Haringey Council U-turns on demolishing Muswell Hill homes - after buying ex-council house for £2.15m

Woodside Avenue resident James Farmer, 85 (left) and number 106 (right) which Haringey Council bough

Woodside Avenue resident James Farmer, 85 (left) and number 106 (right) which Haringey Council bought for £2.15m. Pictures: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Haringey Council has U-turned on plans to redevelop a terrace in Muswell Hill despite spending £2.15 million on one of the houses.

Cranwood Nursing Home has been disused since 2012. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cranwood Nursing Home has been disused since 2012. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Polly Hancock

Council tenants in Woodside Avenue, some who have lived there for nearly 50 years, say they are “overwhelmed” after their eight homes were saved from demolition under council proposals to redevelop the old Cranwood Nursing Home.

To facilitate the project, number 106 – a three-bedroom ex-council house – was bought by Haringey Council for £2.15m last June. It is currently housing a family as temporary accommodation and is valued at less than £1 million.

Despite the £2.15m outlay, plus £213,000 to date for the development of the wider Cranwood site, the council has now U-turned.

“After consulting with residents” it has decided to redevelop only the former Cranwood Nursing Home – without knocking down the Woodside Avenue houses.

102-108 Woodside Avenue. Picture: Polly Hancock

102-108 Woodside Avenue. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Rose Mistica, 63, told the Ham&High it was a victory of “liberty” hers and her neighbours’ homes had been saved.

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“It’s very difficult to describe because moving means you lose whatever you’ve had,” she said.

“If we had moved out it would have been a completely different story. I am completely overwhelmed.”

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Last year Rose’s neighbour Tina started a petition to save their Woodside Avenue homes which gathered more than 5,000 signatures.

She thanked supporters of the campaign, telling this newspaper: “The truth is I still don’t believe it myself – we’re over the moon but it’s still a shock to our system.

“All of us are very happy that the houses are saved, every single one of them.”

READ MORE: ‘Don’t force us to move’ say Muswell Hill tenants as council’s redevelopment plans loom

READ MORE: Cranwood Nursing Home set to become first site for Haringey’s new council house building programme

The redevelopment of Cranwood Nursing Home, which closed in 2012 and is on the corner of Woodside Avenue and Muswell Hill, will still proceed.

Under these proposals, which the council expects to review “by autumn”, 42 council homes will be built.

A year after Haringey’s £2.1m purchase of its former council house, 106 Woodside Avenue is now valued between £702,000-£858,000 by property website Zoopla, the lower estimate being a third of the price the town hall paid.

The council has shelved its plans to also purchase number 104, the only remaining freehold property of the eight Woodside Avenue homes.

Haringey Defend Council Housing secretary Paul Burnham said the purchase of 106 and its U-turn on Woodside Avenue was down to a lack of consultation with residents.

“What they did was try to move people out of their homes first, and then have a consultation afterwards. It’s completely unacceptable,” he said.

“You can’t just move people around like moving chess pieces around a chess board – that’s not how it works.”

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West was” delighted” the Woodside Avenue homes were saved.

She said: “We do desperately need more social housing, but it must be done in a way that doesn’t displace existing tenants.”

Cllr Julia Ogiehor (Lib Dem, Muswell Hill) was “glad” residents are no longer facing eviction.

She said: “As I told the council’s planning committee in March, it is important that the council is transparent about its next steps and consults properly on any new plans.

“That way they can avoid creating anxiety for residents and unnecessary expense for council taxpayers.”

Cllr Emine Ibrahim (Lab, Noel Park), Haringey Council’s housing lead, said there had been “no substantial loss” from the “redesign” of the development and that it had “overcome a number of issues surrounding site assembly”.

Cllr Ibrahim said: “We will always listen to our residents and our plans have recently been amended so that we no longer intend to include the eight houses in the new development.”

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