Hillcrest estate residents: ‘Haringey Council lied to us over development plans’

Residents of a treasured Highgate estate have accused a “shameful and incompetent” Haringey Council of lying to them over plans to build more housing – after unearthing a hidden report suggesting that their homes could be demolished.

Between 40 and 90 new homes are proposed for the leafy Hillcrest estate, off North Road, to solve an affordable housing crisis in the west of Haringey.

A Freedom of Information request revealed last week that the council completed a study into the feasibility of proposed new homes in April 2013 – 18 months before it denied such a report existed at a public meeting in September.

Among other options, the document puts forward a proposal for demolishing four of the existing seven blocks to make way for more housing.

Leaseholder Gillian Horn, an architect, said: “I think it’s a sorry combination of being shameful and incompetent.”

She added: “They have lied to us, which is really serious.”

Tenants and leaseholders had expressly asked to see a study into the feasibility of additional housing on Hillcrest at the meeting in September, but were told the report had not yet been written.

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They now want the council to scrap its plans for more housing on the estate and start again from scratch in close consultation with residents.

Hannah Liptrot, treasurer of the Hillcrest Residents’ Association, said: “We are furious, and feel they won’t talk to us.

“We want them to stop talking about the decision and have a proper investigation as to why they could build on Hillcrest and what that could mean for people.”

Cllr Alan Strickland, cabinet member for housing and regeneration, said the study was commissioned two years ago and put forward “broad options” for the estate.

It did not contain any detailed plans, designs or recommendations, he said.

Under current plans, three new tower blocks could be built on the post-war estate and none of the existing blocks would be demolished. Half of all properties would be affordable.

Last week, the council announced it would give residents the power to appoint and work closely with an architect to design proposed new homes.

However, the offer has been flatly rejected.

Ms Liptrot, a leaseholder, explained: “We don’t want to sit across the table from the council to talk about the colour of door handles.

“Frankly, the residents are strongly opposed to any building at all, and we feel we have been treated badly.”

Cllr Strickland said: “The Hillcrest estate is one of more than 20 sites across the borough where we are currently exploring options for high-quality new homes to ease Haringey’s housing crunch.”

He said the council has invited a steering group to influence designs before plans are drawn up.