Articles

Once again on the Haringey HDV: a response to Dave Hill

In Uncategorized on July 5, 2017 by kmflett

We have been here before but after Monday’s meeting of Haringey Council’s Cabinet that voted to proceed with the controversial Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) it is worth revisiting the underlying logic of what its about.

Let’s be clear as Secretary of Haringey TUC I’m opposed to the HDV and part of the campaign against it. That wont change unless those I represent tell me its changing. But I can still have personal views, which, to underline, are in accord with that position.

Dave Hill has blogged again on the matter:

http://www.onlondon.co.uk/haringeys-bold-housing-plans-have-outraged-some-but-how-viable-are-the-alternatives/

I don’t usually agree with Dave. For a start he supports a South London football team. Secondly he is follicily challenged and apparently proud to be so. More particularly I don’t often agree with his views on London (now post Grauniad on his blog). But so what? Life would be really boring if we only engaged with people we agree with and Dave makes important points (wrong ones often, but not the less important for that).

On the HDV I think we’d have some agreement. No question that years of Tory and LibDem austerity have left local Councils in a tough situation. No question too that when it comes to London’s housing crisis something really does need to be done.

Is the HDV the answer? Dave thinks it might be. I doubt it.

To re-cap the big issues. Haringey a local Council with, of necessity, limited funds and professional expertise plans a partnership with a multinational privateer Lendlease. This is not a partnership of equals. Dave notes the model is similar to some being used by TFL and not the failed scheme at Southwark, Good. The reality remains though that if Lendlease decides for whatever reason to walk away (to novate the contract) the Council’s only recourse is to the Courts. Who has the money to pay the lawyers here?

Secondly there is the issue of the scale of the scheme, the biggest in the UK apparently. It has the feel of putting all your funds on the 15.00 at Ascot. It might work of course, but if not? Why not run a much smaller scheme and see if it actually works? What would be called ‘prudent’ in New Labour speak. Perhaps that wouldn’t cost in. If so that underlines the scale of the gamble. Private companies may take gambles, shareholders notwithstanding. This is a local Council.

Finally the issue of support for the HDV. Some Labour Councillors back it. And quite a few don’t (the LibDems don’t count here. They’d be doing it if they were running the Council. Unfair? Check Vince Cable’s sell off of the Royal Mail). That is telling in itself as is the apparent reality that most of those whose homes will be demolished as a result of the HDV don’t seem to know.

The CLPs, MPs and Unions are all opposed. That tells me that if the Council leadership are right about the HDV they are absolutely dreadful at explaining why that it is to anyone else. That is an untenable position.

Time to think again.

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