Campaigners threaten legal action over Haringey assets sell off
PUBLISHED: 10:25 10 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:25 10 July 2017
Councillors have been accused of treating the poor with "utter contempt" ahead of a £2bn property sell off.
Campaigners from “Stop the HDV” revealed they have appointed law firm Leigh Day and raised £24,000 to mount a legal challenge amid claims of inadequate public consultation, a lack of democratic accountability and concerns over the impact on vulnerable people in Haringey Council’s plan to partner with private developer Lendlease to fund the redevelopment of its housing stock.
On the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), the name given to the joint venture, campaigner Phil Rose said: “This is one of the most diverse areas. We see people from Highgate, Muswell Hill, and Tottenham, all kinds of classes and political dimensions now united in their anger over this.”
Commenting on the suggestion “poor doors” would be included in new builds, where social tenants are forced to use separate entrances to private tenants and homeowners, Mr Rose added: “We have a Labour council saying poor people prefer to be treated with utter contempt.”
Explaining that the group’s barrister had given the case a 60 per cent chance of success, Gordon Peters of the Haringey Forum for Older People, said: “We are confident we can turn this round.”
And campaigner Phil Jackson claimed councillors dismissed in minutes an independent report urging them to reject the plan.
He said: “If there’s anything which symbolises what is wrong with this process it is the absolute contempt for the people affected.
“We have to be honest. We have a problem with democracy in Haringey. Things get driven through without scrutiny.”
Claiming the HDV would see poor people forced from the borough, Paul Burnham from Haringey Defend Council Housing added: “Smashing a community up is not regeneration. We’re going to fight this and stop it.”
In response, Cllr Alan Strickland said: “We can confirm we have been notified to expect a letter regarding legal action, and when received, it will be considered by our legal team.
“We are confident that we have followed the correct process in establishing this joint venture and appointing Lendlease as our partner. We have also received a letter from the district auditor that states he is content due process has been followed regarding the HDV.
“Haringey faces an acute housing crisis and our residents desperately need more and better homes and jobs. The Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) will bring billions of pounds of investment to the borough through an innovative 50/50 partnership between the council and our partners, Lendlease.
“This joint venture will build 6,400 new homes, with at least 40% affordable, and create thousands of new jobs for Haringey. We are absolutely committed to ensuring that the HDV will improve the lives of our residents including existing council tenants who have a guaranteed right to return on equivalent terms.”
Opposition councillors also plan to challenge the HDV.