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Haringey MPs urge a pause of £2bn Haringey Development Vehicle following Grenfell

PUBLISHED: 16:38 03 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:08 03 July 2017

Protestors gather outside Haringey Civic Centre to raise their concerns about the privatisation of social housing. Pictured (front, holding plate) is Paul Burnham of Haringey Defend Council Housing

Protestors gather outside Haringey Civic Centre to raise their concerns about the privatisation of social housing. Pictured (front, holding plate) is Paul Burnham of Haringey Defend Council Housing

Archant

Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, and David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, called on Council leader Claire Kober to “pause” the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) in the wake of national fire safety concerns.

Their joint letter comes on the eve of a major Haringey cabinet meeting at 6.30pm which will review concerns about the imminent council decision on whether to enter into a public-private partnership to sell council land.

If the HDV plan is realised, it would be the greatest sell-off of public assets ever undertaken by a UK authority.

Under the scheme, a new company would be set up owned 50/50 by the council and a private developer.

Public assets totalling £2bn would be transferred into the company on a long lease, in a deal spanning 20 years.

Ms West and Mr Lammy have written a joint letter in response to the establishment last month of an independent expert advisory panel into fire safety by Communities Secretary Savid Javid in the wake of the Grenfell Tower inferno on 14 June.

In their letter, Ms West and Mr Lammy urge the Haringey Council to suspend their scheme.

They wrote: “In our view no decision should be taken on thw HDV until a fully updated business case is evaluated and further work is carried out by an external advisor or auditor to analyse and review the risks.”

They stressed that after combustible cladding was found in 181 high-rise buildings across 51 local authority areas, stipulations prohibiting use of such cladding must also be included in any agreement with developers.

The MPs wrote: “We write today with the utmost urgency to urge caution and call on the Cabinet to pause and reflect further on whether entering into a public-private partnership is the correct decision for the borough and its residents.

“In our view no decision should be taken on the HDV until a fully updated business case is evaluated and further work is carried out by an external advisor or auditor to analyse and review the risks relating to the HDV.”

Mr Lammy and Ms West add: “After the Grenfell Tower fire, not to incorporate the above safety measures into the HDV, so as to place fire safety as the paramount consideration in all development thereunder, and to introduce heightened scrutiny of development proposals and heightened fire safety standards, would be to act such as no reasonable local authority would.”

Australian-based developers Lendlease have been selected as the council’s partner for its contested £2bn Haringey Development Vehicle, which is due to be approved in the summer.

Hundreds are expected to march against the proposed sell-off this evening.

“Stop the HDV!” will march from Ducketts Common at 5.30pm to the Haringey Civic Centre.

Protesters will arrive in time for the meeting this evening at 6.30pm at the Haringey Civic Centre in Wood Green.

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