Judge dismisses bid to stop Haringey Council’s HDV scheme as Labour councillors close ranks
- Credit: Archant
A campaigner who took a controversial £2billion plan to regenerate Haringey to the High Court has vowed to fight on after a judge rejected his bid to stop it.
Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice Gordon Peters said: “It’s disappointing, but we will take this to a higher court. The fight goes on.”
Mr Justice Duncan Ouseley took seconds to pronounce the ruling, refusing to accept all four grounds of Mr Peters’ challenge.
The decision comes weeks after barrister David Wolfe QC urged the same judge to declare illegal the council’s plan to enter into a joint venture with private developer Lendlease, known as the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV).
In October’s judicial review Mr Wolfe argued the plan should be stopped because it was a council bid to make profit – something local authorities can only do by creating companies, not the limited liability partnership planned for the HDV.
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He added Haringey failed to consult residents adequately, did not complete an assessment of the scheme’s impact on vulnerable groups, and refused to give all the borough’s councillors a chance to decide on it.
Mr Peters said he would be appealing today’s ruling on all four grounds.
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“We have to make sure we see off the HDV altogether. There’s some uncertainty about how successful an appeal would be, but it’s nothing compared to the fear and uncertainty people in Haringey face,” he said.
Under the scheme council owned land, homes and business premises would be transferred to the HDV in which it and Lendlease would hold a 50/50 share.
Critics say the HDV is an attempt at social cleansing, moving poorer people out of the borough to make way for regenerated estates.
The council argues the plan will create 6,400 homes and thousands of jobs.
Haringey welcomed today’s ruling but repeated it would not set up the HDV until after local elections in May, allowing a new administration to decide its fate.
A point raised in a full council meeting last night where Labour councillors closed ranks and voted down a motion to stop the HDV tabled by eight Liberal Democrat councillors after the Ham&High revealed 22 Labour councillors had voted against the scheme in a secret party meeting.
An emotional Claire Kober, outgoing leader, accused the Lib Dems of playing politics with people’s lives, before saying: “I feel very sorry for people who were desperate for a chance at regenaration.”
Commenting after the council voted 46 to 8 against the motion, Highgate’s Lib Dem Cllr Liz Morris said: “It’s really disappointing. [Labour] put politics before residents.”