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Tottenham MP David Lammy slams Council leader for failing community over Haringey Development Vehicle

PUBLISHED: 17:49 12 July 2017

David Lammy MP has accused Haringey Council of being 'out of touch' and 'high-handed' with the community over its plan to regenerate Haringey. Picture: Nigel Sutton

David Lammy MP has accused Haringey Council of being 'out of touch' and 'high-handed' with the community over its plan to regenerate Haringey. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, has accused Haringey Council of being “high handed” and “out of touch” over a plan to sell off millions of pounds worth of public assets.

Campaigners against plans to transfer public assets to a joint venture have announced a legal challenge against Haringey Council. Picture: JON KINGCampaigners against plans to transfer public assets to a joint venture have announced a legal challenge against Haringey Council. Picture: JON KING

In a letter received by council leader Claire Kober on Wednesday, Mr Lammy described the proposal to transfer council property as “the most controversial and contentious political issue” he has seen in Tottenham since he was elected 17 years ago.

Under the plan the council enters into a 50/50 partnership with private developer Lendlease with land, homes and buildings transferred into new company the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) in a 20 year deal to fund regeneration schemes.

The HDV would result in the demolition of council housing with new homes being rebuilt.

Earlier this month before a cabinet meeting which saw councillors push through the deal, Mr Lammy sent a letter with Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West urging the council to suspend the scheme.

Protesters massed outside Haringey Civic Centre earlier this month as councillors pushed through the sale of public assets now formally opposed by a group of Liberal Democrat oppostition councillors. Picture: JON KINGProtesters massed outside Haringey Civic Centre earlier this month as councillors pushed through the sale of public assets now formally opposed by a group of Liberal Democrat oppostition councillors. Picture: JON KING

In his latest letter Mr Lammy, a Labour Party MP, said he agreed with the Labour led council’s ambition to deliver homes and jobs but did not agree “with the means by which the council leadership is seeking to deliver” them.

In a personal attack on Cllr Kober, he added that while he understood the context of cuts and borrowing constraints “the Council under your leadership has failed to carry the community with it and has appeared out of touch and high-handed”.

The letter then lists a catalogue of complaints accusing the council of not consulting residents properly; not allaying concerns within the community sufficiently; ignoring the council’s own oversight and scrutiny committee – which advised against the deal – and forcing the HDV through “in the face of serious opposition” in the community and council.

Noting he was elected with 82 per cent of the vote on a manifesto promising to deliver affordable homes “as a top priority”, Mr Lammy wrote that based on that mandate he had “to stand up” for his constituents and make “absolutely clear” he is not persuaded that entering into the agreement with Lendlease would deliver affordable homes.

He repeated his call for Cllr Kober to reflect on whether the HDV is the best option for the borough’s residents which he identified as “all the more important following the horrendous incident at Grenfell”.

In response Cllr Kober said: “We have heard David’s concerns very clearly and of course we’re happy to continue talking to him about our plans. “We believe the HDV is the right way to deliver the thousands of jobs and homes Haringey needs and have set out the arguments for this in public many times.

“We couldn’t be clearer that all tenants will have a guaranteed right of return and that 40pc of all housing built will be affordable, based on income not rent levels.

“These affordable homes will be a mixture of social rent, target rent and shared ownership to reflect the housing needs of everyone in the borough regardless of their financial situation.

“This 40pc target is set out in our housing strategy which the HDV will be bound by.”

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