Hard on the heels of the collapse of the Wards Corner development plans in south Tottenham, another controversial Haringey housing scheme is hanging in the balance, this time at the northern end of Tottenham High Road.
Battle lines are being drawn as the long-delayed residents’ ballot gets underway on plans to demolish the council’s 297-home Love Lane estate as part of its wider High Road West scheme for new homes, shops, leisure and commercial space around a new public space linking White Hart Lane station to the Spurs stadium opposite the site.
The ballot on the future of the 1960’s estate, required under City Hall funding rules, runs until 6 September, with £91 million of Greater London Authority cash for 500 new council homes at stake in the yes/no vote – enough to rehouse current secure and non-secure tenants on the estate and 250 families on the council waiting list.
The ballot will see some 300 residents voting to approve or block the scheme, including 43 secure tenants, 226 waiting list applicants housed temporarily on the estate and 25 resident leaseholders.
The plans have been controversial since their inception almost a decade ago: the council’s development partner, appointed in 2017 under a previous administration, is Lendlease, which was also to be the private half of the ill-fated Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) – a proposed joint venture which was scrapped after the 2018 elections saw a decisive pro-Corbyn change in the council leadership.
The original Love Lane scheme would have seen 191 replacement homes provided for existing tenants and leaseholders. The extra funding injection from City Hall under Sadiq Khan’s affordable housing programme, agreed earlier this year, has allowed the council to boost its offer to guarantee homes for temporarily-housed residents living on the estate, with an initial 12 month residency qualification reduced to six months.
It new scheme offers a “once in a lifetime opportunity”, according to council documents, to “tackle the barriers of inequality in north Tottenham and deliver comprehensive, coordinated change…including a range of affordable and quality homes, public and green space, jobs and training opportunities and new community and leisure facilities.”
Residents support the plans, according to the results of council consultation, but the Haringey Defend Council Housing grouping, veterans of the campaign against the HDV, are gearing up for a new “battle for North Tottenham” against alleged “social cleansing”.
The group is warning that the estate will be “swallowed up” in a “huge scheme designed to increase house prices, market rents and retail costs”, with rent hikes for social tenants and temporary residents “under duress”.
It is calling for refurbishment of the estate and new council housing “without demolition”, while temporary tenants in the TAG Love Lane group are urging a “no” vote in the ballot without “legally-binding” guarantees of permanent homes at council rent.
The ballot was originally scheduled for March this year, but was delayed after council leader Joseph Ejiofor was ousted, with Peray Ahmet taking over. She appointed a new cabinet which includes Ruth Gordon, who is now overseeing the scheme as cabinet member for housing but was previously an opponent of the plans.
Gordon told a council scrutiny session last month that her preference had been for refurbishment of the estate and “perhaps building in some infill”, adding: “We are tied into a deal that was done, that was voted on before I was elected a councillor,” she said. “We are stuck with that deal.”
The future of the wider scheme is also uncertain. Large swathes of the site to the north of the Love Lane estate are owned by Spurs, whose own development proposals are moving ahead. The club won planning permission on appeal for part of its land in 2019, proposing a 316-home development with two blocks of 22 and 18 storeys respectively. A separate consent for a further 330 homes including a 29-storey block was granted last year.
The football club has now come back with a new application, which proposes boosting the number of homes to almost 1,000 overall – including up to 40 per cent affordable dependent on funding – bolstered by a review of the original masterplan for the overall site which increased housing numbers to 2,600 from an original 1,200 in 2014.
The 2019 appeal decision in favour of the original Spurs plan also confirmed that the masterplan did not require a single comprehensive development, despite the council opposing the application and Lendlease attacking it as undermining a “once in a life time opportunity to bring forward a comprehensive council and community-led redevelopment”.
The new Spurs plan, which has already attracted criticism because it includes residential blocks of 32, 29 and 27 storeys, is still to be determined by the council’s planning committee. Meanwhile, the council continues to face opposition from businesses under threat on the Peacock industrial estate at the north of the site. Haringey is now estimating the cost of assembling the full site, in line with its original agreement with Lendlease, at some £148 million.
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