High Court backs legality of divisive Haringey regeneration scheme

9 Feb 18

The High Court has ruled that the controversial Haringey Council redevelopment scheme is not in breach of the Localism Act.

The politically divisive £2bn regeneration scheme, the Haringey Development Vehicle, was subject to judicial review after a group of residents took legal action. The hearing took place in October last year and Justice Ouseley issued his ruling yesterday.

Under the HDV, the council would create a partnership with a private sector partner, Lendlease, who would part-finance and deliver new housing on council land.

The claimants argued that, under the Localism Act, the council could not set up a Limited Liability Partnership for such a commercial purpose.

Objections were also lodged that the council failed to consult properly, had breached the public sector equality duty and that decisions made by Haringey’s cabinet should have been taken by full council.

However, Ouseley rejected the legal challenge “on all grounds”.

On the question of whether the creation of the LLP was in breach of the Localism Act, he said: “To my mind, there is no doubt but that the council’s purpose in entering into the arrangements setting up the HDV and governing its operation, including the relationship between the two partners, cannot be characterised as ‘a commercial purpose’ within the scope of the Localism Act.”

Ouseley continued: “The purpose behind the council’s entering into the HDV and associated arrangements is not that of a property investor, simply seeking to make a profit or to achieve a return on development or improved rentals.

“The purpose of the council is to use and develop its own land to its best advantage so that it can achieve the housing, employment and growth or regeneration objectives that it has laid down.”

Responding to the ruling, a Haringey Council spokesperson said: “Establishing the HDV remains the council’s agreed approach to providing much needed homes and jobs on its own land and Lendlease remains the council’s preferred partner.”

The decision has already met with a backlash, however. The Stop-HDV campaign group said: “Having heard the judge’s decision, there are clear and strong grounds for appeal in the judicial review on the HDV.”

The campaigners said they would lodge their appeal within seven days.

Haringey Council’s redevelopment plan, which would deliver 6,400 new homes, has been subject of political in-fighting in the Labour Party.

Following pressure exerted from the Momentum campaign group and subsequently the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee, council leader Claire Kober announced she would not be seeking re-election in May, although she continues in post in the interim.

Haringey Council said the future of the HDV project lies in the hands of the next council leader.

A statement from Lendlease said: “We welcome the findings of the judicial review and our aim is to continue working with the people of Haringey to deliver the new homes, jobs and community facilities that everyone agrees are much needed.

“We are committed to the borough for the long term and want any future plans to be shaped by the people who live there and know Haringey best.”

Read Jonathan Carr-West’s blog on the Haringey controversy.

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