Latest: Feb. 27, 2018
The argument to Appeal Court judges is submitted this week, for a further Review and Hearing of the earlier decision of Justice Ouseley, 8 February, not to grant relief and not to find in favour of...Read More
Hi, my name is Gordon Peters and I’m an active older resident of Haringey who spends a lot of time with individuals and groups supporting vulnerable older people. I was a Parliamentary candidate in Hornsey & Wood Green for the Green Party in 2015 and I’m very concerned about the housing crisis and lack of decent and affordable homes in the borough.
I’m taking legal action – now including a Judicial Review – in order to stop Haringey Council’s leadership from demolishing several housing estates and selling off its public assets. At an eventual value of £2bn, it would be the biggest ever sell-off of public assets in local authority history.
It will affect many of the present Council estate residents who would lose their current homes as well as those who are currently homeless. The council have refused to give a written guarantee of a right to return on council tenancies, and only a small percentage of the new accommodation will be on social rents. Whilst some tenants might be rehoused locally, most will lose their current residential rights as tenants. The replacement homes will have a lack of genuinely affordable housing and there is no guarantee at all of social housing.
“Regeneration” is about bringing wealthier people into Haringey and many poorer people having to move out – as has happened in Southwark with Lendlease, Haringey’s chosen partner. In addition, there is a very high risk to all of Haringey residents by putting so much of the public purse in the hands of a new limited company with no guaranteed income and no risk assessment shared.
Many of Haringey’s Labour councillors also share our concerns but the leadership have refused to accept their own Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s reports calling for a halt to the HDV. We have also called in the District Auditor who is conducting a public interest investigation.
There has been a serious lack of consultation, of democratic process, of transparency and accountability, as well as duties of equal treatment which must now be addressed in a court of law. A 'Funday' survey asking if tenants want 'improved housing' would be expected to return an almost 100% 'yes' vote! But there has been no genuine consultation on the HDV and only a limited amount on the demolition of Northumberland Park.
We have issued a ‘Pre-Action’ letter to the Leader of Haringey Council and in subsequent correspondence she has dismissed our concerns. Over £8,000 has been raised already for these legal costs so far but we now have to go to the High Court where our barristers will make the case for stopping the HDV and reconsidering. We therefore need £4000 soon and we may well need more after that.
If we win – and our lawyers Leigh Day feel we have a very strong case - , a judge can stop this vehicle in its tracks and make Haringey reconsider its options – including putting its case before the electorate in the Council elections of 2018. The wide coalition opposing the HDV includes members and councillors of the Labour Party and the Lib-Dems as well as the Green Party. It also includes many non-affiliated individuals and groups including the Federation of Haringey Residents’ Associations and Unite Community Branch.
For further information go to StopHDV.com
Gordon Peters and STOP HDV
Feb. 27, 2018
The argument to Appeal Court judges is submitted this week, for a further Review and Hearing of the earlier decision of Justice Ouseley, 8 February, not to grant relief and not to find in favour of the case to stop the HDV. It is of course vital - not just for Haringey, but for social housing across local authorities, and for democratic decision-making in Councils - that we seek a judgement making the HDV unlawful. The judge himself admitted there was strength in the argument but was content to rule it out of time, which we dispute. But this costs money. Barristers are asking for a £10,000 cap on Review costs, the initial £20,000 having been spent towards Haringey costs. And court fees are requiring payment. I am therefore asking everyone who can to contribute a little more towards fulfilling this current target, cumulatively £27,000, and 13 more days from today, 27th February, to get that amount. It's getting closer. Please help.
Without the amazing contributory work and donations of over 550 people - and other not recorded on the site - we would not be this far. The HDV has halted, politically, but is not yet stopped altogether. It really matters to get this ruling to put community and people back into housing policy and practice. Thanks again. And do share this where you can.
Gordon Peters and STOP HDV
Feb. 12, 2018
HDV judgement in court and reasons to appeal
Most will now know about the judgement handed down by Justice Ouseley on 8 February which of course disappointed us in this first outcome, in refusing to find in favour of our four grounds against the HDV. However it is clear from the judgement that not only are there strong grounds for going to the Court of Appeal but that much of our argument ,on consultation for instance is fully justified, and the judge admits that had Haringey consulted directly on the HDV its ability to be continued may well have been quite different.
Rowan Smith of Leigh Day says “This judgment, although bitterly disappointing, is very timely, given the recent controversy surrounding the involvement of private companies in the delivery of public services. The headline point is that the court agreed with us that the Council was under a duty to consult the residents of Haringey about the establishment of the HDV, and just as importantly that such a consultation would have made a difference. Seemingly, it is a technicality around the date when that duty arose which has deprived those residents of the opportunity to express their views, which are likely to have been overwhelming against the proposals. The judge also recognised the merit in, and gave extensive consideration to, our argument concerning whether the Council has the legal power to set up the HDV as an LLP. Our client, supported the Stop HDV campaign group, will appeal this judgment against the political back drop of the resignation of the Council’s leader, the Labour party’s central committee’s recommendation that the plans are halted, as well as the opposition party’s call for a vote to stop the HDV. Our intention is to now write to the Council to ask for confirmation that contracts with Lendlease will not be signed until the conclusion of the appeal.”
