Planning committee approves major regeneration project plans by six votes to five
By Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter
Property developer Argent Related has been given permission to build six blocks of flats up to 38 storeys high in the centre of Tottenham Hale, providing more than 1,000 homes along with shops, public spaces and a new health centre.
Tottenham MP David Lammy was among those who had lodged objections to the £500 million scheme, raising concerns the development could “further entrench social inequality” in the area.
Speaking before the main council session, Samantha Sturgeon, chair of the Chestnuts Residents’ Association, said the cost of the new flats would put them out of the reach of local people.
She added: “These types of development are only likely to push up local rent prices, and I and many other families could be forced out of our homes, as landlords seek higher market rents. We feel the population density will create a substantially increased burden on our already strained social facilities, local infrastructure and community resources.”
Concerns over the lack of affordable housing were echoed by several councillors, who questioned whether the 25% being provided by Argent Related was enough.
The alleged failure to provide affordable homes on large developments was a major reason behind the deselection of sitting councillors and their replacement with a new administration, in the run-up to local elections in May last year.
Cllr Yvonne Say, Labour member for Bounds Green, told the committee the plans were “not good enough” when the borough has “3,000 people in temporary accommodation”.
Tom Goodall, chief executive of the Tottenham Hale development at Argent Related, said upping the affordable homes quota further could mean losing financial backing.
He said: “We have already taken a significant reduction in our profit margin. Ultimately, it is a risk margin. “When we are seeking development funding, the lenders will look at what margin is available.
“If there is not enough margin in the development, then the plans can’t come forward because we can’t get the funding.
“If we could go any further to deliver on our promises, we would.”
Edward Badu, who grew up in Tottenham and is a member of campaign group Haringey Citizens, said Argent’s plans would boost the area’s prospects.
He said: “I’ve noticed there is a trend, where people like myself- young professionals – always try and leave Tottenham once they secure a job and do well for themselves.
“This is because of the stigma and stereotype we face growing up in Tottenham.”
Mr Badu said the plans would make Tottenham a “destination” and “give people who have grown up here a reason to stay.”
Councillors also raised concerns over the density of the buildings, which is significantly higher than London Plan guidelines. However, officers said the density was accept- able due to the exceptional quality of the homes. They also assured committee members that the impact on road and rail connections would not be excessive, and the scheme would not reduce air quality.