|In the press 2010
For past press cuttings please click on the relevant year 2003, 2004, 2005
Town hall's past on film
11 nov 2010 | Hornsey Journal
THE inside of Hornsey Town Hall was been frozen in time in an exhibition to mark the building’s 75th anniversary.
Artist Roelof Bakker, of Rosebery Gardens, Crouch End, showcased a series of photographs revealing the art deco venue’s backstage features. The iconic building was officially opened in 1935.
He said: “It is now 75 years later and the building still holds a place close to the heart of the local community. I’m celebrating the building’s past, present and future. The project is a personal exploration of the building’s interior spaces.”
The STILL exhibition in the town hall’s normally private rooms, off The Broadway, Crouch End, closed on Sunday.
Alongside the photographs of the now disused office spaces, Mr Bakker showed videos re-enacting the workings of the town hall. He said: “Office doors creak, drawers slam and in the Assembly Hall an excerpt from John Ireland’s The Darkened Valley is performed by a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the battered out-of-tune grand piano.”
Hornsey Town Hall celebrates 75th anniversary
4th Nov 2010 | Ham & High
Exhibition gives public a chance to see the Grade II-Listed building from a by-gone era Charlotte Newton NORTH Londoners will have a chance to glimpse the unexplored interiors of Hornsey Town Hall and imagine what it looked like in times gone by, as part of an exhibition to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
The exhibition, called Still, will feature film footage of the interiors of the Grade IIListed building in Crouch End Broadway, and photographs of objects and artefacts which have been found inside.
Crouch End resident and designer Roelof Bakker, 45, spent 10 days exploring the building with unlimited access after being bowled over by its beauty during an Open House Weekend last year.
Mr Bakker, of Rosebury Gardens, explained: “The project became like a meditative experience because there is a stillness to the building. I wanted to breathe some life back into it and took photos.
“I stumbled into things by accident but all the objects I photographed I found in the building. “Inaway it became a reflection of how quickly time passes and things becomes obsolete.
“The building feels unloved at the moment but I think it will be the most amazing place again in the community; it needs a bit of love and attention so that it can become a focus for the area.”
Among the discoveries that Mr Bakker made was a poster, dated 1943, detailing a sexual health campaign that the council was running after a spate of problems with sexually transmitted diseases in the area. Seen as one of the finest examples of architecture from the 1930s, the town hall staged events of all kinds including dances, school prize-givings and even the rock band Queen’s first concert, in 1971.
It ceased to be a civic centre when Hornsey Borough Council was abolished and the London Borough of Haringey was created in 1963 and the town hall functions were transferred to Wood Green.
Only parts of the building have been used since, primarily as office spaces.
When Haringey Council decided it no longer needed the building, residents campaigned for it to be retained for community use, and the Community Partnership Board was formed. This is made up of council officials and residents.
The Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust (HTHCT), a corporate charity was also created, with a view to it eventually running and managing the town hall. In July this year a £16million development plan of the town hall was finally given the green light.
Haringey’s planning committee voted unanimously to allow the conversion of the building into an “arts hub” and community facility, funded by the building of 123 residential units in and around the site. The award-winning architects behind Camden’s new-look Roundhouse, John McAslan and Partners, have been appointed to carry out the refurbishment.
Works on the site could begin in 2011 with a range of cultural spaces, community facilities, a theatre and a restaurant or bar installed in the building. The council, which currently owns the site, has put £7million of funding forward for the scheme.
It is expected this will be recouped by the sale of the land for the new homes. Responsibility will then be handed to HTHCT, who will need to raise a further £3million for the rest of the works.
Ann Wilks, chairwoman of the Partnership Board and the HTHCT, said: “Seventy-five years after the opening of the Town Hall, we look forward to delivering a future that lives up to its past, revives this civic jewel and revitalises the heart of Crouch End.”
‘Still’ will be on at Hornsey Town Hall (rear entrance), via Weston Park, N8, on Thursday November 4, for a private viewing from 18.30-21.00; Friday November 5, from 10.30-16.00; Saturday November 6, 10.30- 16.00; and Sunday November 7, from 12.00-16.30.
Green proposals could spoil public use of open space16 June 2010 | Ham & High online | Full page pdf
THE Town Hall square in Crouch End is a unique green space, in front of the old Hornsey Town Hall. The design is based on a Dutch Town Hall design, at Hilversum.
As a local landscape architect and planner, I have noted current proposals with concern. Under these the green is to be ‘modernised’, by slicing a diagonal path, through a space and two other routes, at right angles.
This is a popular green with local people. The scale of the site means these paths would make it difficult to enjoy the green, as currently used for picnic and toddler play.
The proposals could even impact on the character and integrity of the local conservation area once new paths are created. The Green’s contribution to the conservation area was recognised in the draft planning brief for the site in December 2004.
Already English Heritage have raised concerns on a proposal to excavate in an area of archaeological interest – arising from the remains of an ancient settlement, on which the green is sited.
