Comment on: McAslan’s revenue and workforce shrink
So now John McAslan + Partners’ display shop in High Road Tottenham has morphed into a "teaching practice studio". Which will be "...creating new opportunities for the firm to expand into urban regeneration".
Some of us who live in Tottenham have suspected that the premises at 451-453 High Road were a route to getting in on the "regeneration" action. So it's refreshing to read JMP frankly admitting this.
John McAslan Partners are enjoying these free premises at the cost of £181,548 from the public purse. (Figure obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.)
Although well in excess of the maximum €200,000 allowed under the EU "State Aid" rules, as far as I am aware Haringey Council did not apply for permission to subsidise JMP. Although there was a full year where they could have done this. Instead Haringey offset the subsidy by calculating the notional value of benefits-in-kind provided by McAslan.
Well the cat is now out of the bag - courtesy of the AJ and Natasha Manzaroli, JMP spokesperson. It now appears that a substantial benefit may be flowing in the opposite direction giving McAslan+Partners opportunities for regeneration contracts.
That this is a real benefit and not just wishful thinking, has been confirmed by a new website from Grainger plc which shows JMP's Designs for a new "landmark" building at Apex House N15. http://apexhousedevelopment.co.uk/
The Apex House site is at the junction of High Road, Tottenham and Seven Sisters Road N15. It's opposite the highly contentious Wards Corner building where local protest groups have for years been locked in a battle with Grainger plc who wish to develop the entire block.
The Apex website states that Haringey Council sold Apex House to Grainger in July 2014. Consultation is now taking place on McAslan's designs. Although it's hard to see what is being consulted on, as it strongly appears that the key decisions have already been taken. There will be a residential tower. The drawings show 22 storeys/ 70 metres. Another lower block - or perhaps a row of town houses - will fill the rest of the site.
Haringey Council Services now located in Apex House are supposed to be moving at some point to the main Tottenham (Marcus Garvey) library - taking away half the existing floorspace from within the library itself. Not exactly another "benefit-in-kind" for Tottenham residents.
My feelings about McAslan are coloured by what I see the firm can do. Two evenings ago my wife and I welcomed a friend arriving at Kings Cross Station. We enjoyed once again being in the beautiful Western Concourse (McAslan; & Arup) and the views from the new King's Cross Square.
But urban regeneration in areas like Tottenham should be about serving existing communities and having sensitivity and understanding to people who live here. At present what’s presented as regeneration plans across Tottenham are little more than grabbing public land because it's available. Or could be made available if enough existing residents are booted-out; and existing homes and businesses booted-out. The sites would be used for mainly private tower-blocks to meet numerical housing targets.
JMP clearly have the skills, imagination and experience to do something far far better. Will we see it?
Comment on: Gort Scott's post-riot hub completes
It's nice to know what this is called. Although I haven't a clue what a Community Hub will do or how it's supposed to work.
Maybe somebody at Gort Scott will tell me and other local residents what the architects' brief was.
As one of the local councillors for the ward on the opposite side of the High Road to 639, local residents have asked me what's going on. I've had to explain that in Tottenham people do things *to* us and not with us.
Having said which, this hub - whatever it is - looks attractive and interesting. So I'm looking forward to having the puzzle solved.
Tottenham Hale ward councillor
London Borough of Haringey