Haringey Council has voted to cancel its £2 billion housing deal with developer Lendlease – the final nail in the coffin for the controversial partnership
The decision to axe the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) joint venture was taken at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening after councillors decided it did not provide the answer to the ’challenges faced by the council’.
The local authority’s newly elected cabinet also objected to the amount of council-owned land the HDV would transfer to the developer, arguing ’public land should remain in public ownership’.
Speaking after the decision, the new leader of Haringey, Joseph Ejiofor, said: ’Building on the commitments we made during the recent elections, we have now taken decisive action to set a new direction for the council, with this final decision that the HDV will not now go ahead.
’We know a decision like this should not be taken lightly, in the same way that we know we have a duty to listen to all voices in our local communities.’
Ahead of the meeting, Lendlease wrote to the newly elected cabinet stating that if the council scraps the project it will have no choice but to ‘seek to protect its interests’.
According to cabinet papers, the council will also have to pay Lendlease around £520,275 in costs now the project has been abandoned.
However, Ejiofor said while he was ’obviously concerned at the threat of protracted legal action by Lendlease’ he had been elected to take decisions that are in the best interests of residents.
In a statement, Lendlease’s Dan Labbad, Europe chief executive officer, said the company was ’extremely disappointed’ at the decision.
He said: ’We’ve made every effort to work with the council to find a way forward to help solve Haringey’s housing crisis.
’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.’
The HDV was approved last July and aimed to build 6,400 homes, as well as new schools, a health centre and a new town centre for Wood Green. But the 50:50 joint venture was fiercely opposed by local residents and divided councillors within the Labour-run authority, causing many who supported the deal to step down at May’s local council elections.
Former council leader Claire Kober quit her post in January, claiming she had experienced ‘bullying’ over her decision to push through the flagship policy.
At the council meeting this week, Haringey also voted to establish a wholly-owned development company.
Splash hdv illustrative masterplan 2048x1536