In recent months many constituents, local Labour Party members, community organisations and trade unions have raised concerns about the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) with me. I share many of these concerns, and have raised them with the Council Chief Executive and Council Leader both in writing and in person on a number of occasions.
I raised concerns with Haringey Council Chief Executive Nick Walkley in two joint letters from myself and my Haringey Labour colleague Catherine West MP on 19th December and 11th January, which I have published here.
I am particularly concerned about the affordability of the new homes that the HDV will deliver; the bidding process and choice of a private partner; the employment practices of the preferred bidder Lend Lease and the need for more thorough consultation with Haringey residents.
I have serious concerns about the significant financial risks that a development of this scale involves, and the lack of oversight and scrutiny of the process so far – issues that were raised by the Haringey Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee last month.
I also want to make my position absolutely clear on current residents that will be affected by the HDV: the Council must guarantee that current residents will have the right to return to their homes on the same terms as they currently live following any redevelopment that takes place under the HDV.
Despite the huge challenges that Haringey Council faces in terms of funding and budget cuts, it is essential that our local authority is able to deliver high-quality genuinely affordable homes; mixed, safe communities; and jobs for the residents of Haringey.
This, however, must not come at the expense of the people of Haringey, and the Council must not pursue a policy of this nature and on this scale without scrutiny, oversight, consultation and guarantees to mitigate the financial risks to local taxpayers.