The outcome case may be decided at the Haringey planning committee, provisionally on July 12, and I would advise those with views, to attend. In addition, kindly consider writing quoting: Hornsey Town Hall App. Ref:HGY/2010/0500 to: Haringey Council, Planning and Regeneration, 639 High Road, London N17 8BD
CMLI , Landscape Architect and Planner and Open Spaces Society member, Hornsey Rise Gardens, N19
Have a look round Hornsey Town Hall16 June 2010 | Hornsey Journal online | Full page pdf
NOSY neighbours can take a virtual tour around the abandoned halls and derelict art deco interiors of Hornsey Town Hall before refurbishment work gets underway.
Snapper Will Pearson described the iconic building as the "Marie Celeste" of Crouch End after taking stunning 360 degree photos of its empty halls, council chambers and boardrooms to capture its crumbling 1920s spirit.
The 36-year-old, of Nightingale Lane, Hornsey, who has also photographed City Hall and The Gherkin, said: "I've always loved art deco architecture and being a Crouch Ender for the last 12 years or so meant that I had always admired the town hall and had been very keen to get inside and photograph it. I've always enjoyed exploring abandoned and derelict places."
An £18million scheme to build a new theatre, studio space, bars and housing inside the town hall begins soon.
The panoramic photos were taken by "stitching" together a series of up to 45 separate images. You can view the results at www.eyerevolution.co.uk/tours/hornsey-townhall/.
An exhibition on the town hall plans will take place this Saturday (June 19), from 11am-noon, at Hornsey Library, in Haringey Park.
Don't spoil our jewel in the crown9 June 2010 | Hornsey Journal online |
MARK Twain, the American writer once famously said: "Buy land... they're their not making any more".
This observation could be applied to the proposed 123-flat development to be build on the car parks and roads of our jewel in the crown Hornsey Town Hall.
There's nothing like it in the whole of civic north London. To let it fall into disrepair is a civic crime of the highest order that's never been rectified in 40 years by our Labour dominated council.
For years ideas have been flying about as to the value of the site. In truth to the residents of Crouch End it is a pearl beyond price. They don't want to lose its angular beauty behind a carbuncle of apartment blocks greed.
I think this is an issue that the people of Haringey will take to the streets for.
Peter Floyd, Ferme Park Road, N8.
Last call for questions as ballot looms6 May 2010 | Ham & High online | Full page pdf
..."Things turned local when one questioner expressed his - and the community's - concerns about the proposed redevelopment of Hornsey Town Hall, saying there was not enough parking or social housing and that the previously proposed cinema now looked unlikely.
Ms Featherstone said she would call for a review following community concerns, while Ms Jennings said movement forward was needed and that environmentally a development without a car park could be a good thing.
The idea of a parking-free development was echoed by Mr McAskie, who added there should be more social housing and more carbon-saving methods implemented.
Mr Merrin attacked the consultation methods of Haringey Council.
Independent Mr De Roche said he did not know where the Town Hall was - raising perhaps the biggest laugh of the night."...
Click here to read the whole article
Candidates challenged over town hall scheme6 May 2010 | Hornsey Journal online | Full page pdf
POLITICAL candidates nailed their colours to the mast as they were challenged about growing anger over Hornsey Town Hall development plans.
Residents' groups have condemned the loss of community parking and an art house cinema since plans for the historic art deco town hall in Crouch End were first unveiled last year.
The rising height of new flats and the low proportion of social housing in the scheme has also sparked anger.
Liberal Democrat candidate Lynne Featherstone called for a review at the Greig City Academy hustings in Hornsey last Wednesday. She said: "There's no provision for social housing and there's no parking. Both of those things are relatively crucial and therefore I think it probably is right to call for a review of these plans so that the people can have their say."
Four four-bedroom social houses are included in the scheme. The plans, drawn up by Haringey Council and the Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust, are up for public consultation. Labour candidate Karen Jennings highlighted the need to bring the "stunning building within our midst" back into use after years standing empty. She said: "This is such a beautiful building it's going to cost a lot to restore it and that means there's got to be some pay off in the way you do it."
Green candidate Pete McAskie backed a car-free development but said housing should be built for the future, not for the 20th century.
Conservative candidate Richard Merrin refused to condemn car free schemes but added "car parking in Crouch End is absolutely impossible".
Independent candidate Stephane De Roche triggered a rowdy response when he admitted "I don't know exactly where is the location?".
Architect Anthony Charnley, chairman of the resident-led Hornsey Town Hall Trust, said: "Haringey's proposals for the Town Hall have ignored the findings of the consultation. Local people wanted a cinema, low rise development. The scheme has only a hint of a cinema, no community parking and five or six storeys of development.
Empty Town Hall’s high upkeep costs29 April 2010 |Ham & High online | Full page pdf
Overall bill since the big move out in 2003 reaches £565,000 Rhiannon Evans
NEARLY half a million pounds has been spent
maintaining Hornsey Town Hall since
Haringey Council began vacating it five years
ago, a Broadway investigation can reveal.
Despite no council departments remaining
in the Crouch End white elephant and the
Citizen’s Advice Bureau occupying just one
small area of the building, in 2009/10
Haringey Council spent £74,300 providing
electricity, heating, security and caretaking at
More than £25,000 of that went on heating
and gas for the huge building – dramatically
more than the £7,600 spent in 2003/04 when
the site was actually fully occupied.
