Over the last couple of years, Haringey Council’s plans for the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), where they intend to partner with the developer Lendlease, has been a topic of heated discussion across the Tottenham community and beyond. Here’s our guide to the controversial plans. Comment below to add your thoughts.
What is the HDV?
The Haringey Development Vehicle is Haringey Council’s plan for a 50:50 deal with private developer Lendlease. The partnership would see Haringey Council giving some of its existing land to Lendlease for development which would see Lendlease match this with cash and development expertise.
Haringey Council claim that by keeping a 50% stake, it would enable them to approve every decision, keeping them in control. On their website they state: ‘It also means the partners share the returns and we can ensure that our share of profits goes back into other regeneration initiatives, affordable housing and funding the services we provide to residents.’
‘As with all local authorities, our budgets have been cut substantially. Since 2010 we have lost funding of around £160m with more cuts to come – by 2020 the council will be around half the size it was just a decade earlier.
‘…residents and businesses from around the borough have told us they want new homes, jobs and opportunities. Only by securing private investment and expertise can we hope to redevelop some council-owned land at the scale and pace needed.’
The deal has been proposed as a long term partnership lasting 15 to 20 years and the council has claimed that the first phase would see 6400 new homes built, a new town centre for Wood Green and new jobs for the community.
Who are Lendlease?
Lendlease Group is the multinational construction, property and infrastructure company, headquartered in Australia, behind the controversial redevelopment of the Heygate Estate in Southwark. Lendlease was fined $56million in the US for a ‘huge fraud scheme in which it overbilled clients’ for over a decade as reported in the New York Times in 2012.
How many council estates might be effected?
The deal, worth up to £2 billion, could involve up to 17 council estates across the borough. The focus in Tottenham is the Northumberland Park regeneration area. The plans could see up to 40% affordable housing being built on the land of the demolished blocks and estates. This 40% includes the allowance for social housing, but no official numbers have been released for social homes.
What impact might the demolition and redevelopment have on Tottenham and the local residents?
In order to build all the promised new homes existing council buildings, currently occupied by council tenants and leaseholders, would be demolished and see the existing residents ‘decanted’ into alternative accommodation whilst the new homes are built. Although the council promises a right of return for all tenants, the move could be very disruptive to residents and many feel that they would lose connections to the existing community – for some, a place that they have been for decades. The 60% of new homes not at ‘affordable’ rates would arguably lead to people being priced out of the area.
What’s the general consensus of local people?
Many locals, who are aware of the HDV plans, are against the demolition and privatisation of council owned property and land and have joined campaign groups such as Stop HDV, The Two Billion Pound Gamble, Haringey Defend Council Housing and Our Tottenham.
David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, and Catherine West, the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, wrote to the then council leader Claire Kober last June raising concerns about the plans. As reported in The Guardian, the letter read:
‘In addition to reiterating these concerns, in light of the fire at Grenfell Tower we write today with the utmost urgency to urge caution and call on the cabinet to pause and reflect further on whether entering into a public-private partnership is the correct decision for the borough and its residents.
‘In our view no decision should be taken on the HDV until a fully updated business case is evaluated and further work is carried out by an external adviser or auditor to analyse and review the risks relating to the HDV.’
DT filmed a protest organised by Stop HDV and other community groups on 3 July last year which saw a huge march from Ducketts Common (across from Turnpike Lane tube), along Green Lanes, and descended on the Haringey Council head office on Station Road in Wood Green. It was an emotive evening with a large turnout, which stopped traffic – a bus driver even joined in tooting his horn – with people chanting ‘no permission for demolition. Stop the HDV!’ and ‘hands off our homes and our communities.’
The protest was held on the same day that a full cabinet meeting was held on the HDV deal.
What is Stop HDV all about?
Stop HDV is a group of local residents and business owners who have been fighting the HDV. Gordon Peters, part of the Stop HDV group, successfully crowdfunded for a court case last year, the hearing took place in October, which questioned Haringey Council and Lendlease on their ‘flawed process of housing demolition and regeneration’.
On 8 February 2018, a judgement was handed down by Justice Ouseley which refused permission to proceed with the claim for judicial review on all grounds. The community group submitted an appeal later that month and there have been no further updates so far.
What happened to Claire Kober and the previous council?
Under the previous council, Claire Kober led Haringey Council for 10 years, and was one of the youngest council leaders when she took the role in 2008 aged 30. At the beginning of 2018, she announced that she would be standing down from her role as council leader and ward councillor for Seven Sisters in the local May elections. It is claimed that a contributing factor was her decision to implement the HDV deal and the opposition towards it. 22 Haringey councillors opposed the scheme and asked Labour’s National Executive (NEC) to intervene. The NEC passed a motion requesting the HDV be stopped unless there was more of a consensus, which meant the final deal couldn’t be signed. The BBC reported that ‘This decision was met with criticism from several Labour council leaders across the country who publicly backed Ms Kober.’
And that, Claire Kober felt ‘deeply disappointed.’
She added: ‘The sexism, bullying, undemocratic behaviour, and outright personal attacks on me, as the most senior woman in Labour local government, has left me disappointed and disillusioned.’
Recent news has announced that Kober has taken up a role as director of housing at Pinnacle, a housing management group.
Ahead of the local elections in May a number of councillors were deselected. All of them had voted for the HDV. Joseph Ejiofor was chosen as the new leader of the council.
What’s all this about Momentum?
The main stream press has reported that it was mainly pressure from leftist Labour group Momentum, and that they were behind the anti-HDV campaign, that lead Claire Kober to quit, but some Tottenham locals see it a little differently. Read Aditya Chakrabortty’s explanation in The Guardian.
A new labour council has recently been elected. Does this have any impact on the HDV?
Before the council elections, the previous council promised that no final actions would be taken until the new councillors have been voted in. During the election hustings the potential candidates claimed they were almost certain that the HDV plans wouldn’t go ahead after election.
There is yet to be an update on whether the HDV is due to go ahead.
What are the alternatives?
A community-led housing project in South Tottenham, StART Haringey, have been making waves towards community-led affordable housing projects with plans for 800 new affordable homes to go in on the two thirds of the St Ann’s hospital site that has been sold. This could lead the way for new community-led housing projects across the country. After heavily campaigning over the last couple of years, StART have managed to persuade the GLA (Greater London Authority) to temporarily buy the land which means that 50% affordable housing will be guaranteed on the site whatever happens. Read our article with StART and details on their update.
Will High Road West still be going ahead?
Subject to planning permission, the council still intends to go into a 50:50 deal with Lendlease for the regeneration and development of High Road West including the Love Lane estate and parts of White Hart Lane. This is a separate project to the HDV but is following a very similar deal.
Let us know your thoughts on the controversial plans in the comments below.