Haringey Council leaders wave through multi-million pound development - for a second time
- Credit: Archant
Plans to part-privatise council homes and business in a multimillion-pound deal were reapproved within 40 minutes last night amid cries of “shame” from the public.
Council leaders pressed ahead with the venture struck with developer Lendlease after Liberal Democrat opposition councillors challenged a July 3 decision to kick start the legal process setting up the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV).
At the cabinet meeting’s start Cllr Charles Wright, chair of council watchdog the overview and scrutiny committee, summed up the panel’s recommendation the HDV shouldn’t proceed unless the council addressed a catalogue of concerns on social homes numbers; tenants’ rights to return to regenerated estates; loss of community buildings and an exclusivity deal handing Lendlease 60 per cent’s worth of contracts.
Cllr Wright said: “There are people in this borough who have been failed by the housing market. If we cannot address that issue in this proposal it shouldn’t be going forward.”
When responding, member for housing Cllr Alan Strickland was jeered when he said he was unable to give a definite number on social homes citing a need to consult residents.
He added of the 6,400 properties built during phase one of the redevelopment, 40pc would be “affordable” with the council looking into the possibility of buying back council homes.
He went on to attack the Lib-Dem Party for scrapping social rent funding when in government.
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On the right to return Cllr Strickland said ambiguous wording in the HDV documents was being looked at and confirmed none of the council’s community buildings would be included in the HDV, but dismissed calls to scrap the exclusivity deal.
Over concerns meetings of the HDV would be closed – blocking the overview and scrutiny committee from doing its work – Cllr Strickland said “major decisions” would go to cabinet thus enabling the watchdog.
On calls for a full risk assessment, he added: “I’m satisfied [risk] has been looked at properly.”
Council leader Claire Kober said legal advice would be taken when questioned whether the council could sign a binding legal agreement with Lendlease during a judicial review brought by campaigners,
But Lib-Dem councillor Clive Carter’s question about the cost of exiting the deal should next year’s local elections result in a change in administration went unanswered.
Speaking after cabinet waved the deal through, Gordon Peters, spearheading an upcoming legal challenge, described the decision as an “abnegation of democracy” saying: “This meeting was just window dressing.”