Haringey Council has decided to postpone any final decision on their controversial £2bn housing regeneration scheme until after the local elections.
A meeting of the borough’s councillors last night confirmed the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), a joint venture between the local authority and the private developers Lendlease, will be delayed until after the May elections.
The scheme, which would see £2bn of public assets placed in a private fund, has been criticised by the left-wing of the Labour Party as well as opposition Liberal Democrat councillors.
The council argues the HDV would enable the authority to build 6,400 new homes and create thousands of new jobs. However, the scheme’s critics claim it amounts to privatisation.
Council leader Claire Kober, who has announced she will be stepping down at the next local elections, said on 30 January she did not intend to take the final decisions required for the setup of the HDV prior to the start of the pre-election period.
Cllr Kober said she wanted to wait for the Royal Court of Justice's judgement following a judicial review hearing of the HDV.
The court’s judgement, published today, said permission to proceed with the claim for judicial review was refused on all grounds — a finding welcomed by the council.
Responding to the judgement, the campaign group StopHDV said there were ‘clear and strong’ grounds for appeal.
The Liberal Democrats said after last night’s meeting that the Labour administration’s decision to defer any final decision on the HDV — rather than abandon it outright — was ‘unforgiveable’.
A spokesperson for the party insisted Labour’s failure to stop the scheme opens the door for the ‘crisis-ridden Kober administration’ to sign off on the HDV between the local elections on 3 May and new councillors taking their posts on 24 May.
However, a statement from the council said any future decision would be left to the next administration.
‘Whilst we are very pleased that the court has supported the council’s position, we are still working on the basis that the final decision to establish the HDV will be taken by a future administration,’ said a spokesperson.
For more on the HDV see our feature, ‘Haringey’s £2bn regeneration plans.’