I've written loads of explanation here (bit.ly/myhthinfo).
This is what I thought to ask people to sign:
Join us in campaigning to save Hornsey Town Hall
After over ten years of broken promises, Hornsey Town Hall is still empty.
Mountview have postponed their occupation (due last month) for another two years.
This is almost certainly because they cannot raise the money they promised to bring with them - we don't know, almost all the facts are held in secret between Mountview and the Council.
If Mountview drop out or overstretch themselves and go bankrupt, the Council will claim they have no option other than to sell it off.
Meanwhile we're losing the £100,000/yr that Hornsey Town Hall (HTH for short) has earned in the recent past as the venue for series like BBC's 'The Hour' or ITV's 'Whitechapel'.
1) The Council to ask Mountview to become the 'anchor’ tenant occupying almost the entire rentable space.
2) To charge Mountview a reasonable rent because we want them back in Crouch End.
3) The upcoming £4m Lottery grant to be used to complete the repairs/refurb as planned by Mountview, saving the 1930’s lift and restoring/reproducing the original electrical fittings if possible.
4) The rental income eventually spent on subsidies so Crouch Enders can use our own Town Hall for our own purposes.
5) The large, rear car park (left lying empty for more than a decade) to be brought back into community use.
6) A new body to manage the campus on our behalf. The shadowy 'Creative Trust' formed to do that have been dormant for years - few here even realise they exist.
7) Full disclosure of ten year's worth of secret documents/emails etc the Council have not published concerning our Town Hall so that we can verify claims of no alternative.
8) Money raised from the sell-off of the Citizens Advice Bureau that was earmarked for HTH to be spent re-upholstering the Council Chamber seating so we can use it/rent it out.
9) Free/subsidised use offered to the Crouch End Festival Chorus, the Crouch End Festival, the Crouch End players and any local group that wants to use it.
10) Every penny spent on the Town Hall to be spent locally where possible. Things like jobs, materials, food etc to be drawn from nearby, or at least from Haringey.
We call on the people of Haringey to support us and stop the privatisation of our public assets if a way can be found for community use. Otherwise, what will be next to go?
What do you think of it?
Should we approach well-known local people first, so I can put:
Join (insert names here) in campaigning to save Hornsey Town Hall
How many signatures do I need in order to get the Council to abolish the Creative Trust and form a new body that will find new people to hire it out to pay it's way every year, end the secrecy and get local people permanently involved again?
What else should I do?
Can you please join the 'Hornsey Town Hall' Facebook group?
This is a minor point compared to the things you list above, but to add to the list, the "Old Hornseyans Association" war memorial is in the town hall and the closure of the hall means that the war memorial is not accessible to the public - some assurances about that situation would also be helpful.
Thanks Bethany - we wouldn't be here if it weren't for those immensely brave people who laid down their lives for us. There must always be a permanent memorial lest we forget.
It's not too late for them to open the Town Hall for Open House London in September - I took part in it as a guide when they last did it but since then they've refused to open it for even those two days once per year. I thought they had moved the memorial but I could be wrong.
I'll find out and get back to you. It's the least we can do in this 100th anniversary year of the start of the 1st World War.
I'll find out and get back to you.
Just found out today from the council that the War Memorial inside Hornsey Town Hall will be available to the public on 11th November, so I've created an event for Remembrance Day on this website and will update the details as soon as I get them - I imagine they'll put them on their website.
That's great news - thanks Chris!
Here is news from the Ham And High that seem to confirm our worst fears:
The 'Gateway Review' took six months and was completed, in secret, in December 2013 and has still not been seen by the public. Why would a planning service keep not only the report, but the fact that there was to be a report secret for all this time?
Here is a link to the original "non-shadowy" Hornsey Town Hall Trust:
The website is quite old now, and I think it was last updated in 2010. It might be worth trying to get hold of some of the old trustees. The business plan they developed some ten years ago was well aligned with what you have listed above, but sadly and all-too-predictably, was rejected by Harringey Council.
I'm moving back into the area in September and will be in a better position then to lend a hand (if anything can be done).
Thanks Chris - such a good first name :)
I'm very keen to understand exactly what happened so as to not repeat mistakes and to help steer a course likely to succeed as it's worked before. I approached all the local people who stepped forward to lead the last campaign. They called themselves 'Crouch End for People' (CEfP). Those trustees I could find (they all still live here) I met and offered to help bring the website up to date some time ago. They ones I was able to convince to meet me were still furious at what happened and extremely cynical that it won't happen again - most explicitly said they did not want to be re-involved.
