Haringey Council threatened with legal action as it takes the first step to privatise £2bn of land
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
An overseas developer has been confirmed for Haringey’s plans to privatise large swathes of council estates and land - as legal action is launched and hundreds waved colourful signs in protest
Australian-based developers Lendlease have been selected as the council’s partner for its contested £2bn Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), which is due to be approved in the summer.
Under the unprecedented plans, the largest of their kind ever proposed by a UK council, swathes of council land, housing and business property will be transferred to a private company, owned 50/50 by the council and Lendlease.
Alexandra Park resident Gordon Peters, chair of Older People’s Reference Group for Haringey, sent a legal letter to the council, demanding they halt the HDV process and insisting the project needs more scrutiny.
He is concerned the final decision on the HDV will be taken by a small number of Labour councillors on Haringey’s cabinet rather than the full council. He has vowed to trigger a judicial review process if council leader Cllr Claire Kober fails to respond by February 27.
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Speaking after Tuesday’s decision, he said: “Appalling decision and I think a huge own goal for council leadership.”
Cllr Gail Engert, Lib Dem leader of the opposition, said: “This decision is far too big and far too important to be taken by a handful of Labour cabinet members.”
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The council says the scheme will unlock the benefits of 5,000 new homes in the borough, although some council estates will be demolished to make way for new homes.
Cllr Kober said: “This 50:50 partnership ensures the council is involved in all decisions and, crucially, can ensure that a share of the profits goes back into other regeneration initiatives, affordable housing and funding the services we provide for residents.”
A Lendlease spokesman said: “This 50:50 partnership is an exciting opportunity to work with the borough and the community to deliver the council’s growth ambitions and unlock new jobs, homes, schools and a wide range of other benefits for local people.
“We recognise the long-term commitment and responsibilities inherent in this, and are looking forward to working with the council to follow the necessary process over the coming months.”
Sites that may be included in the HDV include the former Cranwood care home in Muswell Hill.