After a long wait, we had a meeting with FEC on Tuesday in their new role as preferred bidder for Hornsey Town Hall. There is much to be said – and commented upon – as an outcome of that meeting, but we thought it would be in everyone’s interest to get a few crucial points up on the site as soon as possible.
Here’s a bunch of what they said. This list has been cleared by FEC as we thought it would be best to ensure there was no misunderstanding, and to the extent these are clear commitments they are now part of the public record.
- The launch of the website is imminent restoringhornseytownhall.com
- The website will contain a copy of the Community Use and Access agreement recently signed by Haringey and FEC.
- Community consultation will take place from April until June 2017. Yet to be completely firmed up, it will include leafleting; the presence of a community hub within the Town Hall; and a community post box. Drop in sessions will be available.
- There will be a steering committee set up approximately 6 months before completion of the works. It will include representatives from 7 key stakeholder including HTHAS but the exact format is yet to be designed.
- There are no plans for any public meetings outside of the consultation events. FEC is exploring a Community Advisory Group which local organisations can nominate a member to. This will be active during the consultation phase.
- FEC are due to meet with Haringey planners in mid-April and expect to submit a planning application in the summer. They hope the application will be granted in time for work to commence in the second quarter of 2018. We do not yet know what form the planning application will take. We raised our concerns about the existing planning permission and their plans to amend it.
- Once started the work is expected to take just over 2 years during which time the Town Hall will be closed.
- An independent operator will be appointed to run the Arts Centre and community space. Talks are ongoing.
With regards to the plans, we were told that:
- There will be a hotel in the East wing and it is felt that the increase in events at Alexandra Palace will generate demand. The inclusion of a hotel is non-negotiable and will create the revenue to cross fund the existence of an Arts Centre. The hotel will be 50-60 rooms and occupy some 20% of the existing site, though definition of “20%” is yet to be confirmed. FEC said they would confirm this once possible.
- There will be a common main reception which will double as reception to the Hotel as well as the Arts Centre
- There will be some flexible, ad hoc space available for working and a feasibility study to look at more permanent workspace provision is underway
- The courtyard at the back of the building will be converted into a restaurant for the hotel to which the community will have access
- FEC are considering increasing the number of affordable residential units from the existing 4 but we do not know how many more are being considered
- Initially the residential units will not be offered to overseas investors and FEC do not anticipate allowing them to be used as serviced apartments
- There are no plans to affix prominent signage to the frontage of Hornsey Town Hall
- FEC is particularly keen to hear public feedback on the design of the square.