Feb 252017
 

Repeating the same mistake whilst expecting a different outcome is a sign of insanity

It is never boring in Haringey, especially when Haringey Council’s ambitious leadership tries to punch above their weight and like lemmings with extra topping jump off the cliffs of high density housing projects – akin to lambs falling into to the arms of a slaughtering developer.

Not sure why that is, but a pattern emerges of Haringey Council trying to go the extra mile, be the best, (or the worst as it may turn out), and when plans flop, they never admit defeat, rather like a trendy poster’s mantra, they ‘keep calm and march on’…

Take the Haringey Development Vehicle #HDV as an example – over 30% of local councils have created Development Vehicles, NONE have gone for a joint venture with a developer as Haringey is doing – this is what I mean by ‘Extra Topping’… Well this is not absolute fact – the Scrutiny Committee’s research uncovered two other councils who have tried it and failed miserably. Advice from those councils to Haringey – Don’t do it! What does Haringey do? Jumps right in…

We have seen this type of policy making before; ‘Emissions Based CPZ’ comes to mind. Haringey is about the only council in the universe running ‘Emissions Based CPZ’. They tried it and it failed! It failed to change people’s behaviour (there are more 4×4 cars then ever before), it failed to curb emissions, it is more costly to administer, but hey… failed, or not – let’s keep calm and keep on going…

Back to #HDV – deliberately not mentioning a particular developer, because it makes little difference which multinational developer is selected! Pointing the finger at one developer (justified or not) dilutes the discussion and is a distraction from the destruction that could follow if Haringey continue as planned, and bleeds away 50% of it’s current public assets and income derived from it, by handing it over to a private developer.

Taking ALL of Haringey’s public assets, along with our future and putting them in one huge UNKNOWN basket, held by one giant developer FOR NOTHING, is not an act of responsible leadership, it is reckless beyond belief… It is an arrogant act, expecting a leap of faith, demanding blind trust, where any contrary opinion or resistance is severely punished, vital details are kept in the dark. Is that a council, or a cult? 

It is an arrogant act, expecting a leap of faith, demanding blind trust, where any contrary opinion or resistance is severely punished, vital details are kept in the dark. Is that a council, or a cult? 

Haringey Cabinet are telling us; there are no alternatives! That without a developer in a 50:50 partnership nothing will happen. Haringey’s empty coffers could not fund house building, social or otherwise. 

Council leader Kober is quoted as saying: “The council owned land is ‘unused’ or ‘underused’ and describes the plan as a “massive opportunity”, but one that ‘the council cannot exploit on its own’.

No doubt people who live in the 1300 homes set to be demolished by this plan, don’t agree it is unused. There is also absolutely no doubt it is a “Massive Opportunity”. The real question is Massive Opportunity for WHOM? And lastly let’s examine the notion that ‘the council cannot exploit it on its own’

Why do local councils incorporate ‘Development Vehicles’ (Council owned private companies) and transfer their property portfolio into them?

At this point we need to ask WHY do local councils incorporate ‘Development Vehicles’ (Council owned private companies) and transfer their property portfolio into them? To really understand what is behind it, one needs to delve into the latest Government Housing White Paper, but for the purpose of this discussion here are few pointers:

The ‘Home Building Fund’ provides Development Finance Loan and Infrastructure Finance to:

  • private sector entity which has majority control of the site
  • development projects must build a minimum of 5 homes
  • the borrower must be a UK registered corporate entity
  • infrastructure projects must ultimately lead to the development of new housing.

Now it becomes clear why many councils have been creating private sector entities in the form of ‘Development Vehicles’  and why Haringey DOES NOT NEED to give away 50% of it’s assets to get funding!

So YES there are definitely plenty of alternatives to Haringey’s current plan!

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