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.

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.

Planning – Overshadowing

Hornsey Town Hall is a Grade II* listed building and there is very clear guidance that such buildings should sit in a context which shows them off to good advantage. Part of the planning proposal put forward by FEC is to create a 7 storey tower block behind the town hall. FEC argue that this neither detracts from the setting of the Town Hall, nor does it unreasonably overshadow neighbours.

 

Overshadowing
Not everyone agrees. The Weston and Haringey Parks Residents’ Association , for instance has gone to the trouble of producing its own 3D modelling of the extent of shadows around the proposed monoliths, and has included them in its objection to the planning application. One of the images is included here but they have several more at different times of day
To accompany their computer modelled images they have text which includes:
The new buildings occupy too much of the site, are built too close to the boundaries, and the large footprint has left no room for the Heritage buildings to “breathe”. The “canyon” effect which was the concern of the planners has not been addressed between Blocks A and B. 
In addition, there is a detrimental effect on existing neighbours: The Mews block is built very close to the boundary, causing issues with overlooking and Block A towers above Primezone Mews. The proposed development has an impact on daylight and sunlight for adjoining neighbours, both within their properties and also on their amenity spaces. There is also an impact on available daylight and sunlight within the development itself.”
They go on to question whether the developer has followed best practice in drawing up his modelling of the daylight effects:
We believe this scheme flaunts good practice guidelines in relation to overshadowing of its neighbour’s amenity spaces and in relation to daylight and sunlight across the development. We have done our own 3D modelling to show this, attached at the end of this letter. We want the applicant to provide all year round accurate 3D daylight modelling for the site and surrounding streets, to show the effect of overshadowing throughout the year

 

Visual Impact
Also worth noting is the decision of Haringey’s own planning department from 2014, that is after the previous planning permission was granted for the Town Hall, that a fourth storey on the building which now houses Superdrug, and Waterstones, would be too tall because of its impact on the local views.

Haringey’s own planning officer produced this report for the Planning Committee  

The scheme was for a single extra floor on the block adjacent to Dunn’s (Superdrug, Waterstone’s). it was turned down – here is the comment from the then Conservation Officer

  • Overall, the proposal is judged to be harmful to the conservation area and the setting of the adjacent listed building and thus be contrary to the NPPF, London Plan Policies 7.4, 7.6 and 7.8, Local Plan Policies SP11 and SP12, saved UDP Policies UD3and CSV5 and SPG1a ‘Design guidance’ and SPG2 ‘Conservation and archaeology’.
  • Saved UDP Policy UD3 states that development proposals are required to demonstrate that there is no significant adverse impact on residential amenity or other surrounding uses in terms of loss of daylight or sunlight, privacy, overlooking. Similarly London Plan Policy 7.6 requires buildings and structures should not cause unacceptable harm to the amenity of surrounding land and buildings, particularly residential buildings, in relation to privacy.
 
If you feel strongly that these are valid objections to the proposed tower blocks you can comment directly here on the Haringey planning website. The comments section also gives you the opportunity to support the proposals, or just to have your say.
If you want to read the full proposals for yourself then the very many documents are here.
There is no limit to the number of comments you can make on the Haringey website, so go ahead now with a complaint about, a comment on or support for the mass of the buildings proposed. As we publish more in this series of notes you can submit further comments.

HTHAS Open Letter Asking For Mayoral Call-In

The following letter to Dean Hermitage, Planning Dept at LBH:

Dear Dean Hermitage,

There is currently a suite of planning applications under consultation for Hornsey Town Hall (see the list at the foot of the page).  We, the Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society, believe that this is a development of strategic importance and should have been referred by Haringey for Mayoral consideration.  We further believe that the nature of the application, and the context within which it sits, mean that Haringey, as Local planning Authority, should approach the Mayor for a direction under section 7 of the The Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2008 to the effect that the Mayor should in this case replace the Local Planning Authority. 

