The Judicial Review on the Haringey Development Vehicle was heard in the High Court , Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London WC2A 2LL on 25 and 26 October, supporters demonstrated support outside and inside the Court on both days (see separate reports here and here)
The challenge is to Haringey Council setting up a supposedly 50/50 partnership with the Australian multi-national corporation, Lendlease, to take over
land and property belonging to the Council, involving demolition and regeneration of estates as well as business premises and private houses in 'red-lined areas’. If it goes ahead it will be the biggest such transfer of local authority resources to a private entity in UK history. Lendlease have now joined Haringey as a defendant of the HDV in court.
And all this
without consulting the public on the HDV
- or taking it to a full Council meeting
- or sharing any of the financial risks to the public purse and assessment of viability
- or considering the consequences for the very diverse population and for vulnerable people through equalities impact
- or due consideration of partnership or company status.
This just ten years after the sell off of Alexandra Palace in Haringey was averted in court. David Wolfe, QC, acted for the claimants in that case, was representing Gordon Peters for the campaign against the HDV. He put the care against the legality of the HDV. Three QCs representing Haringey and Lendlease, who identified themselves as together in this action, then opposed our four grounds (above). Our QC was then able to show the many contradictory positions in the Cabinet and HDV process and use their own documents to underline the real intentions of the HDV deal, namely demolition and higher cost replacement and no protection for social housing and the people dependent on that (read more here).
The judge will review this and we shall learn when a decision is immanent. Lawyers do not expect this for some weeks yet. The result so far is that we have already effectively delayed the HDV by several months, and nothing can now go ahead until a decision is made on vires .
None of this would have been possible without the amazing support from the several hundred people who have contributed through our crowdfunding to raise £25,000. £20,000 of this is required for our community cap on any awards which will be requested of the judge.
We hope you will make another donation, small or large, if you possibly can. You can donate to the crowdfunder at https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/stop-hdv/
This case has implications for the future of social housing in London and beyond, and at a time of acute crisis in that and the need for alternatives to corporate control of housing, for the creation of a fairer system and an end to decanting poorer people, it could be a landmark in helping local authorities change course.