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Mountview forced to abandon Hornsey Town Hall relocation plans due to cost

Hornsey Town Hall. Photo: Nigel Cox.
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Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts has dropped a £19 million plan to move into a grade II*-listed town hall in north London.

The drama school had been working with Haringey Council to develop plans to turn the former Hornsey Town Hall into its permanent home, but said the cost of restoring the venue was beyond the organisations’ “combined reach”.

Mountview had been given an initial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop plans to convert the town hall into the drama school’s home, as well as creating teaching and training spaces.

Now, Mountview said it was pursuing “a new project with the council”, close to studio spaces it operates in the Chocolate Factory in Wood Green’s cultural quarter.

Mountview principal and artistic director Stephen Jameson said the drama school had “always been aware that converting a grade II*-listed building would be a significant challenge” and added that close planning with Harngey had shown that the school’s “demands as a top-flight drama training academy, with a strong community outreach programme, were not an easy fit into Hornsey Town Hall”.

“Encouragingly, potential alternative schemes for Mountview have been identified. Should they prove feasible, we look forward to working with the council to develop them,” he said.

Haringey Council’s cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Alan Strickland, described it as a “real shame that the building is not going to work for the Mountview scheme”.

“We are strongly committed to working with Mountview to help them find an alternative high-quality permanent home in the borough,” he said, adding: “We are in active discussions with the academy about finding a new site in the heart of the Wood Green cultural quarter as part of our ambitious regeneration plans for the area.”

He also said the council remained committed to securing a “strong future” for Hornsey Town Hall.

Liz Sich, chair of the Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust, said it was “disappointing” that the Mountview project was not going ahead.

She said the school’s vision for community use at the town hall would “serve as a benchmark as the project moves forward”.

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