Our reasons for requesting the referral are:

1) the scheme anyway qualifies for referral because of the number of habitable units proposed. There is no definition in the application how the ‘hotel’ will work. There is no reception and no dedicated catering. It does not look like a hotel. There is nothing in the application to prevent the future sale of these units to investors. Therefore the 67 self contained living units inside the Town Hall should be treated as potentially permanent homes, and when added to the 146 dwellings in the enabling scheme, bring the scheme beyond the 150 needed for a mayoral call in.

2) Hornsey Town Hall is a building of real significance, listed Grade II*. Every scheme ever put forward for the Hall has described it as an ‘Arts Centre for Crouch End, the borough and beyond’, and the designated buildings preservation trust is calling for a “world class renaissance’. Haringey’s assessment  of the scheme as purely local, thereby excusing an Environmental Impact Assessment, feels wrong, and suggests that it will be difficult for the planning department to remain objective in the current context.

3) Under category 3E of the Mayor of London order 2008, the application should be referred because:

·         it fails to meet affordable housing targets (policy 3.11)

·         it removes much office space currently in use, where there is a demonstrable demand for more – ANA has a waiting list for such space (policy 4.2)

·         it heavily weights what should be a mixed use development in favour of residential (policy 4.3)

·         both the hotel at 2,689 sq metres, and the D1/D2 use at 3,162 sq metres, exceed the specified threshold of 2,500 sq metre.

The reasons for requesting that the Mayor replace the LPA are:

1) Under section 3(a) of the order this scheme does not achieve a sufficient level of affordable housing;

2) Whilst Haringey has plans for higher levels of affordable housing in future developments it is not currently achieving the necessary level;

3) The scheme is in breach of the terms of the OJEU procurement bid, in which it was stated that an earlier planning application would be implemented with only minor amendments. This 2010 permission had 4 units of affordable housing. This does not meet the overall Haringey target for affordable housing. The applicant has now stated in a completely new application, that there will be no affordable housing. There are further breaches of the OJEU agreement, including the dropping of the 4* hotel, and the creation of an Arts Centre, for which no business plan has yet been provided;

4) Under section 7(1)(c) of the 2008 Order there are sound planning reasons for a call-in. The LPA must not only remain impartial, but must be seen to be impartial. Crouch End’s councillors have now published an open letter which suggests a state of disorder in respect of the application, which needs to be rectified. Haringey’s cabinet has twice voted for the scheme in the face of call-ins. Disciplinary action against Labour councillors involved in a the call-in sets a context in which it will be very difficult to select a neutral and objective planning committee to consider the application;

5) There are a number of factors in the Mayor’s Supplementary Planning Guidance “Homes for Londoners” published this month, which point to the need for a call-in. The councillors open letter makes clear that the ward councillors have not examined the viability figures and were unaware of the assumptions the developer was making. The figures in the Economic Viability Assessment have , by chance, become public, which is fortuitously in line with the Mayor’s guidance. However these figures have been seriously called into question for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to:

·         inappropriate comparators for sale prices which refer to Muswell Hill and Hornsey, while prices in Crouch End are higher

·         inappropriate comparators for rental income – it is absurd to suggest that Hornsey Town Hall is in anyway comparable to the Ministry of Sound, yet a notional rent greater than that of the nightclub has been used to calculate the community use subsidy

·         vague references to the proposed investment in the restoration of the Town Hall – while the headline figure of £27m (sometimes quoted as £29m) appears impressive it may well be that around £13m of this is actually being invested in building the hotel.

We therefore believe that the scheme should now be referred for mayoral consideration and that the mayor should replace Haringey as the LPA. .

While this request is addressed to the Head of Development Management at the London Borough of Haringey we propose to publish it as an open letter on various websites, and to send a copy to local newspapers, the Mayor’s office and others of influence.

Yours,

Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society

HTHAS Open Letter Re Mayoral Call-In