MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
Meeting in All Bar One in Crouch End for a drink with a local group called Crouch End for People. They are a group who were born in a fight against a CPZ proposal by Haringey Council who held a huge public meeting.
Although that issue went away (rejected) they have maintained that they have a mandate to speak on anything concerning Crouch End, in this instance the future of Hornsey Town Hall. There is another group called ‘Friends of Hornsey Town Hall who are composed of cross-party local councillors and are also working on proposals for the Town Hall with the council and local people.
Although as far as I can see both the two groups both want the Town Hall to be developed as a community facility for arts and help – there is divergence about the car park, the possibility of a new school on the site and a few other issues on which they have not been able to resolve their differences to date.
I have offered both groups my expertise on transport issues – as whatever gets developed it is crucial to get the public transport, car access and travel planning right from the beginning.
It is a really good meeting and they are excellent people, who as far as I can see just want something really good to come out of this and who have been scared of anything Labour-run Haringey Council produces (rightly in my view).
I do explain, however, that when it comes to funding, no funding agency will fund a divided project and will not back a freelance ad-hoc group. So my advice is unequivocally for the groups to unite.
There is only one key point of difference which comes out in our talks really – and that is the development of the car park. I give them my view that the car park is not something either group should be focusing on anyway. The first priority is to work out what is to be provided on the site and that will dictate to a great extent the transport needs of that site. There may or may not be a need for some car parking – and if there is and there is room it should be provided. Equally, if the idea is to attract a 1,000 people on a night to a theatre or whatever, the site could not sustain a car access emphasis.
So I leave them with the advice to join forces and move forward together – that way I think Hornsey Town Hall could be developed as a fabulous resource both for the local community in Crouch End and the wider area.