CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Councillors must heed the lessons from Haringey and support the abandonment of the scheme there which would rip up communities

08 February, 2018

• WE are writing to express our support for the abandonment of the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) and the intervention of Labour’s National Executive Committee to mediate in this particular matter.

The HDV was a divisive and deeply controversial project dogmatically pursued by Claire Kober, who last week announced her intention to resign as leader of Haringey Council.

The project would have seen £2billion of Haringey’s public assets given away in a 20-year 50:50 split deal with offshore private developer Lendlease, notorious for the development of Southwark’s Heygate estate in which over a 1,000 social homes were demolished with a return of just 82 “affordable” units.

The HDV was a proposal which would have, quite literally, ripped up communities. That is something sitting and former councillors in Camden, who have defended the scheme and Cllr Kober in recent days, should reflect upon.

As sitting and prospective councillors we appreciate that the job requires making some tough and unpopular decisions, particularly within the confines of brutal Tory austerity.

The Conservatives’ refusal to allow councils full freedom to solve the housing crisis is at the heart of so many problems, even here in Camden.

The HDV, however, was completely at odds with Labour’s national policy and strongly opposed by local MPs, councillors and Haringey residents who felt it was not in their best interest and rightly objected to the lack of consultation and the closed-door manner in which Cllr Kober’s council chose to proceed.

It should not go unacknowledged that Cllr Kober has made strides as a woman in politics, an extremely difficult position even now.

However, as feminists and allies, it is imperative not to ignore the very gendered impact of the HDV and other housing policies predicated on dispossessing council tenants and breaking up communities.

When elected representatives fail to listen to the people who have entrusted their power to them it is expected that they will be held accountable.

The Labour Party is at its best when it is reflecting the reality on the ground and is at the forefront of local struggles. This is how we will win for our communities.

CLLR DOUGLAS BEATTIE, CLLR MARYAM ESLAMDOUST & CLLR THOMAS GARDINER
Labour, Kilburn ward

CLLR LORNA RUSSELL
Labour, Fortune Green ward

CLLR SUE VINCENT
Labour, Holborn & Covent Garden ward

CLLR MERIC APAK
Labour, Kentish Town ward

RANJIT SINGH
Labour candidate for Cantelowes ward

NAYRA BELLO O’SHANAHAN, LEO CASSARANI & SIMON PEARSON
Labour candidates for Swiss Cottage ward

RICHARD CHADWICK, GAIL MCANENA-WOOD & REBECCA SHIRAZI
Labour candidates for Frognal & Fitzjohns ward

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