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TOPIC: Talkies submits objection to Fox redevelopment plans

Talkies submits objection to Fox redevelopment plans 30 Oct 2017 21:49 #3283

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[Original article]

artists impression of fox redevelopmentHow the Fox development would look from Green Lanes - an artist's impression from the planning applicationAhead of consideration by the Enfield Planning Committee of the planning application for redevelopment of the Fox pub, which is expected soon, an objection has been submitted by Talkies Community Cinema.  The grounds are that the proposed replacement of the function room by a smaller "flexible space" would jeopardise the Fox's status as a registered Asset of Community Value.

Talkies has contacted its audience members with advice on how to use an Enfield Connected account to submit objections online (see below). Though Talkies has commented only on the function room, there are other aspects of the redevelopment plans that are controversial - for instance, the number of new flats which the developers plan to build over the area occupied by the car park or the appearance of the proposed new buildings.

The Fox was registered as an Asset of Community Value in June 2015 - the first such registration in Enfield. While this alone would not prevent its eventual conversion to retail (as happened with the Green Dragon) or even its demolition, it is a factor that the Planning Committee will have to take into account.  Key to the success of the application was the function room because of the various community activities that are carried out in it.  An inadequate replacement would thus jeopardise the pub's continuing community value.

FOX REDEVELOPMENT PLANNING APPLICATION - A MESSAGE FROM TALKIES COMMUNITY CINEMA TO ITS AUDIENCE MEMBERS

The planning application for the Fox development will go in front of planning committee soon.

Talkies have been involved in discussions throughout the planning stage, but we conclude that the space planned to replace the current function room will be much more constrained and there is no guarantee that it will be affordable for the community it aims to serve.

Other community groups have raised concerns about other aspects of the development.

We have prepared a help sheet about how you can respond and let your views be known. We hope it is helpful.


RESPONDING TO THE FOX PLANNING APPLICATION

Log in to, or register, your Enfield Connected account.

https://auth.enfield.gov.uk/identity/account/login

the page will look like this:

talkies fox guide 1

Then go to the Fox application - link https://goo.gl/EMztrQ

talkies fox guide 2

You can respond as an individual, amenity group etc.

Check whichever box you are responding to and add your comment:

talkies fox guide 3


WHAT IS TALKIES RESPONSE?

The Fox is registered as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ (ACV). The developers say this about the ACV:

a) Retaining an Asset of Community Value

3.2 Following the successful listing of The Fox Pub as an Asset of Community Value, the retention and refurbishment of the building and community use have been prioritised in the planning balance over other development and planning policy considerations. Therefore, any development of The Fox Pub will not be able to avoid the significant additional costs and development constraints associated with refurbishing this locally important heritage building, and the provision of an improved function room or FFR for on-going community use in accordance with its ACV status.

3.3 If the building was not retained, the associated cost savings/reductions and removal of the development constraints would enable more value to be created, which in turn could then be used to fund additional onsite affordable housing.

3.4 Furthermore, whilst it is a positive local facility, the retention of the pub use (A4) is itself not the most commercially viable use compared to other land uses (e.g. more commercial A1, A2, A3, A5 on the ground floor), therefore the viability of the overall development is reduced both by the retention of the existing Fox building and by the retention of the pub use.

Seems a bit mealy mouthed about keeping the building and addressing the ACV – given an open book perhaps developers would prefer to knock it down and build something with better commercial value!

At Talkies we have limited our response to the loss of the current function room, to be replaced by a smaller flexible space adjoined to the pub. The current room can take up to 200 chairs but because Talkies needs to have a gap between audience and screen our largest number has been 135. The plans for the development show 140 seats, but they are crammed in and do not allow for a gap between the screen and the audience. If used for another performance event a stage would be needed and so similarly the numbers shown could not be accommodated. We also believe the space is too small for Music events, comedy club and private functions.

We are especially concerned that there is no undertaking by the developers to provide a lettings rate which would be affordable for not-for-profit community events such as Talkies. So should they wish, they can levy a fee that is too high to make our events financially unviable and just use the space as an extension of the pub. We recommend that conditions are attached to any planning approval which require an agreed number of community events at an agreed rate over the course of any year.


