Residents of Tottenham estate have until Monday to vote on whether it should be torn down and redeveloped, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter
A man appointed to advise residents on a regeneration scheme has accused Haringey Council of “pushing through” a vote that could see their homes demolished.
Damian Tissier, the independent tenant and leaseholder advisor for Love Lane Estate in Tottenham, claimed residents did not have enough time to consider the council’s offer of a replacement home on the scheme.
He said the council had put a “large resource” into convincing people why the 2,600-home High Road West development should go ahead – meaning residents were often unaware of its potential downsides.
Haringey Council has guaranteed that all secure and eligible non-secure tenants living at Love Lane Estate will be offered a council home within the High Road West development, and a residents’ ballot on the offer ends on Monday, 6th September. If they vote ‘yes’, the estate will be knocked down to make way for the scheme.
But Damian, whose role is to help residents understand the proposals, said: “The ballot is being rushed, or pushed through, with the community only being given two weeks to consider the Love Lane landlord offer before the ballot process started.
“This is a major decision – one of the most important votes they are going to have in their lives. The council have got an enormous resource they can put into convincing people to vote yes on the build and very little on the other side.”
Damian said residents were often “horrified” when they learned the new development would lead to a near five-fold increase in housing density.
He added: “Part of my job is to point that out to people – and when I do, they do not like it. So there are a number of things that have not been pointed out to people enough.”
Damian also said another consultation was currently taking place on whether to bring council housing arm Homes for Haringey back under direct authority control, which people were “really confused” about.
He added: “There is still consultation work going on about the design of [High Road West] properties, which could influence people.”
With residents able to vote by postal ballot, phone or online, Damian claimed the council could have made voting easier and more accessible by putting a ballot box in the local library.
Housing campaigners Haringey Defend Council Housing and Temporary Accommodation Group (TAG) Love Lane are calling for a ‘no’ vote on the regeneration plan after raising doubts over the council’s promise of a replacement council home on the new estate.
In a Twitter post, TAG Love Lane claimed the offer to residents “doesn’t come with a legally-binding guarantee, and we [are] not sure it will even be delivered on time, let alone fit in your new council home on a yes vote promise.”
Damian echoed TAG’s concerns about the council’s promises, pointing out that policies “change all the time”. He said: “The same argument that TAG is making in terms of the guarantee – the non-secure tenants getting secure tenancies – in a sense applies to all the others.
“The essential point is, what happens if the scheme you build does not look as nice as promised?”
“It is not like they can see the property,” he said. “It is a bit like building a house or flat off-plan.”
Council leader Peray Ahmet said: “Our residents have always been our number one concern, and the High Road West scheme will provide 500 brand new council homes and deliver on their priorities for improved community facilities.
“If the majority of residents vote ‘yes’ in the ballot, their household will be offered a new secure council home in the High Road West scheme at council rent in accordance with the local lettings policy agreed by the council’s cabinet in July.
“We’ve been clear that redevelopment will only go ahead if residents vote in favour. It’s vital that every resident who is eligible uses their vote, and voice, to tell us if they want us to move forward. Whatever the outcome of the ballot, we will continue to work closely with the community on shaping the future of the estate.”