Campaigners and developers clash over plans for Archway Methodist Hall
04 February, 2019 — By Emily Finch
Plans for Archway Methodist Hall submitted by Flowerwale Properties Limited. CREDIT: White Arkitekter
CAMPAIGNERS have clashed with developers over the future of a historic church space after both parties submitted conflicting plans to the Town Hall.
Campaign group Better Archway Forum wants the derelict Archway Methodist Hall on the corner of St John’s Way and Archway Road to be transformed into a “community hub” with a performance and exhibition space along with studios.
But Flowervale Properties Limited, which owns the site’s freehold, submitted plans to the Town Hall last month to demolish the building and redevelop it into a six-storey office block.
Better Archway Forum’s plans
Kate Calvert, from Better Archway Forum, said she “opposed” their scheme.
“Our plans will make a more positive contribution to Archway centre because it will involve more interaction with the wider community,” she said.
Ms Calvert said there was no arts hubs of that scale in the local area.
“The hall had a community use before and we are hoping to bring that back. We are aware that arts centres can fail with only one funding. But we have an idea to dovetail different groups together to ensure funding,” she said.
The Forum’s plans, which were also submitted to the council’s planning department, were drawn up by architect Adrian Betham and sees the existing main hall turned into a performance area.
He said: “The site sits on a major interchange and is calling out to be a community hub.”
The Methodist hall was built in the 1930s and was used by local residents as an air raid shelter during the Second World War.
The developer Flowervale Properties Limited argue that their proposal “seeks to create a new development of the highest quality that draws upon the historic context of the site, and its position within the conservation area.”
They stressed how the building has lain empty for 20 years and English Heritage labelled the site “unexceptional” in a report from 1989.
But their plans could go against the council’s latest local plan – a five-year blueprint which details the council’s architectural vision for the borough – which is currently in the draft stages ready to be finalised later this year.
In their draft plan the council lists the hall as a site that could be refurbished or redeveloped “to create a cultural hub in Archway”.