Camden Council rules out Haringey Development Vehicle ‘strategic joint venture’ for Camden’s Community Investment Programme
PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 August 2017
Camden Council will not press ahead with a HDV style deal for the CIP regeneration plans, and pledges to look at community-led housing
Camden Council has ruled out a strategic joint venture in the style of the controversial Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) for future regeneration as part of the Camden Community Investment Programme (CIP).
A report published ahead of the Resources and Corporate Performance Committee meeting on 5 September, the read: “partnership models might be appropriate for particular development opportunities but the Council does not favour the approach of putting a large number of sites into a single partnership deal in the face of ongoing economic uncertainty.”
The Council has acknowledged that placing multiple sites under one joint venture could leave the sites vulnerable to economic and policy changes, as well as a chain reaction should one site be delayed, and put the less financially attractive projects at risk of being left until last. Risk sharing with a partner will also likely result in that partner taking a greater share of the final value.
The report recommends the Council continues to act as Developer in order to retain control over new housing, but claimed alternative delivery methods and partnership models have been considered, and local stakeholders will be consulted.
The report said: “The Council will continue to work with local people to explore possible future projects that could deliver new affordable housing and community facilities, in particular around the wider regeneration of Gospel Oak and options for individual estates in the area.”
It has suggested deliberative workshops and citizen assemblies will take place in the Autumn.
The Council has also taken into account models of Community Housing and Community Land Trusts, affordable housing organisations formed by the community. However, the report maintained that “[a]ny decision to proceed with a Community Land Trust would need to demonstrate how the social and financial outcomes of that approach would be better than direct delivery by the Council and/or other partnership approaches.”
Should additional government funding required for delivery not be secured, the Council has said it may still consider partnership models or wholly owned companies.
“The Council would need to carefully consider the risk profile and any internal and external resourcing pressures of managing a new legal entity. Alternative delivery options cannot fully mitigate the Council’s development risk exposure or improve overall financial viabilities but they offer alternative means of delivering schemes and potential access to new resourcing, in addition to Council as Developer,” reads the report.
Councillor Sian Berry, who launched the CIP Challenge earlier this year, said: “I’m pleased with a lot of this report, in particular some warm words about community-led housing and promises on future consultation, in all of which you can clearly see the good influence of the work I’ve done as part of the cross-party CIP Challenge project.”
In response to a question lodged by the councillor and Green Party Assembly Member on 3rd July, the council responded that government funding was required to invest in affordable housing and community facilities.
Although this would enable the Council to deliver the CIP directly, the cabinet member’s response pledged that: “we have no intention of proposing a ‘Strategic Joint Venture Partnership’. We will engage with residents to discuss these options ahead of any future decisions.”
In a CIP Challenge meeting at the Town Hall on 8 August, Ms Berry revealed that net new council housing as part of the programme was just 17 per cent and that 112 council homes would be out of action this year as a result of works. She criticised the Labour-only working group’s attitude to the regeneration programme, but has now admitted she was pleased with their recognition of the CIP’s work.
Following the meeting, Ms Berry said: “It is good news that Camden is ruling out the most destructive and risky of its options for regeneration in future. I’m sure the scandal over Haringey doing a similar deal, as well as the extra scrutiny of the CIP Challenge project, will have helped with this.
“Now the council needs to look at a much wider range of options and, most crucially, work with and listen to residents who will have good ideas for many of the sites. Along with much better transparency about the numbers and documents, this was the key message coming from resident representatives who came from estates across Camden to tonight’s meeting.”
The councillor will put a motion to the council this week alongside Liberal Democrat councillor, Flick Rea, to ensure the publication of the council commissioned report from consultants Lambert Smith Hampton.
“This is needed not least so that any public consultation on the future of the CIP is fully informed with the facts,” she urged. Their motion will further ask that the working group seriously considers community-led housing such as co-ops and community land trusts.
The council has stated that its preference is to look at development models on a scheme by scheme basis as opposed to sharing partnership with a developer across a number of sites.
An update report on the CIP will be delivered in September.