RESPONSE SUBMITTED TO PLANNING APPLICATION FOR THE FOX, N13, FROM TALKIES COMMUNITY CINEMA

The overall view of Talkies Community Cinema is that the Asset of Community Value (ACV) is significantly and adversely affected by the proposals and could indeed be completely lost to the community.

The reduced size and new configuration of the function space mean that a facility that has been used for Talkies, music and the Comedy club as well as private functions will in future be reduced in size and functionality. The proposals show 145 chairs in the space. In reality when circulation space is included and, for film viewing, a suitable distance from the screen is made, the audience size would reduce to 80. This compares with a maximum for general use in the current space of 160 and for Talkies 135. Given that there will be a smaller audience if the plans are approved and that there is no guarantee that the space will be affordable for Talkies or similar groups, we have to conclude that the response to the ACV status is not yet satisfactory. We also have major concerns that once the development is complete there is no guarantee that the proposed function space will be used for community activities at an affordable rate. The developers have not yet outlined a specific undertaking to assure such use.

Should the planning approval be approved we believe there should be conditions attached to the approval which:

- secure use for a minimum of 20 days per annum at a rate affordable to Enfieldbased 'not for profit' organisations for events - we assess this as £25 per hour

- ensure that the acoustic insulation should be of a high specification to ensure that sound will not transmit between bar and function room.


You might be more interested in a wider range of responses. We hope this guidance is useful to you.

Links

Responding to the Fox development (Talkies news item)

Planning application

Fox redevelopment: Planning application submitted (Palmers Green Community 13 September 2017)

Fox registered as an asset of community value (Palmers Green Community 2 June 2015)

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Talkies submits objection to Fox redevelopment plans 31 Oct 2017 09:49 #3284


Talkies sell 135 seats each showing? Wow, that's some serious business!

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Talkies submits objection to Fox redevelopment plans 31 Oct 2017 13:39 #3285


David Eden wrote: Talkies sell 135 seats each showing? Wow, that's some serious business!

Sarcasm is completely uncalled for.

Talkies is not a business. Unlike most modern businesses, it actually cares about its customers. As well as showing films which are sometimes entertaining, sometimes thought-provoking, often both, it helps form and cement social bonds between people and it helps its volunteers develop skills that they might not otherwise acquire.

There was a time when businesses cared about their customers, their employees and the general welfare of the country and world. A few still do, but even they tend to be gobbled up by greedy multinationals for whom dollar signs are the only symbols they recognise. Look what has become of Cadbury's and Boots.

There are many things more important in life than money (unless you're poor, that is, as so many people are today because their rightful earnings are being diverted into the pockets of top managers and shareholders.)

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Talkies submits objection to Fox redevelopment plans 31 Oct 2017 14:23 #3286


Save the socialist rant at the end, that all sounds very nice. Talkies sounds wonderful (genuinely, not being sarcastic).

However the pertinence to my original sarcasm is whether Talkies regularly hosts 135 guests which is the foundation of its obstruction to the Fox redevelopment. Sounds like a lot of people to me (aren't most standard size modern cinema screens roughly that big?). If, as a suspect, they don't hold anything like that number with any regularity (if ever) then their case is largely baseless.

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Talkies submits objection to Fox redevelopment plans 31 Oct 2017 15:29 #3287


David
I, personally, find it better to make public comments grounded in knowledge of the facts rather than baseless assertions.

In the five years since it began, I have been to many Talkies screenings, at the Fox and elsewhere. Events at the Fox regularly fill the room and could sell considerably more than the allocated tickets - as could events at the Bounds Green Tennis Club, where I was involved as a volunteer helping Talkies establish a new venue. Attendance here is limited by the capacity of the room - but has often sold out the 100 or so available tickets. ... and then there are the 400+ attendances at the outdoor screenings in Broomfield Park and a couple of hundred at Christ Church etc. So, yes, it is quite some "serious business" ... but as a volunteer-run enterprise, it has a different ethos and approach to commercial cinemas. The focus is not profit - but community engagement along with thought-provoking entertainment. As a volunteer, I along with all the team gladly pay the ticket price myself to be there whilst putting on an event for our neighbours. By comparison with commercial cinema the small admission fee covers equipment, insurances and licences - and also extends to a commissioning process to create new work supporting young filmmakers with cash to make a film, an audience to show it to and professional mentoring ... as you quite rightly say, it is "some serious business"

Might I respectfully suggest that you attend one of the many Talkies volunteer-run events - at the Fox or elsewhere - before criticising them? You might see for yourself the community-focussed and inclusive activities - enjoyed by thousands of your neighbours ... and you might even make a friend or two, I know I have.

