and for our community.

Please contribute and share this page urgently!

A Judicial Review of the Hornsey Town Hall Sale

JUDICIAL REVIEW OF HTH DECISION

HTHAS are launching a CrowdJustice fundraising campaign today to start a legal challenge to Haringey’s sale of Hornsey Town Hall to Far East Consortium. Find out why, and how you can help below.

Suck it up, or…

When Haringey Council approved FEC’s planning application in December, HTHAS had a choice: suck it up and negotiate with FEC to get what we can out of the deal, or keep fighting to get the best possible outcome for the town hall and the community.

After much discussion, we decided that there was still an important role to play in keeping on fighting.

We are lucky that there are other organisations that we know and love – Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum and Crouch End Festival being two of them – who are at the table and working with Far East Consortium on behalf of the community to make sure that the outcome will be OK if FEC remain as the developer of the site.

This frees up HTHAS to do something different.

Legal challenge

We have decided to throw our weight behind a legal challenge to the decision that Haringey Council made when they decided to sell the town hall and green to FEC. This is our last chance to get a much better outcome for Hornsey Town Hall, Crouch End and the community.

The challenge hinges on the fact that the bid that won FEC the deal changed beyond recognition by the time that they applied for planning permission. This should invalidate the procurement (sale) process, and we want this tested in the courts.

Fundraising appeal

Before we can bring a Judicial Review, we have to establish whether our case is strong enough to win in court.

To do this, we have to get good legal advice and this costs money. Which is where you come in.

At this stage we only need £2000 so if you can chip in a few quid to help us get this off the ground, go to

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/hthbaddeal/and donate the price of a double shot soya flat white.

If the barristers tell us that our case is strong enough to proceed, we’ll need to raise about £16,000 to take this to the High Court. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

If they say that our case is not strong enough, we’ll draw a line here knowing we did everything we could for HTH.

An alternative future

We believe that we can do so much better than the FEC scheme. Our vision is to:

  • Keep the town hall and green in public ownership
  • Provide decent amount of social rent housing (FEC are providing 7.5%, Haringey’s Local Plan calls for 40%)
  • Give Haringey a sustainable and thriving community arts centre
  • Offer affordable workspace for small businesses
  • Build much needed new housing in the car park that respects the Conservation Area
  • Retain £millions of profit from the sale of new housing within the council’s budget – not lining the pockets of a tax-haven based developer.

Last chance to save HTH for the people

Go to

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/hthbaddeal/ and donate as much as you can, and tell everyone you know that this is the last chance to stop the sale of HTH to the Far East Consortium and save HTH for the people.

Update! Planning Officers’ Report Available Now

The Planning Officers’ report is now available online. It details their recommendations and conditions for approval.

It’s 106 pages long.

Don’t be discouraged, much of it is self-referential (by which we mean “as in Section 1, Subsection 19, Paragraph g, Sub-paragraph 112”). Not poking fun, this is the way these things are. So not as hard going as 106 pages might seem.

There’s also a list of supporting documents published (including a new viability report).

Among the so-far noted elements (not all by us, but useful signposts) are:

  • anything to do with the viability report (yes we’re reading it);
  • the justification for the seven-storey development (Avenue Road);
  • and the curfew – it’s 11PM every day all year. Yes, there is scope for exceptions but… still thinking about what this means for weddings (when’s the last time anyone went to a wedding where everyone is told to go home at 11PM?), Silent Disco, Secret Cinema, New Year’s Eve (10PM?), Crouch End Festival…

Here’s the link to the main report, have a boo:

Officers’ Report

And the supporting documents are here:

Supporting Documents

Any and all forensic stuff welcome, as always. There are only a few days before the Planning Sub-Committee meets and so only a few days for everyone to make themselves familiar with the new elements of the proposal.

Arts Centre Operator Meet & Greet This Week

The following announcement from the new owners and operators…a chance to hear what they’re thinking – and for them to hear what you’re thinking!

Piers Read, Managing Partner of Time + Space Co, the recently appointed arts operator for the Grade II* Listed Hornsey Town Hall, will be hosting ‘Meet the Arts Operator’ events in the Town Hall’s Council Chamber on Thursday 23 November at 19.30 and Saturday 25 November at 11.00.