They were very well organised and professional in their approach (10,000 leaflets delivered per weekend!) and had a really good plan (funded by local donations) on which all subsequent plans were based (without acknowledgement or payment). I don't blame them for the way they feel.
The problem with the chain of plans we all went on to pay public money paid for was that they required a chunk of extra cash that could not be found. The HTH 'Creative Trust' were told by Joe Goldberg (long term Cabinet Member for Finance and a Director of the 'Creative Trust' in the beginning) 'read my lips - no new money' (my interpretation) but did not hear it. If only they'd thought to actively rent out the campus as LBH are doing now. We'd have ten years of income to re-invest back in the campus, which is generally in excellent condition: very solidly built.
CEfP seem to have been patronised by LBH, accused of being impossible to work with and deliberately disempowered in favour of a token local group (the HTH 'Creative Trust') that LBH were confident of being able to ignore. It's true that the 'Creative Trust' met in secret and seem not even to have taken minutes of their regular Board meetings, so maybe that's evidence that LBH were content to have a source of incompetence locally they could overrule - I don't know.
CEfP probably felt so annoyed with how they were treated that the anger came across in meetings twice as hard. We can't afford to repeat that - we have to get LBH working for us, not in spite of us, whilst retaining enough power that they simply cannot take over any decision they want.
LBH probably now realise that a group of concerned, resourceful citizens can work wonders. I went to all the meetings that saw the revival of the Crouch End Festival in 2012, added some ideas and did the work of dealing with almost all the eventual participants - local people are amazing and can do anything they set their minds to!
You can do plenty - please get involved.
Here is a five-minute film of Crouch End using the Town Hall in the 1940's , spliced by CEfP with some new footage ’It’s not too late’ - shown at the first meeting (5mins)
Here are the meetings that CEfP started:
First Public Meeting 9th October 2003 (1hr 51mins)
CeFP hands in a petition 24th April 2004 (23 mins)
Second Public Meeting 29th April 2004 (1hr 53mins)
Third Public Meeting 4th November 2004 (1hr 26mins)
Fourth Public Meeting 28th April 2005 (2hr 21mins)
On Tuesday (15th July) senior Haringey Councillors are being asked to approve the recommendations of a secret report that will be used as the basis of all future decisions about Hornsey Town Hall - only three or four locals have seen it and they have chosen not to comment or share it's content.
The rest of us do not even know this report exists.
Should we ask those senior politicians to delay their decision for a month, giving us time to read the report and give feedback on it or is our opinion irrelevant?
Chris - you too have an excellent name!
That is a pretty accurate summary you have put up there, and it's good to know you have already been in touch with some folk from CEfP and the Trust (the real one).
I totally understand the anger felt by many you have spoken with, along with the cycnicism.
This business about the secret report worries me. It's like the last 12 years never happened! (I believe the Council first tried to sell off the Town Hall and grounds back in 2012, and were caught out trying to sneak that decision under the radar). I would support asking it be made public and the decision being delayed until it is properly scutinised.
Thanks Chris - what an easy-on-the-eye name you have :)
I am sure the Council are not doing this deliberately. They need help. Our help. The task seems to be to help them to help us. It starts with access to information. If we knew what they knew, we'd be able to make suggestions and recommend stuff. I reckon that, by co-operating with Planning Services (one person actually does the work I think) we could make giant strides.
Maybe we can demonstrate our credibility by securing tenants for the period up to when Mountview say they'll now move in (Sept 2016). They postponed it for two years (and didn't tell anyone) because they couldn't bring the money they promised and now they've hit on a simpler scheme - bring less money.
They've cut the money they promised from £9 to £2m - simples! the Council can't see the wood from the trees and are trying to work out how to enable Mountview to move in with £7m less. The Council rejected the 2004 plans Crouch Enders drew up because of a much smaller shortfall, so I think it's now game on - we can take back the arts centre we were promised.
How much is the building worth as a rental space, exactly? The main building is in excellent condition - every floor is usable. Know any estate agents who could market it effectively (waiving their fees in a gesture of community spirit of course)? Know any organisations the community would welcome (ideally with a Crouch End connection) who would like to be in the centre of our town?
So, should we try to find tenants who want even a small part of the campus for two years?
as one of the many people who have taken part in the various campaigns over several years to reopen the Hornsey Town Hall, I'd like to thank you, Chris Setz, for your efforts now and pledge my active support in any way I can help the continuing years of inactivity have been so frustrating apart from getting a tenant NOW, Crouch End is full of groups who would be happy to use parts of the building on a temporary/permanent regular/irregular basis we had helpful co-operation in the 4 years (1998-2001) I ran the Crouch End (Community Arts and our Environment) Festival