Hundreds of StopHDV supporters and local residents marched from Ducketts Common to demonstrate outside the Council on Wednesday night. Inside the Council debated a motion about the HDV.
The Liberal Democrats had requested an emergency Full Council meeting following the collapse of Carillion plc to call on the Council to abandon the HDV, which like many Carillion projects is a Joint Venture with a private company (Lendlease).
Stop HDV called a demonstration and rally outside the Council to support councillors from all parties in opposing the HDV. Hundreds of local residents and supporters of the campaign attended and marched up Wood Green High street voicing their opposition to the scheme.
Inside the Council Chamber a delegation of residents of Northumberland Park Estate made a powerful appeal to the Council to end the HDV. Resident Sam Legatt, speaking for the delegation said: "We recognise there are problems in the area, but this plan is not the answer. This plan is more than the demolition of our homes. It’s about the demolition of our lives. The real answer is investment. Millions have been poured into the area, in the last 15 years or more. Where has it gone, and what tangible improvements do we have to show for it? What is really needed is investment in desperately needed council homes at rents that are really-affordable to working families, plus the renovation and renewal of existing stock we have paid for. Please, stop peddling the length of the waiting list as some sort of selling point, and really address it. We also need a ballot. Stop treating us as if we are too stupid to see the big picture."
Council Leader Claire Kober and Alan Strickland, Cabinet Member for Housing & Regeneration (Neither of whom will be standing as councillors in May's elections) proposed an amendment to the Lib Dem motion which effectively gutted the motion of all criticism of the HDV and proposed:
- The Leader of the Council‟s announcement, communicated to all Councillors on 30th January, that she does not intend to make a final decision on the set-up of the Haringey Development Vehicle prior to the beginning of the pre-election period on 26th March
- That the final decision on the set-up of the Haringey Development Vehicle will therefore be made by the administration formed following the Borough elections in May 2018.
The whole Labour Group united behind this amendment, which was carried. Part of the reasoning given by both Pro-HDV and Anti-HDV Labour Councillors for supporting this was that the full council did not, constitutionally, have the right to overturn a Cabinet decision. This is an absurd and outrageous example of the lack of democracy in Local Government and something that the incoming Council should change. Even so, this was a missed opportunity for the full Council to declare that it wanted the HDV to be stopped. It seems that electioneering has already started and party unity is being reasserted in advance of the coming elections.
Nonetheless, the Council has rubber-stamped Ms Kober's announcements to the press that the Council will not make the final decision on the HDV until after the elections in May. If the Councillors and candidates who have declared themselves to be against the HDV hold firm to this the HDV will be stopped after the elections.
But StopHDV will not rest and will continue to build the public and political campaign against the HDV until that decision has been taken and the HDV is dead and the coffin nailed down. We have acheived so much to turn this around in the last year, now just a further push and we will win.
The video of the Council meeting can be seen here