The public events, which will be free but ticketed to ensure a safe footfall of people, will see Piers deliver a presentation showcasing his vision for the arts centre and how Town Hall space dedicated to it will be utilised. The events will also include a Q&A, so Piers can answer any questions people may have on the arts operation side of the proposed plans.

The London-based company will create a modern day, future proofed arts centre for Crouch End and its surrounding areas; a creative hub with space to host world class performances and events and a centre for people to work, socialise, relax and enjoy for many generations to come.

Piers, a Crouch Ender himself, has already secured partnerships with Jon Gilchrist, former Executive Director of the Bush Theatre in London, who brings a wealth of theatre experience and Musion, the world leading 3D holographic producer, who will base its HQ at the Hall. Piers is exploring partnerships with local arts organisations and is currently in discussions with ArtHouse Crouch End.

Since the announcement of its appointment in September, Time + Space has already met with ANA Art Projects, Crouch End Festival, The Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society, Neighbourhood Forum, Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust, Crouch End Walks and Weston and Haringey Parks Residents’ Association to discuss how the arts centre can benefit them and plans going forward.

Supported by its partners, Time + Space Co. will oversee programming that will include world class theatre productions, comedy acts, gigs and concerts, community classes, private functions, co-working, private office, studio and meeting space.

Piers, commented: “As a member of the Crouch End community for eleven years now, I have experienced first-hand the value and importance of Hornsey Town Hall to the local and wider community. The ‘Meet the Arts Operator’ events will be a great opportunity for me to share our vision and ideas which I hope will make this iconic landmark even more of a beating heart of the community than it already is today.”

Available on a first-come, first-served basis, free tickets to both ‘Meet the Arts Operator’ events can be secured via Eventbrite and are available here for the 23 November and here for the 25 November.

Piers’ primary goal for the Town Hall is to ensure the arts offering support the requirements of the community. This will be underpinned by the Community Use Agreement put in place by FEC and Haringey Council, ensuring that Community Use Spaces shall be available for Community Use for at least 60% of the total Hours of Operation during any period of six months in a calendar year. A Steering Group will be set up six months prior to the Town Hall’s completion, to ensure this is implemented and Time + Space commits to a fair and variable pricing schedule that makes Hornsey Town Hall as accessible as possible to the people of Crouch End and Haringey.

Piers specialises in urban regeneration, with a focus on reviving and injecting new life into heritage buildings and spaces for creative and community purposes, with a two-fold benefit of bringing social and economic benefits to the local and wider community.

With a focus on arts, tech and digital, Piers champions the creative industries and has a proven track record of success with recent projects including The Custard Factory in Birmingham and The Hat District in Luton. Piers took Wimbledon TV & Film Studios from a standing start in 2010, turning it into London’s leading independent studios in the UK film and TV industry that it is today.

Seven Days

Alright ladies and gentlemen – the deadline for comment on the HTH restoration and residential development looms (seven days). If you have something to say and haven’t yet, now’s the time.

Transport/Doctors/Schools

An attempt at transport. I’m sorry, it might not all be in planning terms.

Trips and Impacts

I’ve just read the Transport Assessment in the Hornsey Town Hall planning application and frankly, I’m annoyed. We, the public should not have to put up with such tosh. It has clearly been written by the office junior whose first language is not English but Repetitious Twaddle, a very widely used dialect in documents of this sort.
Where shall we start?

Perhaps with this paragraph:

1.1.11 The purpose of this report is to demonstrate that there would not be any material impacts on the local travel networks, highways and other modes of travel, as a result of the proposed redevelopment scheme and that the operational requirements of the proposals would be satisfactorily accommodated without any material impact, with mitigation as appropriate.
Two sets of material impacts, two lots of proposed/proposals and , quite magically, other modes of travel in addition to travel networks. And yet, the poor soul responsible for this aberration has tried to slip past his readers an incredible truth. The purpose of the document is not to produce an objective measure of what effect the development might have on the area but “to demonstrate that there would not be any material impacts” . A tad prejudicial from the outset.

