As the council’s procurement process continues, we thought it would be helpful to remind everyone of the community requirements at the heart of the process and also the role that Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust (HTHCT) continues to play.
HTHCT is a buildings preservation trust which was set up in 2007 to work towards finding a long-term, sustainable solution for this historically-important building. Many of its members, all local residents and volunteers, were involved in the project long before the formation of the Trust, either as part of Crouch End for People, as members of an Advisory Panel to Haringey Council (LBH) and subsequently the HTH Community Partnership Board. The Trust has always had Crouch End ward councillors as members and they are currently Natan Doron and Sarah Elliott.
It has long been the Trust’s view that the most productive way forward is to try and influence the council’s decision making over the future of the Town Hall by working with the council whilst continuing to lobby hard for long-term community access and use of the building. It is also imperative that sufficient investment from the sale of the land to the rear of the Town Hall is committed to fully restore the Grade II* listed building (it has long been on Historic England’s Buildings at Risk Register) but also make it fit for purpose in the 21st century.
HTHCT’s legal responsibilities
In June 2015, Haringey Council’s cabinet took the decision to engage in a formal procurement process for Hornsey Town Hall. This is a detailed, complex, confidential and long process, and, because of the scale of the project, governed by European procurement rules. In order to take part in the process, each individual member of HTHCT has had to sign a formal confidentiality agreement and must abide by the legal requirements in that agreement. We understand that is it unprecedented for a group such as ours (i.e. local, community volunteers) to be involved in a confidential procurement process in this way and we are pleased to have achieved this role on behalf of the community.
Community access and uses
Haringey Council has repeatedly stated its commitment to finding an appropriate long term solution for the Town Hall and has also restated its promise to ensure that community access and use is a key part of the solution.
It has also promised:
• The Town Hall Square will remain in the public realm as a fantastic, publicly accessible space at the heart of the community
• There will be no housing or large-scale development on the green
These guarantees will be written into legal agreements with the preferred bidder.
HTHCT was closely involved in the process of drawing up the council tender documents for the Town Hall which relate to community access and use. Much of HTCT’s input was based on the informal consultations undertaken by the Trust over the years, the most recent of which took place in May 2015 [Our Consultation – Hornsey Town Hall’s future].
The Trust is also a member of the evaluation panel that is scoring the community access and use parts of the bids. Each section of the bids is being scored by expert panels overseen by independent legal advisers. The overall final score will be the total of the scores for each section.
HTHCT has agreed with the Haringey that the ‘public access and community use’ has an usually high weighting in the overall scoring of tenders, giving the bidders the clear signal that this is a vital ‘deliverable’ for the community (and the council).
Whatever solution is found for the future use of the Town Hall, the Trust is also committed to ensuring that there are robust mechanisms in place which will ensure that community use and access is ensured for future generations. In terms of a sustainable business plan, HTHCT agrees with the council that this is vital to ensure long term viability of the HTH public access and community use operations. They are inextricably tied in to the long term viability of the whole development in the absence of ongoing council funding or investment in HTH.
Community access and use tender requirements
Community access and use has been broadly defined as follows:
o Community access: publicly accessible space free at point of entry; and
o Community use: space made available at non-commercial rates for given periods to members of the public to use
Bidders are required to demonstrate how their proposals will ensure sustainable cultural, community and other activities in the Town Hall in the long term. We expect these to be both commercial and community activities. We also expect bidders to show how they will work with the community and outline a proposed governance model(s) which guarantee a wide range of community representation.
We also want the current, very popular interim community uses to be provided for as long as possible until refurbishment on the Town Hall starts.
Long term public access and community use is one section of many to which bidders have been asked to respond. Bidders have to fulfil many financial criteria to ensure there are adequate resources to refurbish the Town Hall. The HTH project should be a holistic and comprehensive development and operational solution that will generate the requisite capital and revenue returns (across the Town Hall and wider site) to ensure a long term sustainable future for the Town Hall.
Underpinning the procurement process are the following principles:
A development sensitive to heritage and conservation, informed by a ‘place making’ approach, to create a high quality scheme that enhances a key part of the district centre of Crouch End.
support economic development…
A development that creates job opportunities and encourages inward investment into the local area.
commercially sound and deliverable…
A development that is viable, deliverable and sustainable in the long term.
delivers a strong community focus…
A development that provides high quality and accessible space for the use and enjoyment of the wider public and local community, which hosts a desire to play an active role in the future of the property.
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