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Arts operator announced for Hornsey Town Hall

FEC has just released this press release about the appointment of the arts operator for Hornsey Town Hall as well as the appointment of its first two partners, Jon Gilchrist and Musion.

We believe the greatly-anticipated appointment of Time + Space as well as Jon Gilchrist, former Director at the Bush Theatre, and Musion, is very welcome as is the intention to work closely with local arts providers such as The ArtHouse Crouch End.   We’ve always believed that Hornsey Town Hall has the potential to become a truly vibrant and exciting centre for the arts and the community, and are pleased to see the appointment of an experienced operator. We are looking forward to hearing about the potential programme and the way the community and local culture organisations can play its part. The operator will be observing the Community Use Agreement which the HTHCT lobbied hard to have included in the eventual lease.


HTH Planning Application published

The planning application for the regeneration of Hornsey Town Hall, the residential development to its rear, and the Broadway Annexe has been published.   There are very many documents which can all be accessed here by going to:

In the Simple Search box, enter the following application numbers.  Then click on the application number in the left hand column to open the list of documents – you’ll need to scroll down.

The deadline for comments is Tuesday 5 September 2017.

HGY/2017/2220  (the main Hornsey Town Hall submission)

HGY/2017/2222 (Listed Building Consent)

HGY/2017/2223 (Broadway Annexe)

Alternatively, these links should work:

HTHCT will be submitting formal comments in due course.






The need to repair and restore Hornsey Town Hall

Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust (HTHCT) trustees went to the Development Management Forum at the Earl Haig Hall on Monday evening, 10 July.   There were clearly many concerns from local residents about the scale and density of the residential development which will no doubt be debated and, hopefully, addressed in the coming weeks.

However, what we felt was missing from the meeting was an explanation of where we find ourselves in terms of the repair, restoration and refurbishment of Hornsey Town Hall.

Haringey Council has been looking for a long-term solution for Hornsey Town Hall for almost two decades.  The Grade II* listed building has been on Historic England’s Heritage At Risk register for 17 years now;  it was first listed as At Risk in 2000.  The condition of Hornsey Town Hall is described as “poor” and subject to “slow decay”.

It is estimated that it will cost at least £10 million to repair Hornsey Town Hall just to a standard that gets it off the At Risk register.    That’s money that Haringey Council simply doesn’t have, even more so in the light of the present cuts to local government.

As we heard on Monday, there’s water ingress in the Assembly Hall, there is no proper disabled access to the building, the brick work is cracking, there’s asbestos in its structure, and the beautiful Council Chamber needs to be restored to its full, former glory.   And there’s a host of other problems with the building.    Beyond that, it needs further investment to turn the historic parts of the building into an arts centre with, crucially, a sustainable future.

That is why the residential units to the rear of the Town Hall are the enabling development that will provide the investment to restore HTH.    This, and the restoration of the Town Hall, was at the heart of the planning consent that was granted in 2010.   FEC’s current plans are at

At last night’s meeting, people also questioned both the community’s desire for and business case for a hotel in the building.    One gentleman referred to a consultation that showed a tiny percentage of people were in favour of a hotel.   That consultation was undertaken by HTHCT in May 2015 and appended to the report that went to Cabinet later that year.   Three hundred and thirty two people responded; the first question was:

What is your aspiration for community use and access at Hornsey Town Hall?

Please tell us overall how you imagine being able to use and access the town hall in the future?

The overwhelming percentage of people, 27.68%, wanted arts and creative uses in HTH with a further 22.64% wanting community facilities.   This was closely followed by educational opportunities and business space.   Yes, very few wanted HTH to be used solely as a hotel but what is clear from all the financial planning that has been undertaken over the years is that a financial driver – an anchor tenant – is needed to secure the future of this historic building, alongside arts and community use.    That financial driver is the hotel sited in the less historic parts of the building.   And arts and community use is what FEC, in partnership with a still-to-be-appointed arts operator, is obliged to deliver as part of the development agreement signed with Haringey Council.   You can read the whole report here 150608_hth_community_use_and_access_paper2.

Underpinning this is the Community Use Agreement (CUA) Hornsey_Town_Hall_Community_Use_Agreement_2017 which guarantees a minimum of 60% of community and arts use throughout the year, which will be overseen and safeguarded by a Steering Group comprising ward councillors, the arts operator, a representative from FEC, a representative from HTHCT, and members of community groups.  This Steering Group, which will meet quarterly, will be formed six months before the doors of HTH open again.  Many people have commented that the CUA is too broad but it is, at this stage of the project, a legally-binding document that sets out the core principles under which both FEC and the arts operator will work.  To make the arts and community centre viable, there has to be the right mix of arts, community and commercial uses, just as there is in ANA’s (Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre) current model.