Also “3.3.8 Both the access off of Haringey Park and the access off of Weston Park would be gated.” Despite assurances at the public displays that this will not be a gated development.

Another paragraph: “4.1.1 This section of the report considers in detail the parking strategy to be brought forward for the site, primarily in relation to the strategy of coming forward with a restraint-based approach for the residential units and a primarily car-free approach for the non-residential operations, but whilst also considering the requirements for those with mobility difficulties and those in terms of cycle parking.” Now , if I were the arts Operator (we’re still not quite sure who that is) facing a £200,000 a year rent, I’d be mightily disappointed that none of my customers can arrive by car. Pass me the restraints.

“4.2.22 The location of the site immediately adjacent to the Crouch End district centre precludes the requirement to provide any on-site car parking for the café / restaurant units, whilst though the employment floorspace could be supported by between one and four spaces it continues to be appropriate to have this supported by the three shared-use visitor spaces.” I can find no justification for this preclusion, nor can I unravel the non-sequitur of the employment floorspace, nor the leap of faith that takes us to the appropriateness of the three shared use visitor spaces. I can only imagine that whoever wrote this believed that no-one would ever read it.

“6.1.1 This section of the report considers the likely trip patterns and impacts of the proposed redevelopment of the site at and around Hornsey Town Hall, through the undertaking of a multi-modal trips assessment of the proposed mixed-use development scheme. This assessment is considered against the background of the previously-permitted mixed-use redevelopment scheme (first consented in 2010 and then renewed in 2013)” Now while I enjoy a multi-modal trip assessment as much as anyone who has ever laughed at Norman Wisdom going over on a banana skin, with the resultant impact, I have to ask “Why are we comparing this proposal with the 2010 proposal?” Surely what we have to do is measure the effect of this proposal. As simple as that. Nothing else.
Which leads me on to table 6.19:

Here the column “Existing” relates to the 2010 planning permission, and “Prop” to this proposal. So, if the 2010 permission had been implemented, and the estimates had been perfect, and it were now replaced by this proposal, and the new estimates were perfect, then there would be 41 fewer car and taxi drivers! A matter of pure speculation and supreme indifference to everyone and his brother.

I think I’m running out of motivation for this exercise, but I believe I should look at one more table, 6.5.

My recollection is that Crouch End does not have an Underground Station. This deeply inadequate Transport Assessment acknowledges the existence of Finsbury Park as an Underground Station, but not Archway, Highgate or Turnpike Lane. So all those 414 daily two-way person trips in underground mode will be via Finsbury Park. But I’m willing to bet that not one of the Car Drivers will transfer to the tube, nor the 5 passengers, nor the motorcyclists. No need to bet on the rail passengers, there is no train station in Crouch End. Let’s be generous and say that all the cyclists pedal over the hill to Finsbury Park, chain their bikes up and get on the underground. and maybe half the foot traffic. Shall we say half the bus journeys are not on the 91 to Trafalgar Square, or the W3 to Northumberland Park, or the 41 to Tottenham. So we do have 65 bus journeys plus 31 pedestrians plus 111 cyclists going to Finsbury Park. That’s 207. A generous estimate in my opinion. Which leaves 207 Underground travellers needing to get from Crouch End to Finsbury Park using either a broomstick or flue dust. If on the other hand they are merely muggles I reckon they’ll be queuing up for the W7.

In conclusion – this hilariously inadequate transport assessment should be dismissed out of hand. Its figures are unreliable, its premises questionable and its bases for comparison utterly irrelevant.

Again from the transport assessment tables 2.7 and 2.8
The following tables list the full range of local amenities referenced in the ‘Home Quality Mark – Technical Manual’, with Table 2.7 considering firstly the key local amenities and Table 2.8 considering the additional beneficial local amenities, demonstrating whether or not these are within the travel distance or travel time thresholds of the site.
Coleridge is within 700m so we’re all right for schools, except last time I looked the cathcment area for Coleridge was about 70m


And there are loads of GPs, which according to my reading of Facebook all take at least 3 weeks to offer an appointment.