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Enfield Council's plans to sell off the former Southgate Town Hall are progressing.  Negotiations with a development company are ongoing and work to "segregate" the Town Hall from the adjacent Palmers Green Library is due to start in November.


Southgate Town HallAn update on the project was provided at the Area Forum meeting on 23rd October.  Attendees were told that originally Enfield Council intended selling both the Town Hall and the Library to a single developer.  In addition to converting the Town Hall building into flats and building additional housing units elsewhere on the site, the developer would have completely refurbished the Library and then leased it back to the Council.  However, the low level of interest shown by prospective developers led to a change of plan, as the Council decided that it could obtain better value for money by retaining the Library and selling only the Town Hall and part of the surrounding land.  Refurbishment of the Library will now be a separate project (see this earlier report).

Following a marketing campaign which commenced in October 2012, the Council received bids from six prospective purchasers and has provisionally accepted a bid from Hollybrook Homes, which was made on a "subject to planning basis".  Contract negotiations are ongoing.  In the view of the responsible Council officers, the Hollybrook bid represents a "good price".

Segregation of the Town Hall from the retained building and land will require demolition of the Western Annex (the building to the right of the main library block), which will start in November.  In order to do this, the Council has already moved the schools library service, various back-office functions and artifacts rescued from the Broomfield House fire. 

town hall disposalOnce the Annex has been demolished, a new fire escape installed and various services and mobile phone masts have been relocated, the property will be divided as shown in the plan.  The blue dotted line shows the extent of the retained property, which will include vehicle access from Shapland Way, car parking on the corner of Shapland Way and Broomfield Lane, the Library building and a new "public square" facing the corner of Broomfield Lane and Green Lanes.

The solid red line surrounds the property to be sold.  It includes the whole of the original Town Hall building, some car parking spaces adjacent to Shapland Way, the greater part of the current car park and the remainder of the Green Lanes frontage.

The new owners will make their own proposals regarding what to do with the property, such as the number and design of flats and houses built in the car park and Town Hall.  However, they will need to receive planning permission, which will be conditional on adherence to the planning brief published by the Council in 2011.  In particular, they will not be allowed to alter the external appearance of the Town Hall or Green Lanes frontage.  However, it is almost certain that the interior of the Town Hall will be completely rebuilt - there will be no stipulation that the former Council Chamber should be retained, and according to councillors at the Area Forum, it was never intended that this should be the case.

Concerns raised by members of the public at the Area Forum included fears that an excessive number of flats and houses would be built, that there would be insufficient car parking space and that the new owners might not sufficiently respect the appearance of the original Town Hall.  Assurances were given on all these points.  The Council believed that its published planning brief would play a key part in any planning committee or planning appeal decisions.  The Council's officer said that Hollybrook had a good record of refurbishment of properties, citing in particular the Art Deco Trebor sweet factory in Forest Gate, East London, which had been restored and converted into flats.

The Council was unable to confirm whether there were plans to provide a path along the section of the New River adjacent to the Town Hall, between Shapland Way and King's Arms Bridge (Green Lanes).  However, provision of a permissive path along this stretch was clearly indicated in Figure 4 of the Planning Brief.

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