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Haringey Council rules out Labour's tenants vote plan for HDV regeneration

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:42 29 September 2017

Haringey Council has ruled out giving tenants a chance to vote on redevelopment plans following a pledge made by the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to introduce the measure in his conference speech this week. Picture: JON KING

Haringey Council has ruled out giving tenants a chance to vote on redevelopment plans following a pledge made by the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to introduce the measure in his conference speech this week. Picture: JON KING

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A Labour led council has dismissed Jeremy Corbyn's calls for tenants to vote on whether or not their homes should be redeveloped.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also wants councils to ensure tenants can return to their estates on the same terms after any redevelopment. Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA IMAGESLabour leader Jeremy Corbyn also wants councils to ensure tenants can return to their estates on the same terms after any redevelopment. Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA IMAGES

In his conference speech on Wednesday Mr Corbyn said councils would have to win the blessing of existing tenants and leaseholders in a ballot before they could redevelop their housing stock.

The Labour leader went on to say tenants on redeveloped estates “must get a home on the same site and the same terms as before” in a bid to put a stop to social cleansing and rent hikes.

“Regeneration is a much abused word. Too often what it really means is forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out,” Mr Corbyn said.

The speech has been viewed by some as a warning to London councils including Haringey, which is pursuing a borough-wide regeneration plan, known as the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), teaming up with private developer Lendlease to help fund its ambitions.

Cllr Alan Strickland said: We will continue to put comprehensive and meaningful engagement with residents at the heart of our regeneration plans, but we do not expect to start using yes/no ballots. Picture: POLLY HANCOCKCllr Alan Strickland said: We will continue to put comprehensive and meaningful engagement with residents at the heart of our regeneration plans, but we do not expect to start using yes/no ballots. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK

But Cllr Alan Strickland, in charge of housing at the council, ruled out the idea of tenants being balloted, but said they would be guaranteed a right of return to redeveloped properties “on equivalent terms”.

He said: “We will continue to put comprehensive and meaningful engagement with residents at the heart of our plans, but we do not expect to start using yes/no ballots. As set out in the Mayor of London’s draft estate regeneration guide, ballots ‘can risk turning a complex set of issues that affect different people in different ways over many years into a simple yes/no decision at a single point in time’.”

He added the council was “shackled” by austerity measures as well as limits on borrowing and had to find “a different way” to tackle the housing crisis. “It’s absolutely right existing residents should have a say on redevelopment plans that affect them, and that consultation must be more than a tick-box exercise,” he said.

“That’s why we’ve been working closely with residents for years to ensure not only that they’re aware of our emerging proposals, but that they have a say and a stake in how plans are developed.

“On sites that may be transferred to the HDV, we have been engaging with residents for many months about options for estate renewal and how those options may affect them.

“We’ve also recently consulted on our commitments to residents on estates where redevelopment does take place, and there will be even more of this engagement work to come before any plans for these estates are finalised.

“People have already made it clear they want to see better homes, greater access to jobs and training and improved public spaces and community facilities such as schools, healthcare and transport – and that is exactly what we are committed to delivering in Haringey,” he added.

But community activist Martin Ball called on the Labour Party to “freeze” councils’ development plans to assess whether they were in line with Corbyn’s promise.

“This could start with a stop being put on Haringey’s proposed deal. This deal aims at economic and social change whereby decent homes, shops, a library, schools and community assets will be demolished to allow for the building of predominantly new private sale flats.

“The proposed review on social housing must genuinely listen to residents and investigate how to prevent the pre-determining of outcomes prevalent in many regeneration consultations.

“But that is long term. Mr Corbyn must act immediately and locally to demonstrate his leadership on housing is truly going to deliver decent housing for all,” he added.

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