The appeal is now being prepared for submission in seven days, and it is vital for other places as well as Haringey that the higher court can examine how a Cabinet can get away with such a blitzkrieg approach to redevelopment, undisclosed financial risk, and sale of local authority assets, without due consideration by its own Council, and proper involvement of local residents in their own future. There will very shortly then be another round of crowdfunding required as costs of the first action have been met, and lawyers have worked very hard as their main impulse to help this case. So please be ready for this and let others know when it comes. The political battle has of course come round very much in favour of stopping the HDV, but it remains really important for the future of social housing and of Councils decision-making - local democracy in fact - that this goes the legal distance to reverse this means of destroying communities.
Gordon Peters and STOP HDV
Jan. 30, 2018
HDV no more
The resignation of Councillor Claire Kober, the Leader who was so determined to create this folly of a joint venture with Lendlease - the Haringey Development Vehicle - as from May and the upcoming election is at last an admission that it is going nowhere. It was good to see the Labour NEC saying [not 'ordering' as much of the press would have it] that it was now time to think again and halt the whole thing. This is much more than an internal battle within the Labour Party, but hardly surprising that the imposition of this huge shift of resource out of the borough should have come to that. Community actual needs have to be listened to, vulnerable people have to be protected, refurbishment of places has to be taken seriously, and neighbourhoods must have a real say in how they want a better environment and more housing. The near-utopian promises of the lead councillors on large scale, top down transformation of localities like Northumberland Park, with none of the viability assessments shared at all, and no guarantees or figures given on amount of social housing were a dereliction of responsibility to residents, not the ''only way to deal with the 9,000 on waiting list and 3,000 homeless households''. And affordable housing is also a slippery concept when the market value to cost proposed for those is so variable, and evidence from elsewhere in London says Lendlease will not deliver.
The HDV is postponed, by Cllr. Kober, to May and the incoming Council which, of whatever conceivable majority, it is known will be against the HDV, as both majority Labour candidates and the LibDems have said as much. Our Judicial Review has not yet had its awaited decision of Justice Ouseley so the HDV could not go ahead anyway until it was legally approved, or appealed if that were necessary. This judgement could set the tone and change the way in which Cabinet government over-rules public interest and democratic consideration, and it could strongly influence the future of social housing if it gives cause to over-turn a presumption in favour of corporate developers in the current planning arrangements between local authorities and the big companies like Lendlease.
Tremendous thanks are due to all who have contributed to this campaign to date - not over yet - and to the many different groups, individuals, householders and small businesses, and the parties who have realised the significance of what is at stake.
Gordon Peters and STOP HDV
Dec. 6, 2017
Transcript notes that StopHDV team have written of the JR
Below are links in different formats to the proceedings during the Judicial Review of the HDV, held on 25 and 26 October. We think the summing up by David Wolfe, QC is compelling.
We shall update when we have the outcome.
Meantime the stances taken by Labour councillors on the HDV is leading to a majority of those in support standing down as candidates for May 2018 elections, for fear of being outvoted within their party, or being de-selected. Clearly the majority in the local Labour Parties have come out against the HDV, so with the legal challenge continuing and a broad coalition across the communities of Haringey seeing the folly of it and the disregard for social housing and peoples right to their local place, it would now be irresponsible for the Council leadership to pursue this venture, and arguably a breach of their fiduciary duty if they do try to.
A PDF download
Gordon Peters and STOP HDV
Oct. 16, 2017
Stop HDV takes Haringey Council and Lendlease to the High Court for their flawed process of housing demolition and regeneration.
Our CrowdJustice campaign has re-opened!
The Judicial Review on the Haringey Development Vehicle takes place in the High Court on The Strand in London on 25 and 26 October, and I hope some supporters can make it to that, either outside from 9 to 10 am or in the public seating from 10 am.
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.
Just ten years after the sell off of Alexandra Palace in Haringey was averted in court, with David Wolfe, QC acting for the claimants in that case, he will lead the legal team in court on 25 October in the attempt to stop the HDV.
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. The solicitors for the case, Leigh Day, and the barristers have put a great deal of work in to it, and as a result I am now asking for another £5,000 to make up the fees and costs accruing.
I hope you will make another donation, small or large, if you possibly can.
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.
With gratitude and solidarity
Gordon Peters and STOP HDV
Aug. 31, 2017
HDV goes to court
The Administrative Division of the High Court has now set a date - 25 and 26 October - for what is called a rolled up hearing on our case against Haringey Council Cabinet's decision to go ahead with their HDV. This means that the judge will decide on leave to appeal the decision and the hearing of the case itself on the same date. Hence we expect to be in court - Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand unless otherwise informed - on these two days.
So please make a note in diaries anyone who can and might want to attend as there will be a presence outside as well as in the court.This could be something of a landmark as the wholesale demolition and 'regeneration' of communities across London - and elsewhere in the country - at the expense of poorer people particularly and with little or no local involvement in decisions, with corporate developer profits being the driving force, could be halted. Camden Council have in fact just rejected a joint venture such as the HDV and cited it as a reason for doing so. We hope now to turn the tide legally.
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