It could be sue

Alastair Ball on HDV developer’s legal threat

Property developer, Lendlease, has threatened Haringey Council with legal action if it cancels the Haringey Development Vehicle.

The potential for legal action was outlined in a letter from Lendlease addressed to council leader Joseph Ejiofor and chief executive Zina Etheridge published on Haringey Council’s website.

In the letter dated July 9th 2018, Lendlease Europe’s chief executive officer Dan Labbad wrote: “If the cabinet decides to attempt to reverse our appointment as the successful bidder, we will have no choice but to seek to protect Lendlease’s interests given our very significant investment over the last two-and-a-half years.”

In response Cllr Ejiofor said: “We are obviously concerned at the threat of protracted legal action by LendP lease, however the people of Haringey elected us to govern their borough, and to take decisions that are in the best interests of all Haringey’s residents.”

In a follow up letter on 16th July 2018, Labbad wrote that the decision: “will expose the Council to expensive and protracted litigation.” He also added that: “The Council’s decision-making process has failed to meet the necessary standards of fairness and transparency that Lendlease and the people of the Borough are legitimately entitled to expect.”

This exchange took place before a cabinet meeting on 17th July 2018 where cabinet members voted to end the controversial partnership. Following the meeting Cllr Ejiofor said that Haringey Council: “have now taken decisive action to set a new direction for the council, with this final decision that the HDV will not now go ahead.”

The Haringey Development Vehicle or HDV was a £2 billion joint venture between construction company Lendlease and Haringey Council to build 6,400 homes. Many residents expressed concerns about the lack of provision for affordable housing and the plans to demolish existing homes.

Lendlease were selected as the preferred bidder for the HDV project at a Cabinet meeting on 14 February 2017. At the time, Haringey Council was led by Claire Kober, who stood down before local elections in May this year following public opposition to the HDV. After the elections Cllr Joseph Ejiofor became leader of Haringey Council.