Jan 172018

Tenants and housing campaigners lobbied Haringey Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday over housing demolitions, social cleansing, and a new state of the art Civic HQ that the Council wants to build in Wood Green.

The Cabinet, rocked by deselections after more than 1,000 Labour party members attended meetings to choose candidates for this May’s elections, rubber-stamped plans to knock down homes in Wood Green,  and to renew its contract with its arms length housing management company, despite the closure of resident panels and the derecognition of leaseholder and elderly residents’ representative groups. 

Residents lobbied in support of 300 tenants at two housing association estates above a shopping centre and a car park in Wood Green town centre, which are set for demolition. 

These are good homes, at really-affordable rents.  Tenant Paul Burnham and Cllr Peray Ahmet both called for ballots before demolition, in line with Labour Party policy.

6,400 new, unaffordable homes are planned for Wood Green.  Higher house prices would drive people out.

Developers like Lendlease and St William (a joint venture between the National Grid and Berkeley Homes) are only interested in the bottom line.

Paul Burnham explained how rents could increase.  An average two bed Haringey Council property pays £103.95 weekly in rent. But Sadiq Khan’s ‘London Affordable Rent’ is £152.73 for a two-bed,  and Haringey Council’s ‘Affordable Rent’ is even worse at £232.77; all plus service charges.

[Info from Freedom of Information, https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/average_rents_for_haringey_counc#outgoing-705910]

“These are massive increases, affecting those on low pay, or with limited savings, or in debt”, Paul Burnham said. “This can only lead to social cleansing”.

“The new Civic Centre adds insult to injury”, Paul said.

The Council wants to sell its existing Civic Centre, Council Offices and Wood Green public library sites for redevelopment, and a state of the art Civic HQ would be set in an all-new Public Square in Wood Green; for the Councillors to explain the need for house demolitions and cuts to services. 

A change in the Council leadership is now inevitable this May. We urgently need this Cabinet’s rotten policies to be changed as well. 

(From Haringey Defend Council Housing Web Blog - here )