Haringey ditches divisive housebuilding project

18 Jul 18

Haringey Council has voted to bury the controversial development scheme aiming to join forces with the private sector to build more housing.

The decision taken at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday means the council will now have to repay £500,000 to the company that it went into business with in the divisive regeneration project.

Cabinet documents revealed that the council’s budgeted spend since work on the Haringey Development Vehicle had begun in 2014 has been roughly £2.5m.

Following local elections in May, the council selected a new administration that promised to cancel the HDV.

Joseph Ejiofor, leader of Haringey Council, said: “The preference of this administration, as stated in our manifesto, is to build council homes on our own land. We firmly believe that what is currently public land should remain in public ownership.

“Building on commitments we made during the recent elections, we have now taken decisive action to set a new direction for the council, with this final decision that the HDV will not now go ahead.”

The £2bn programme was expected to provide 6,400 new homes in the borough, but opponents of the scheme had accused the council of social cleansing because only 40% of them would be affordable properties.

The council has already spent £250,000 in legal costs to fight a judicial review brought by campaigners against the plans, and there are fears that there could be further legal action – this time from the council’s private partner Lendlease. 

Ejiofor said: “We are obviously concerned at the threat of protracted legal action by Lendlease, however the people of Haringey elected us to govern their borough, and to take decisions that are in the best interest of all Haringey’s residents.”

Ahead of the cabinet meeting on Tuesday night, Lendlease wrote a letter to the council expressing its concern.

It read: “If the council decides to reverse our appointment as the successful bidder, we will have no choice but to seek to protect Lendlease’s interest given our very significant investment over the last two and a half years.”

Lendlease has been contacted for comment.

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