More was also spent lighting it in 2009/10
than in 2003 to 2005, before departments
began vacating the site.
The largest bill – an astonishing £92,400 –
came in 2008/09 when just one department
remained in the building.
These amazing figures can be revealed as
residents are being consulted on plans to
redevelop the empty Grade II-listed building
into a cultural and community hub, including
performance venues, bars, offices and
A development of 123 residential properties will also be built to bankroll the project.
Haringey Council, which owns the building,
announced it was surplus to requirements in
2003. Following an outcry from the community
a number of consultations took place to try
and ensure it was redeveloped for the community’s
Since then a number of the rooms, such as
the huge auditorium and council chamber have
remained closed off from the public and began
Haringey Council is understood to have
contributed a £7.1million advance towards the
project, on the condition this will be paid back
by the Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust,
which is due to take over the running of the site
once renovation is complete.
Chairwoman of the trust Ann Wilks said the
figures showed the pressing nature of getting
the empty building back into use.
She said: “We are keen to see the Town Hall
brought back to use as quickly as possible to
benefit of the community and the building.”
The Broadway asked the council how much
was spent on electricity, gas, security and
caretaking since plans to vacate the building
were mooted in 2003 – this bill is £565,900.
In 2003/04 and 2004/05 before staff began to leave, the council spent more than £69,000
and £76,000 on the upkeep of the building.
In 2005/06 Streetscene and Haringey Homes and Building Services left – and yet in
2006/07 the bill for maintaining the building rose to £88,900.
During 2007/08, three more departments
left the building, leaving only the facilities
management team at the site.
But in 2008/09, despite only the facilities
management department also moving out during that year, a staggering £92,400 was spent on the building’s upkeep – the largest figure in seven-year span we uncovered. This year also included the largest payout on
heating and gas, with the bill coming in at
Crouch End councillor Dave Winskill said:
“These are extraordinary figures.
“Although it’s wise to ‘keep the building
warm’ to stop any risk of deterioration through
bad weather, it really seems that they have simply
left the boiler going without any real regard
for the small number of officers occupying the
A council spokeswoman said: “While the
building is in the council’s ownership, it is sensible to keep a limited staff presence at Hornsey Town Hall.
“This presence has an important role in preserving and securing the building until its
long term future is secured.”
Town hall revamp delay fears over ancient remains29 April 2010 | Hornsey Journal online | Full page pdf
THE remains of a medieval settlement thought to lie beneath Hornsey Town Hall could delay works to revamp the venue.
English Heritage has demanded that if plans to build flats and refurbish the interiors with new bars, a theatre and studio space are given the go-ahead, a full archaeological investigation must take place.
Kim Stabler, archaeology advisor for the conservation body, said: "The proposed development may affect remains of archaeo-logical importance," adding that construction should not start until a dig has taken place.
Her letter explains there was a medieval settlement in Crouch End and the Town Hall site borders a medieval road. By the 14th century, the land formed part of a manorial estate and early maps show it had been built on by the 1760s, although the date could be earlier.
This led English Heritage to recommend excavation should take place before any building work begins, to ensure any significant archaeological finds can be properly recorded.
Meanwhile critics have launched an attack on the £18mil-lion scheme, blasting the move to double housing provision since the first plans were unveiled.
Architectural historian Professor Lynda Nead, of Mayfield Road, said the six-storey building, which was originally proposed to be three storeys, would "not only overshadow the town hall building (a conservation site) but would also carry enormous implications in terms of the pressures on the local area".
And dropping plans for a purpose built cinema have also not proved popular with residents, who claimed it was one of few proposals which won "overwhelming support" from the community.
Yanti Windrich, of Tottenham Lane, said: "Improve the way the residents live in the area by encouraging us to stay in Crouch End for a night out. A cinema is one of the best ways of doing this as it can cater for all ages."
The ambitious plans do, however, provide a restored council chamber for events, exhibition space, an outdoor arts arena and a theatre for films, plays, dance and sports.
Liz Sich, of the Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust which is behind the plans, said the design of the new flats is "respectful of sunlight and daylight issues of neighbouring properties", and its height was never proposed to be as low as three storeys.
She added: "The current plans do not preclude plans for a cinema. The Trust is still working on its business plan and we have been and will continue to talk to cinema operators and try to come up with a financially viable solution.
Still time to have your say on Hornsey Town Hall15 April 2010 |Ham & High online | Print clipping | Full page pdf
RESIDENTS are being reassured there is still time for them to have their say on the planned redevelopment of Hornsey Town Hall.
Some residents have received warnings that the consultation on the redevelopment of the Crouch End building ended on April 8 and that they will not have the chance to have their say if they missed the deadline.
However, a spokesman for Haringey Council confirmed this was not the case.
A formal public consultation period - which is statutorily required to last 21 days - did end on April 8, but as the development is so large, the council have pledged to consider any public comments sent in before a planning decision meeting in mid to late June.
An exhibition at Hornsey library, detailing the plans, will also remain in place until the decision meeting, said a spokeswoman from the Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust.
You can still have your say by writing to the council's planning department or going to www.haringey.gov.uk