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'Don't force us to move' say Muswell Hill tenants as council's redevelopment plans loom

PUBLISHED: 12:02 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:07 12 August 2019

James Farmer, who is set to lose his home in Muswell Hill. Picture: Helin Tezcanli

James Farmer, who is set to lose his home in Muswell Hill. Picture: Helin Tezcanli

Archant

Vulnerable council tenants in Muswell Hill have gathered 2,500 signatures urging Haringey Council to rethink plans to redevelop their homes and force them to move temporarily.

The group, from Woodside Avenue, say the town hall's plans are "unfair" and would see some people moved to unfamiliar homes while their health is failing.

Although Haringey has agreed to compensate those affected - and says it will give people the chance to move back once development is complete - a number of householders said this wasn't enough.

The plans are expected to leave Haringey with an increase in council housing, but exact figures are not yet available.

Collectively known as Woodside Avenue Residents, the group said the petition is "to make people aware of what Haringey Council is doing to normal people".

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It claimed: "They are picking on the innocent, the old, they are picking on people that don't understand their language and it's not fair on people."

One pensioner, James Farner, 83, told the Broadway he has lived there for decades. "I have been here since they were first built, 47 years ago.

"I mean, I am sort of an invalid - I can't walk or get anywhere, except that bus stop. So I might be being selfish but that is ideal, I couldn't have anything better than that bus stop to live my life."

So far, the early plans include demolishing Cranwood Care Home in Muswell Hill and five houses behind it to create an estimated 100 new homes with some private pathways.

One resident who did not wish to be named said in their opinion Haringey Council was "the worst communicator".

Tenants are worried that, even if they are allowed to return to the site once the development is complete, the numbers of bedrooms in properties will not be matched in the new homes compared with those demolished. But Haringey insisted that no occupants wouuld be pushed out of Woodside Avenue, which suggests the numbers of rooms will be adequate for the families there now.

The council hopes to get planning permission in spring 2020. A spokesperson said the plans are to "maximise affordable housing and not to make a profit" and they will "deliver a minimum of 50 per cent new council homes at council rents".

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