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Haringey Council axes HDV but faces £520k bill and possible legal action

PUBLISHED: 10:35 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:02 18 July 2018

Scenes at a previous anti-HDV protest when 150 protestors stood outside the town hall for two hours Picture: JON KING

Scenes at a previous anti-HDV protest when 150 protestors stood outside the town hall for two hours Picture: JON KING

Archant

Haringey Council faces a bill of more than half a million pounds after it voted to abandon the Haringey Development Vehicle at a cabinet meeting last night.

Placards outside last night's cabinet meeting where HDV was abandonedPlacards outside last night's cabinet meeting where HDV was abandoned

According to cabinet papers at the meeting, the town hall will now have to pay around £520,000 for costs incurred.

They have already spent £250,000 on fighting a judicial review brought against the plans by campaigners.

There are also fears that the developer, Lendlease, are considering legal action.

As the bells of the nearby St Martins church tolled beforehand, Lendlease were preparing one final push to keep the £2bn deal on the table.

About 200 protesters gathered outside Haringey Civic Centre in Wood Green in February ahead of a full council meeting where Labour councillors closed ranks to vote down a Lib Dem motion to stop controversial plans to regenerate the borough. Picture: JON KINGAbout 200 protesters gathered outside Haringey Civic Centre in Wood Green in February ahead of a full council meeting where Labour councillors closed ranks to vote down a Lib Dem motion to stop controversial plans to regenerate the borough. Picture: JON KING

In a deputation that was repeatedly heckled from the public gallery, Dan Labbad, the developer’s chief executive of international operations urged them to defer the decision, and talked about the “flexibility” of the HDV decision.

“With 10,000 households on your waiting list, let us work with you in delivering that,” he said.

There are now fears Lendlease may bring legal action.

After the decision, Mr Labbad said: “At the end of the day it’s the residents of Haringey who will suffer most from this decision, given that 10,000 families remain in desperate need of a home.

“The flexible framework that the HDV offers would deliver enormous benefits in terms of homes, jobs and wider community facilities quickly to address this need.

“We are extremely disappointed the Council has voted not to proceed with the HDV without even offering us the opportunity to discuss face to face, undoing four years of planning in just a matter of weeks.”

The decision to abolish the plans was highly anticipated, after the Labour manifesto for this year’s election said they didn’t intend to progress with it.

The StopHDV campaign has fought against the scheme since it was launched four years ago.

It led to Labour councillors being deselected ahead of this year’s local elections, and its unpopularity triggered the resignation of Claire Kober as leader.

A judicial review was brought by Gordon Peters, and is currently at the appeal stage.

He said: “It has been a long hard slog and it has gained momentum as time has gone on.

“There has been a much wider realisation that it was a very bad deal.”

At the same meeting on Tuesday, the cabinet agreed to set up its own wholly owned company for council housing.

They have already identified a site in Muswell Hill as a possible location for new builds.

Council leader Joseph Ejiofor 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.

“We have concerns at the threat of protracted legal action by Lendlease. However the people of Haringey elected us to govern the borough, and to take the decisions that are in the interest of the Haringey residents.

“As stated in the cabinet report this is an important decision that we have taken with our eyes wide open.”

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