Over the past few weeks I have been contacted by a number of concerned constituents regarding the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV).
Indeed, I share a number of the concerns raised regarding the current proposals, and it’s an issue I’ve been following closely since I was first elected in 2015. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham and I have raised particular concerns with Haringey Council around the scale of the proposals, the percentage of affordable housing, the housing offer that would be made to council tenants who lose their home in any estate regeneration and the impact on businesses whose premises are included.
We both felt it was a very ambitious scheme at a very uncertain time, and required much more public debate. Copies of our joint letters can be found here.
Following Haringey Council’s agreement on a set of principles for the HDV, David Lammy MP and I held a meeting with Haringey Council’s Leader and Chief Executive where we sought specific guarantees, including:
-A firm commitment to a minimum of 40 per cent affordable housing. I believe, and will continue to argue, that these must be genuinely affordable homes – not the Tory Government’s idea of “affordable” which is anything but.
-No “right to buy” to be available on the new homes built so they’ll remain in public ownership for future generations.
-Overcrowded tenants being rehoused will be offered larger properties.
-Confirmation that no public land will be passed to the HDV without a clear Council Cabinet agreed business plan that sets out expectations for the number and type of homes, jobs and employment space as well as open space and community facilities.
This is positive and welcome progress, but there remains a number of questions to be answered, particularly around the financial risks involved with this project; the need to guarantee that current residents will have the right to return to new homes on the same estates on the same terms and also concerns surrounding Lendlease, the Council’s preferred bidder, and their past involvement in blacklisting of construction workers - concerns which many Trade Unionists and I share.
There is no question that we desperately need more genuinely affordable homes in Haringey - it is the number one issue that people come to see me about at my regular advice surgeries. After seven years of massive government cuts and a Tory Government that has presided over the lowest home building programme since the 1920s, I can understand why Haringey Council has felt the need to look at things differently.
However, in light of all of the above, I support calls for the decision to be put on hold for outstanding questions to be answered and to allow ample time for the issues the Council’s Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel have raised to be fully addressed. I will continue to follow developments extremely closely and raise issues with Haringey Council as needed.