This report provides information to the Statutory Advisory and Consultative Committees on planning and policy issues in relation to Alexandra Park and Palace. It also provides additional information on the events programme and a range of activities of the Charitable Trust.
The CEO introduced the report as set out and invited Member comments. The following was noted:
Governance and Strategy update
Responding to a question on the background and skills of the Finance, Risk, Resource and Audit Committee (FRRAC) and Alexandra Palace Trading Limited (APTL) Board appointments, the CEO informed that the FRACC Independent Member held a chief finance officer position in a large media company, had over 20 years of experience in finance working for central government and large corporations and lived locally. One of the APTL appointees was a qualified accountant, had held a range of different senior roles and now ran his own advisory business. The other APTL Director was a CEO in the sports and entertainment sector with more than 25 years’ experience working within the marketing communications industry, working with many of the world’s leading brands.
In response to a question on the timescale for the Campsbourne Project, the CEO informed that the rough timescale for the project was 5 years. The CEO noted that the next steps included an initial conversation with potential funders and partners, to create a more focussed brief and an understanding of who should be engaged in the next stages of co-creation (including residents, community groups around the Campsbourne area). Cllr Weston asked that the Hornsey ward Councillors be involved early on. The CEO agreed for SAC & CC Councillor members to be included in the consultation process to share with their constituents (Action: CEO). In response to a question, the CEO mentioned that the Council’s Accessibility Officers would be consulted on the Project.
In discussion of the Car Park Charging Feasibility Project the following was noted:
o Consideration should be given to whether to charge dog walkers, staff, volunteers and Committee members.
o Overspill in Campsbourne and Dukes Avenue should be considered.
o The Consultation should state the reason for charging and what the income will be spent on.
Regarding the Heritage Significance Appraisal, a Member felt that a general point needed to be made about the significance of the natural heritage of Alexandra Park. A further point was made by another Member that the protected view of St Paul’s had been lost from Alexandra Park as the Mayor of London had changed the protection of the view, and the Member asked for the Trust to look into this and challenge the Mayor of London if necessary. Cllr da Costa noted that the view of St Paul’s was protected in the London Plan and there were no changes to the view from Alexandra Palace to St Pauls. The CEO informed that she would obtain confirmation on this at an upcoming meeting with a Deputy Mayor of London and would undertake advocacy if necessary (Action: CEO). Post meeting note: this has now been checked and the view is protected, both as a view to central London and as part of this a distinct view to St Pauls. This protection is the same as the previous version of the London Plan.
A Member queried whether commemorative tree planting could be a way to fundraise for the tree planting project. The CEO explained that this was impractical for a number of reasons, such as the administration and record keeping, who pays for replacement of such trees should they die; this was also corroborated by Friends of the Park and other Members. It was highlighted that people were encouraged to fund memorial benches, which had become popular, and there were systems and policies in place for how the benches were maintained.
Cllr Hare highlighted that provenance was important when replacing trees and noted that this was a practice carried out at Highgate Wood. Cllr Hare mentioned that he would put the Highgate Wood manager in touch with the CEO (Action: Cllr Bob Hare).
In response to a question about restoration levy, the CEO explained that this was a fee charged on tickets to some events by the Trading Subsidiary and passed as a gift to the Trust by the Subsidiary. It was further explained that the restoration levy was ring fenced by the Trust for projects to improve the visitor experience at Alexandra Park and Palace, such as toilet refurbishments, acoustic improvements and other equipment in the Theatre. The restoration levy collected around £400,000 a year and was an important source of income for the Trust.
East Wing and Theatre
In response to a question on additional power supply, the CEO explained that sometimes additional power supplies were required depending on an events requirements.
Responding to a question, the CEO explained that the organisation works with promotors and event organisers to on the promotional plan for events held at Alexandra Palace, some events will be promoted on the Trusts website, not all.
Regarding a question on whether now the Theatre an East Court were open the charity was seeing a financial benefit. The CEO explained that whilst the Theatre was performing well the cost of opening those areas on a daily basis to higher standards of presentation was more expensive.
Regarding a question from Cllr Weston on the amount of young people involved in the Summer camps, the CEO mentioned that she would forward the details to her on the total number (Action: CEO). Post meeting note: Between 70-75 young people attended the 6 summer camps, which could accommodate between 10-20 each depending on the type of activity.
Concerns were raised by Members on the closure of The Grove Pedestrian Bridge for the Black History Month street art project. It was felt that people would need to know about the closure widely around, such as Springfield, as it would inconvenience people using Ciros, Playgroup and Little Dinosaurs. It was mentioned that people would have to walk all the way around and it was felt that the painting on the boards could be done inside. The CEO explained that the project work should cause minor disruption as the team had chosen a time where there would be less movement, and the projects ran for around just 2 hours each day during the half term week. The CEO informed that signs had been put up to give people ample warning. The CEO assured the Members that she would check where the signs had been placed (Action: CEO). Post meeting note: Signage was in place, although it had been installed slightly later than planned.
Responding to a question, the CEO assured the Members that there would not be any structural changes in relation to the redecoration of the Transmitter Hall. A Member asked that the team involved in the redecoration be informed of the historical nature of the Transmitter Hall. In response, the CEO explained that the heritage of the Transmitter Hall is visually incorporated into the design.
Events and Noise Management
Concerns were raised by Members regarding the road and park closures for fireworks. It was mentioned that last year fencing continued across the Grove and other areas throughout the Sunday morning after the fireworks, and it was asked whether the residents’ letter could be explicit on which areas would be reopened when. In response, the CEO informed that she would check the wording of the residents’ letter (Action: CEO). Another Member pointed out that every year the Campsbourne area was cut off from the station due to the fences and the people needed to have access to the station as it was a long walk around. The CEO explained that the closure was for safety reasons and to prevent access during the final stages of build up and start of break down as well as the event. To keep the Campsbourne path open throughout would require significant infrastructure in the nature conservation area
To note the contents of this report.
Consultation on proposed cut of 10% of the revenue grant
Whilst not on the agenda report, the CEO updated the Members on the proposed cut of 10% of the revenue grant (£195,000) from the Corporate Trustee, Haringey Council.
Members expressed concern on the potential cut to the revenue grant the Trust receives from the Council. The CEO invited Members to provide comments which she would convey to the Council. In discussion, the following comments were made by Members in support of the Trust:
The SAC/CC noted that the Trust was working towards self-sustainability and a reduced grant could jeopardise the projects in the pipeline. Cllr Hare recommended that the Council’s consultation on the budget should be shared with Members (Action: Clerk – if available, to share a link to the Council’s MTFP with SAC/CC Members).
Post meeting note: There was no mention of Alexandra Park & Palace specifically in the Council’s Medium-Term Financial Strategy published in August 2019 – the Statutory Advisory Committee should look out for the Council’s draft budget which was usually published for consultation in November/December until January/February (Action: Clerk to share budget consultation link with SAC/CC Members when available).