Opposition challenges Haringey Council’s delayed appointment of emergency planning chief at ‘crucial’ time

Haringey Council. Picture: Ken Mears

Haringey Council. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Haringey Council’s delay to replace its cabinet member responsible for emergency planning has left a “leadership vacuum at a crucial time”, warns the opposition.

Cllr Kaushika Amin was moved to lead the town hall’s children’s services following the sacking of Cllr Zena Brabazon, confirmed on June 8, over a controversial child services case.

Cllr Amin’s previous role as cabinet member for corporate and civic services, a portfolio which covers libraries, leisure centres and emergency planning, has remained vacant.

Haringey Labour says a replacement will be appointed by June 30.

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Cllr Alessandra Rossetti, Haringey Liberal Democrats’ arts, culture and leisure spokesperson said: “The lack of political leadership at this key time shows what an afterthought Haringey’s libraries, leisure centres and cultural venues are for Labour.

“Reopening these facilities safely will require careful planning and preparation to ensure all guidelines are clearly communicated and in place.

“We have already seen outdoor facilities which Government guidance says could be reopened and are open in neighbouring boroughs, remaining shut, due to a lack of preparation by the council.

“Without a cabinet member in place, there is no one empowered to make the decisions or who can be held publicly accountable for their performance.”

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A Haringey Labour spokesperson said Cllr Amin’s replacement would be announced after “careful consideration” and that the reopening of public facilities would be made at the council’s discretion.

They said: “As a borough we’ve kept infection rates under control by exercising caution, bolstered by the sacrifices residents have made by staying home; this is not something we are willing to squander.

“It’s irresponsible for the opposition to complain about reopening public facilities when they are well aware of the danger Covid-19 presents to the residents of Haringey.

“Our dense population and high proportion of BAME residents means that we are at higher risk of coronavirus fatalities.

“We have already announced that this administration supports Cllr Hearn’s decision that it is not yet safe to reopen public sports courts and outdoor gyms.”