Council leader blames developers for housing delivery failures, reports Simon Allin
The leader of Haringey Council has denied claims the local authority has “lost control of planning” after the borough failed to hit a key homes target.
Joseph Ejiofor blamed private developers for the under-delivery of housing after official figures revealed the number of homes built in the borough during the past three years was 2,636 – 60% of the target.
Haringey is one of eight London boroughs – including neighbouring Enfield – now placed in a category of “presumption in favour of sustainable development” after failing the government’s housing delivery test.
It means developers could find it easier to have housing schemes approved and be more likely to win planning appeals.
Dawn Barnes, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on housing, said: “With a council house waiting list of over 10,000 households and rising homelessness, Haringey is desperately in need of more housing. Now we see that Labour are not only failing on delivery of social homes, they are failing on delivery of any homes at all.
“If Labour had properly engaged with residents and developers, we would still be in full control of our planning processes. Now, thanks to their inaction, the council may be forced to approve totally unsuitable developments, which is something no-one in Haringey wants to see.”
The National Planning Policy Framework, which sets out government planning policies for England, states that the presumption in favour of sustainable development “does not change the statutory status of the development plan as the starting point for decision-making”.
It adds that where an application conflicts with an up-to-date development plan, permission should not usually be granted.
Development plans, also known as local plans, are drawn up by the council in consultation with residents and include policies used by planning committees when making decisions.
Cllr Ejiofor rejected claims by the Lib Dems that the council had “lost control of planning” and said: “I can assure residents that Haringey Council’s Local Plan still takes precedence in planning decisions. The council has not had its planning powers curbed because it has failed to meet housing targets.
“Councils have power to grant planning permission for building housing. Once this is done, it is beholden on private developers to meet housing targets.
“I’m proud that, as of 2020, over 4,500 homes with planning permission are being built in our borough. Planning permission for a further 3,700 homes has been granted, but building work has not yet commenced.
“Haringey Council continues to do everything within its power to deliver housing for our residents. Blame for under-delivery can be laid solely at the feet of private developers, once again backing up Haringey Labour’s call to bring council services back in house to empower local authorities and local communities.”