Residents of council estates earmarked for redevelopment in Haringey will enjoy a guaranteed right of return, council says.
Haringey Council’s cabinet this week agreed an updated Estate Renewal, Rehousing, and Payments policy (ERRP) which guarantees the right of all council tenants to remain on their estate once it’s redeveloped.
The policy also contains a commitment to tenants that the right of return will be on equivalent social rents and the same tenancy terms.
The ERRP applies to all schemes of more than 20 homes on council housing estates, including those that could be delivered through the controversial Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV).
The cabinet agreed to the policy update after 80% of respondents to a public consultation supported the commitments.
The new ERRP also recognised the right of all resident leaseholders and freeholders the right to purchase a replacement home in the new development should they want one.
Any tenant who wishes to move elsewhere in the borough will be given a comparable social rented home of an appropriate size to meet their family’s needs, the council says.
Financial support and help with moving costs for leaseholders and tenants who would prefer to move somewhere else in the borough will also be made available under the new ERRP.
Cllr Alan Strickland, cabinet member for Housing, Regeneration and Planning said: ‘We’ve been clear all along that existing residents’ needs are at the heart of our regeneration ambitions, with new homes and jobs to benefit those who call Haringey their home.
‘We are committed to enabling communities to stay together and to ensuring that Haringey’s residents reap the rewards of the housing improvements we want to deliver.
‘This policy sets in stone the promises we’ve been making for some time – and I’m proud that they go above and beyond our legal obligations and offer reassurance to our residents.’
Cllr Gail Engert, Liberal Democrat leader of the opposition, acknowledged that the right of return had been strengthened, but said she still had concerns.
She questioned whether leaseholders could really afford a new home on the estates included in the HDV and asks how people can be expected to pay back the equity loan most will need to buy on the new estate.
The councillor also noted there appeared to be no right of return for people in sheltered housing.
‘The Labour Cabinet have failed to protect the right of return for the most vulnerable council housing estate tenants,’ said Cllr Engert.
‘It is unacceptable to say that tenants have a right of return to a rebuilt estate, except if they are in specialist housing. They are failing the people who need the most support.
‘The Liberal Democrats are also concerned that leaseholders on the estates that are due to be rebuilt will be priced out of new homes on the estate or will be lumbered with massive equity loans.
‘More needs to be done to ensure leaseholders are given a fair deal and can return.’
For more on the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) read our feature, 'Haringey's £2bn regeneration plans.'