The £2bn, 20-year regeneration project dubbed ‘the future for London’ has claimed another cabinet councillor in its borough – this time through a resignation.
Haringey Labour councillor Peray Ahmet has stepped down, saying the council had no mandate to continue with the “divisive and rightly criticised” Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV).
The resignation piles more pressure onto Haringey council leader Claire Kober, who has seen support for HDV evaporate over recent months.
In a veiled attack on HDV, Cllr Ahmet – formerly cabinet member for environment – urged Cllr Kober not to take any major decisions before the local elections in May – with only four of Haringey’s 10 cabinet members seeking re-election.
Kober fought back, citing Ahmet previous support for HDV ahead of a “change of mind” that implied “longstanding and principled” opposition.
Nor did Kober accept the absence of a mandate, saying: “ A protocol’ that sitting councils should not take major decisions in advance of elections does not exist.”
Ahead of Ahmet’s resignation, of the 28 Labour councillors backing HDV, 22 have been deselected or retired with just six reselected ahead of local elections in May.
At the start of the process, there was a 29-21 split amongst Labour councillors in favour of HDV.
Now it’s headed for 12 for and 45 against.
Kober – who called HDV the future for London – could still try to force HDV through ahead of the election if a judicial review gives her enough ground to do so.
HDV has been billed the largest sell-off of its kind ever undertaken by a local authority in the UK, with potential pitched for 10,000 new homes.
Under the plan, public assets – including council homes – would be transferred into the HDV as a new company owned 50/50 by Haringey Council and multi-national developer Lendlease in a deal set to last 20 years.
In Wood Green, the heart of the borough, HDV pitches 6,000 new homes alone.
Opponents are not convinced by the council’s commitment to affordability percentages or the right of return for residents.
They say the money invested in HDV would be would be better spent on improving existing estates.
Haringey Council’s own scrutiny cross-party committee has twice called for an immediate pause to HDV saying its potential benefits are not as obvious as its potential flaws.