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Talkies submits objection to Fox redevelopment plans 31 Oct 2017 15:44 #3288


Talkies Community Cinema is a not for profit organisation, run by volunteers aimed to bring together people in a social setting to meet each other and enjoy film. We have used the Fox regularly for five years. Details of how we use the ticket income is published on our website.
The Fox function room can seat 200 - for example at the Comedy club which took place there every month until the threat of closure meant they re-sited to Southgate. The room can also be used for parties which will take large numbers and dance events, which use the dance floor.
Talkies maximum at the Fox is 135 which is reached when we screen our short film commissions for young film makers each year. For most events we would have an audience of about 100 - recent 'Cabaret' was capped at 110 because of bar constraints but could have been more.
In contrast the designs presented by the developers show 145 chair spaces but take no account of distance from a screen, use of a stage or need for a performance space at the front. We believe that a more sensible number for such a space would be 80.
The Fox is an important venue for us, but is also the only such venue at the heart of Palmers Green, hence its status as an "Asset of Community Value"(ACV) - the first in Enfield.
To be clear- we have always recognised the importance of refurbishing The Fox as a useful addition to the Palmers Green Food and Drink offer. Also we understand that there will have to be some commercial arrangement from the management of the renewed Fox facility. What we have not yet had though is a clear commitment from the developers that a 'new ACV' will be both accessible and affordable for not-for-profit organisations similar to Talkies.
We also believe that a better designed space will bring commercial benefits to the developers. If only we could see more commitment to the community from the developers we may feel differently.
Despite continuous discussions over a long period we have had no such commitments.

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Talkies submits objection to Fox redevelopment plans 31 Oct 2017 15:55 #3289


For the avoidance of doubt (as I can't quite see how everyone has so quickly leapt knee-jerkingly to the wrong conclusion) my use of the word 'business' was not a comment or reference to Talkies' not-for-profit status.

I went to the Broomfield Park open air a couple of years ago from memory.

Richard, I am always happy to be furnished with facts and am happy to adapt my opinion accordingly if required, however, despite your assertion, David W now appears to have demonstrated that Talkies does not regulalry sell 135 seats at The Fox. Standard sscreenings attract c.100 which sound more like they can be accommodated by the current proferred design (80 being a pretty aggressive encroachment).

I'd love to see Talkies continue at the Fox, I'd also love a pub in the area that isn't a complete dump and better housing delivery for the young people struggling to get on the housing ladder, an ambition fought against a wall of NIMBYism from the already landed & well-off.

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Talkies submits objection to Fox redevelopment plans 31 Oct 2017 16:29 #3290


Apologies for sending this discussion off track and down a blind alley - I mistakenly thought that David E was suggesting that Talkies events were small in the context of amount of business a refurbished Fox could do.

Returning to the question of the planning application. I think that the developers could afford to provide a larger pub with a proper function room. PG is in need of a more upmarket pub and I think that there should be sufficient potential customers in the area for a bigger pub.

One thing to bear in mind is that Heineken presumably already owned the freehold and thus when redeveloping the site they won't need to cover the cost of buying it at a high price before they can make a profit (inflated prices for land is part of the reason why houses and flats are so expensive).

I therefore think that they can afford to be more generous to the local community and give us a decent function room instead of turning the southern end of the building into a separate retail space.

Pubs are a part of our heritage but in recent years have been bought, sold and converted into shops over the heads of their customers as if they were mere commodities. Clearly, in some areas there were too many pubs for modern conditions and it made sense to close down those that were performing badly But despite currently being in the doldrums, the Fox has huge potential. The Fox is the only purpose-built pub in central PG and its function room is also unique. I think it behoves Heineken and Enfield Council to retain this community asset.

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