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In another major development…….

On 15th and 26th November I attended meetings – the first called by Lynne Featherstone, and the second hosted by Haringey’s planners – to discuss and seek views on the proposed Hornsey Depot redevelopment by St James.  Things are moving towards a decision by Haringey (see below) and it’s quite clear that feelings remain very mixed about this scheme….

To remind everyone, St James and Sainsbury’s have submitted a planning application for the redevelopment of the site – situated off Hornsey High Street – to include (in very brief summary) the following:

  • 438 residential apartments, of which 42% (178) will be affordable housing
  • A 19,500 square foot (net retail space) Sainsbury’s Store beneath one of the residential blocks plus retail space fronting the High Street
  • 114 parking spaces for the foodstore and High Street, plus 40% (168) parking spaces for residents

The residential accommodation will be housed a number of blocks, with the affordable accommodation separately located, ostensibly for “block management” reasons.

It’s anticipated that c. 120 new jobs will be created by the new Sainsbury’s store, with recruitment confined to the local area.   55 additional jobs will arise from the construction phase.

At the time of writing, the application by St James and Sainsbury’s will go before Haringey’s Planning Committee on 13th January – and for those of you who didn’t attend either of Haringey’s public consultation meetings on the 26th and 27th November but wish to make your views known to the Council, representations will be taken up to the Committee date.

According to St James’ Public Consultation Update (no. 2), a number of concessions have been made to local concerns including a reduction in “maximum block height” from ten to eight stories, the abandonment of plans for a Sainsbury’s café, “integration” of the Sainsbury’s Car Park with the High Street in terms of 90 minutes’ free parking for both store and local amenity users, and the addressing of issues like traffic management, benefits to the local community and the impact on local heritage. Space doesn’t permit a full exploration of these, but that’s the gist of it.

As I say feelings among local people remain very mixed, and I have to confess I am somewhat bemused by some of the matters raised as issues by residents and groups– including the view down Hillfield Avenue, the interruption of the view of Alexandra Palace from certain perspectives, even the fate of the old public baths building.  I appreciate that by no means everyone will hold the same view here, but it’s very easy to become sentimental about – and distracted by – some of these issues, and place a great deal of emphasis on potential changes that, seen in a broader context, won’t ultimately affect the community very much.

There is after all a very big picture here!

St James and Sainsbury’s are proposing to build an enormous piece of “kit”, to use a soulless piece of property investment industry jargon, and there’s no disputing that this development will represent a big change to the area both in terms of a large influx of new residents plus, for the first time, the presence of a large national-name retail outlet in Hornsey High Street. There is still clearly much work to do in terms of addressing local concerns about, for example, traffic, parking, anticipated effects on both High Street retailers and nearby shopping areas in Muswell Hill and Crouch End, plus – last but by no means least – the potential pressure on local schools and other amenities.

From a retail standpoint, my own view is that Hornsey High Street has been in need of “refreshment” for some time, notwithstanding the presence of three of the best pubs in the area, a selection of very good restaurants, plus of course established local resources, and while I know from experience in my professional life that Sainsbury’s are by no means the worst of the supermarket chains to deal with, it remains to be seen how this unfolds. The retail impact assessment I’ve read is somewhat inconclusive.

I’ll update you as things crystallise! In the meantime if you’d like to let me know your views please email [email protected]

Jonny Browne

About Jonathan Browne (13 Articles)
Libertarian, gourmand, Villa fan, guitar player, bar stool philosopher and mensch; I also know a bit about about buildings and businesses; and businesses in buildings