Under the scheme, public assets will be transferred into a new company, the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), owned 50/50 by Haringey council and private firm Lendlease, in a deal set to last 20 years.
On Monday evening, the Labour-run council will vote on the largest sell-off of its kind ever undertaken by a UK local authority. But earlier in the day, two local north London MPs sent the council’s leader, Claire Kober, a strongly worded letter.
David Lammy, for Tottenham, and Catherine West, for Hornsey and Wood Green, reiterated concerns that include the affordability of the homes, the bidding process, the financial risks to the council and the lack of oversight.
The letter reads: “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.”
Kober said the issues raised by the disaster at Grenfell Tower did not justify “reneging” on the local manifesto pledges to build new homes. “The Haringey Development Vehicle – a 50/50 partnership between the council and developers Lendlease – is an innovative approach to regeneration that will deliver change local people can benefit from,” she added.
The council plans to demolish whole streets of publicly owned buildings as part of a vast regeneration project in which 6,400 new homes will be built.
Local councillors estimate that up to 20 Labour councillors, out of 49 in total, oppose the scheme, as well as all Lib Dem members, the two constituency Labour parties, plus trade unions and a number of local activist groups. The council’s scrutiny committee has twice in the past six months called for an immediate pause to the plans.
The MPs urged the council to consider a recommendation by the authority’s overview and scrutiny committee to use a wholly council-owned housing company to purchase and manage the HDV social and affordable homes “to ensure that there will be no overall reduction in the number of homes in the borough that are wholly owned and managed by the council”.
Public-private partnerships have come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze.
Read full article: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/03/labour-mps-urge-haringey-council-to-rethink-housing-sell-off#img-1