Here’s the evidence that the Housing Development Vehicle would not deliver public policy objectives

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Unless otherwise indicated, the page references below are all from the LBH Cabinet papers 03/07/17, Public Appendices, Items 9 &10:
https://www.minutes.haringey.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=118&MId=8288&Ver=4

 

1. Haringey Council’s Cabinet claims that it can deliver public objectives by the proposed Haringey Development Vehicle, a 50:50 joint venture with the developer Lendlease, and that the HDV will comply with all Council policies.

2. However, the Cabinet papers for the meeting of 03/07/17 demonstrate that this is not so, in two respects:

ONE: The Cabinet has agreed to exempt the HDV from future Council policy on ‘Right of Return’ for those whose homes are demolished; and on rehousing Housing Association tenants.

3. The Council is in the process of revising its Estate Renewal and Re-Housing Payments Policy (currently in consultation) to include a ‘Right of Return’ for those Secure tenants, Assured tenants, and resident leaseholders and freeholders whose homes are demolished; and to include within the scope of the policy such Housing Association schemes in which Haringey Council determines that it has a strategic interest.

4. However according to the proposed Land Assembly Agreement between the Council and the HDV (p107-109), the Cabinet has agreed that the Lendlease HDV business plans ‘prioritise a single move for residents rather than Right of Return’; and ‘do not allow for rehousing of housing association tenants’ (5.4.1 and 5.4.2 on p 108). The Agreement says that the Council might have to pay Lendlease additional subsidy if any tenants return to Category 1 sites, primarily Cranwood and Northumberland Park, after demolition (5.4.3); and that ‘Additional commitments to rehousing housing association/registered social landlord tenants will be a matter for the Council’ (5.4.2).

5. The claim that the HDV will adhere to Council policy is proved to be false. The Council would have set up the HDV to carry out housing developments, and then need to make extra payments, or make other separate arrangements, to deliver on its agreed policies toward residents. The Cabinet’s agreement that the HDV business plan does not need to be based on Council policies on these matters can only mean in practice that the Right of Return and HA tenant protections (which would come into play over a long time period, mediated by many personal choices and by informal officer advice and behaviour) would be less fully enacted, than if the HDV had agreed a business plan based on the Council’s actual policy.

TWO: the Council, Lendlease and Affordable Housing Tenures

6. Haringey Council policies, for example the Housing Strategy and the Tenancy Strategy, state that the Council will support Affordable housing Tenures, including Council and housing association lets at Target rents, and also the ‘Affordable Rent’ lets which were introduced by the government after 2010:

http://www.haringey.gov.uk/sites/haringeygovuk/files/housing_strategy_2017-2022.pdf p 38

http://www.haringey.gov.uk/sites/haringeygovuk/files/tenancystrategyfinal_oct14.pdf

7. Affordable housing Tenures give rights and protections under the Housing Acts and other legislation, to Secure Council tenants, Assured Housing Association tenants and ‘Affordable Rent’ tenants.

8. Possession grounds, rent-setting arrangements, length of tenancies and legal rights of consultation are all much better for those with Affordable housing Tenures than for private sector tenants.

9. For example, when market rents are going up as they have been for the last ten years, private sector tenants in areas like Tottenham have faced the frequent ending of shorthold tenancies by private landlords who are keen to charge more rent, to some other new tenant. People have had to move house again and again, with no recourse so long as the appropriate Notice has been served.

10. However, according to the HDV Strategic Business Plan: Place (p 696),

A ‘one size fits all’ approach to housing delivery will not address the underlying issues and disparities between the sites, nor will it best respond to the underlying objectives of the HDV.

Central to this approach is to move away from focusing on categorisation of ‘affordable’ and ‘private’ tenures and instead to focus on providing homes to ‘buy’ and ‘rent’ for a range of income levels.

11. The HDV and Lendlease want ‘to move away’ from ‘affordable tenures’, towards a freer market system, with developers and landlords charging whatever the market will bear, for a range of income and savings levels.

12. This contradicts the Council’s policies which recognise that affordable housing Tenures are the only type of housing accessible to the many Haringey households with low and uncertain incomes; while 48% of Haringey households cannot afford deposits on new homes, of any tenure, because they have no savings, or are in debt.  (See para 5.101, Haringey’s Strategic Housing Market Assessment, 2014, http://www.haringey.gov.uk/sites/haringeygovuk/files/strategic_housing_market_assessment.pdf)

13. There is no place for the poor in Lendlease’s vision for housing.

14. It is usual for indicative tenure breakdowns to be provided in public sector housing plans, especially where the demolition of 1,165 tenanted and leasehold council homes is planned, as is the case at Northumberland Park.

15. However, following on from their statement of intent on Affordable Housing Tenures, the HDV/Lendlease do not provide any tenure breakdown for the 1,281 new homes they want to build in Wood Green (p1134), or the 5,003 new homes they want to build at Northumberland Park (p873).

16. The Cabinet papers make it clear that the HDV could not reasonably be expected to deliver the Council’s policy on Affordable Housing Tenures.

17. It is most likely that the Lendlease-managed HDV would become a powerful lobbyist for the extension of free housing markets, and the further erosion of Affordable housing tenures.

18. The impact of establishing the HDV would cut against the Council’s Housing Strategy and Tenancy Strategy, and would be immensely harmful to local people and especially to poorer communities in the borough.

Paul Burnham
27/07/2017

 

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