London borough pulls out of housing development joint venture

Haringey pulls out in favour of building council houses on its own land rather than (supposed) 40% affordables with developer partner. The pre-build costs are shocking. Meanwhile EDDC plans to goe ahead with its version …

“Haringey Council has voted to bury the controversial development scheme aiming to join forces with the private sector to build more housing.

The decision taken at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday means the council will now have to repay £500,000 to the company that it went into business with in the divisive regeneration project.

Cabinet documents revealed that the council’s budgeted spend since work on the Haringey Development Vehicle had begun in 2014 has been roughly £2.5m.

Following local elections in May, the council selected a new administration that promised to cancel the HDV.

Joseph Ejiofor, leader of Haringey Council, said: “The preference of this administration, as stated in our manifesto, is to build council homes on our own land. We firmly believe that what is currently public land should remain in public ownership.

“Building on commitments we made during the recent elections, we have now taken decisive action to set a new direction for the council, with this final decision that the HDV will not now go ahead.”

The £2bn programme was expected to provide 6,400 new homes in the borough, but opponents of the scheme had accused the council of social cleansing because only 40% of them would be affordable properties.

The council has already spent £250,000 in legal costs to fight a judicial review brought by campaigners against the plans, and there are fears that there could be further legal action – this time from the council’s private partner Lendlease.

Ejiofor said: “We are obviously concerned at the threat of protracted legal action by Lendlease, however the people of Haringey elected us to govern their borough, and to take decisions that are in the best interest of all Haringey’s residents.”

Ahead of the cabinet meeting on Tuesday night, Lendlease wrote a letter to the council expressing its concern.

It read: “If the council decides to reverse our appointment as the successful bidder, we will have no choice but to seek to protect Lendlease’s interest given our very significant investment over the last two and a half years.”

Lendlease has been contacted for comment. …”

https://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2018/07/haringey-ditches-divisive-housebuilding-project

One thought on “London borough pulls out of housing development joint venture

  1. There is of course one significant difference between the new administration in Haringey and East Devon that can be neatly summed up by the ethical stance summarised in the second half of Haringey Council’s last sentence: “to take decisions that are in the best interest of all Haringey’s residents”.

    If only that were true in East Devon, with EDDC being equally concerned to protect the interests of existing residents rather than favour developers by agreeing unjustifiably high housing growth and then using that as an excuse to grant planning permission to developers (often without a reasonable level of affordable housing provision).

    We can dream of the day that the Conservative leadership at EDDC take an ethical stance, but in reality nothing is likely to change until – like Haringey – there is a change of leadership to a more ethical party or indeed to control by independent councillors who, by their very definition of not being in kow-tow to a political party, often have a far greater ethical commitment.

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