The residents of 297 council homes at Love Lane in Tottenham are facing the possible demolition of their homes as part of a ‘Spurs-led’ redevelopment that will receive £40 million in public subsidy, even though Tottenham Hotspur is the 13th richest football club in the world. Â£5 million of the public funding would come from the sale of the land on which the Love Lane estate stands.
Haringey Council has offered the residents three ‘options’ for redevelopment: the demolition of some of the estate, most of it, or all of it. The Council has not offered any option to retain, and invest in, all the existing council homes in the area.
David Cunningham of Ermine House (facing possible demolition) says, ‘The big problem is that there is no plan for fixing what’s there, to restore the blocks to good order. They are letting big business dictate the terms. It’s all geared up for Tottenham Hotspur’.
Haringey Council promises that new social housing would be built on the site. But scandalously, the Council has not yet told tenants whether the new homes would be let at existing council ‘target’ rents, with permanent tenancies, or at much higher near-market rents, with five-year tenancies.
The redevelopment is part of a council ‘˜Plan for Tottenham’ that aims to increase local housing costs (rents and property values), potentially pricing local people out of the area. Funding for the Love Lane plan includes Â£8.5 million from the Mayor of London for a splendid ‘walkway’ from White Hart Lane Station to the new Spurs ground – right through where Ermine House and the Whitehall Street blocks now stand.
Tenants who move into near-market rent homes could be hit by the benefit cap which is being trialled in Haringey and three other London boroughs, before being imposed on the rest of the country. These families could be forced to join the exodus of low-income Haringey residents to the Midlands and the North of England.
The council says that it will announce its proposed Tenancy Strategy, including the types of tenancy to be offered to those whose council homes are being demolished, this week, but many months late, and DURING the consultation, which began on 29th April, on the Love Lane demolitions. [Note: The proposed Strategy has been released and its everything we feared – shorter tenancies, higher rents, children prevented from inheriting their home, more evictions… – http://www.haringey.gov.uk/tenancy-strategy … To say no to these changes, go to – http://www.haringey.gov.uk/922.6_hrw_consultation_8.2.pdf
The campaign group Haringey Defend Council Housing has held three meetings with the residents of the Love Lane/Whitehall St. estate over the last few months. More than 50 residents have attended. We feel that people’s concerns about their homes and their future are being cynically neglected, and that full information has not been provided to affected residents.
We are calling on Haringey Council:
* To provide an option of improvement not demolition for all the council housing at Love Lane. This should include a concierge service and new kitchens and bathrooms, to reach the Decent Homes Standard.
* To provide a Secure Tenancy to any tenant facing the demolition of their home. No council tenant displaced by demolition should be given an Assured Tenancy, which would give them fewer rights than a council Secure Tenancy.
* To ensure that all new tenancies must be permanent. No to so-called ‘Affordable Rent’ tenancies with rents at 65%-80% of market levels.
* To provide clarity about the level of rents and the type of tenancy that tenants can expect, BEFORE consulting about whether residents want their homes demolished.
* To demand that Spurs put investment money back into the community, given the vast profit they stand to make from this redevelopment.
More from Paul Burnham
Haringey Defend Council Housing
07847 714 158
Residents consultation http://www.haringey.gov.uk/922.6_hrw_consultation_8.2.pdf
Council cabinet on 7 February 2012 (Funding and Investment Package for the Tottenham Regeneration Program), Agenda Item 12 see page 3, 5 and 9, the figure of £8.5 million is on page 17. http://www.minutes.haringey.gov.uk/Published/C00000118/M00005356/$$ADocPackPublic.pdf
(Agenda Item 12 starts on page 143 of the agenda pack at the above web address).
The Plan for Tottenham http://www.haringey.gov.uk/a_plan_for_tottenham.pdf