Haringey leader vows to build new homes after axing HDV

The leader of Haringey Council has pledged to deliver 1,000 new council homes over the next four years, after scrapping the controversial Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV).

The London borough’s cabinet voted on July 17 to abandon the HDV joint venture with developers Lendlease, which was developed by the previous Labour administration.

The cabinet report warned that ending the contract with Lendlease will mean the London borough will have to pay Lendlease £520,275 to cover costs.

It also noted that the council has already spent around £2.4m on the project, as well as £250,000 defending a judicial review, which was brought by residents.

‘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 interests of all Haringey’s residents,’ said Haringey council leader, Cllr Joseph Ejiofor.

‘As set out in the cabinet report, this is an informed decision which we are taking with our eyes open.

‘The preference of this administration, as stated in our manifesto, is to build council homes on our own land,’ added Cllr Ejiofor.

‘We firmly believe that what is currently public land should remain in public ownership. We are committed to building new, affordable homes over the next four years – including the delivery of 1,000 new council homes – and we start from the principle the council should be delivering those homes itself.’

Haringey Liberal Democrat’s housing spokesperson, Cllr Dawn Barnes commented: ‘This is a case of better late than never. Had Labour listened earlier to the warning voices from the Lib Dem council group, the wider community or even their own ranks, they would have spared Haringey taxpayers two and half million pounds of costs.

‘However, we need to look to the future,’ added Cllr Barnes. ‘Few people will mourn the outsized financial risks and involvement of a controversial conglomerate. However, we can’t let its failure become an excuse for timidity when it comes to house building. We have a serious housing supply crisis. Labour need to move quickly to make sure that the wholly-council-owned housing company can start delivering large numbers of homes, and soon.’

In a statement issued after the cabinet meeting, Lendlease’s Europe chief executive, Dan Labbad said it had made ‘every effort’ to work with the council to find a way forward to help solve Haringey’s housing crisis.

‘At the end of the day it’s the residents of Haringey who will suffer most from this decision, given that 10,000 families remain in desperate need of a home,’ said Mr Labbad.

‘We are extremely disappointed the council has voted not to proceed with the HDV without even offering us the opportunity to discuss face-to-face, undoing four years of planning in just a matter of weeks,’ he added.


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