Finally, many people have questioned the need for a hotel in Crouch End since the news was announced last September.   First, the hotel rooms, as was explained last night, will be in the basement and at the rear (mostly sited in the spaces that were designated residential spaces in the 2010 planning consent) of the Town Hall.   Second, we asked FEC why they thought a hotel would work in Crouch End; they expect 60% of their bookings will come from short stays; 40% will comprise people who work in London during the week and need somewhere to stay, and who will return home at the weekend.

We hope that local people,  in responding to the planning application which is due to be submitted later this month, will bear in mind the community’s overwhelming wish to see Hornsey Town Hall fully repaired and restored.   There is still much work to be done on the proposals and FEC needs to respond properly and openly to community concerns about the enabling development and other issues raised at the Development Management Forum.

We will be submitting our own formal response to the planning application in our role as the HTH buildings preservation trust once those plans are published.

FEC drop-in sessions – dates announced – and Development Management Forum

FEC is holding two more drop-in sessions where it will present its final proposals ahead of its planning submission and following responses to comments received at the previous exhibition in May.

Both are at Hornsey Town Hall on

Thursday 6 July between 4.00pm and 8.00pm

Saturday 8 July between midday and 4.00pm

FEC’s leaflet which will be distributed to 10,000 homes is here: July_2017_Hornsey_Town_Hall_sessions

Haringey Council has scheduled a Development Management Forum on the proposals for Hornsey  Town Hall.   This will be on Monday 10 July (7.00pm) at Earl Haig Hall, 18 Elder Avenue, N8 9TH.

Here’s a link:


FEC announces dates for Hornsey Town Hall drop-in sessions

FEC has organised two dates later this month for drop-in sessions to discuss the proposals for the community and arts spaces at Hornsey Town Hall.

The sessions are on Saturday 20 May (10.00am-4.00pm) and Tuesday 23 May (2.00pm-5.00pm and 6.00pm-9.00pm) in Hornsey Town Hall (N8 9JJ).

A link to the leaflet which is being distributed to households in Crouch End (it also contains contact details if you can’t make it) is here: Hornsey_Town_Hall_drop_in-session-invite_May_2017pdf





Hornsey Town Hall

We’ve been asked a number times if the Trust has considered making a bid for the Town Hall.

The answer is, of course, yes; many times over many years.

As part of the background work for the planning consent granted in 2010, we explored, with the help of two firms of arts and heritage business planners (David Pratley Associates and Bonnar Keenlyside), the viability of a mixed-use scheme for Hornsey Town Hall, i.e. one without a single anchor tenant who would take responsibility for the lease, the restoration and the ongoing maintenance of the Town Hall.  Then again we worked with Haringey Council and specialist consultants on an options’ appraisal exercise once the Mountview bid had ended.  The assumption, then as now, was that the enabling development (i.e. the sale of flats and houses) sited in the car park to the rear of the Town Hall would fund, in part at least, the restoration of HTH.  The question remained, of course, of who was going to have the financial resources not just to take on this multi-million pound project but see it through to completion and beyond.

When the Trust was formed in 2007, our priority was to ensure not just a fully-restored Town Hall but also an improved Town Hall, one that was fit-for-purpose and had a long-term future with guaranteed community and arts use.  All specialist estimates state that it will cost around £10million just to get the Town Hall off the Heritage England At Risk register.  That’s just basic restoration, not the cost of fitting the Town Hall out so that it can be used to its full potential which will cost substantially more.

Once the Mountview bid halted in early 2015, Haringey Council, after undertaking a detailed options appraisal, decided to formally procure for a developer/operator solution with the aim of securing an organisation that had the financial clout to complete the project whilst committing to arts and community use.  The multi-million pound value of the scheme meant that procurement had to be conducted according to OJEU (official journal of the European Union) rules.  We lobbied the Council to be part of that confidential procurement on the grounds that we would have more success securing long-term community and arts use and appropriate restoration if we were inside the process rather than excluded from it.

We need to remember that there will be an investment of £27million in the restoration and fitting out of Hornsey Town Hall, that there will be community and arts use of the historic parts of the Town Hall run by a specialist arts operator, cross-subsidy from the hotel operation to sustain community and arts activities, a mechanism for ensuring the voices of the community are heard, and an improved and fully accessible Town Hall Square.

Now is the time to work as hard as we can to make sure that the future of Hornsey Town Hall delivers for the people of Crouch End and Haringey. That’s what the Creative Trust will be doing. You can get involved too by going to and sharing your thoughts and comments.