Towering ambition

Residents protest against tower complex      Credit: Clive Carter

Campaigners prompt social housing rethink

By Luchia Robinson

Property developer Argent Related say they are in talks with Haringey Council to deliver an increased level of social and affordable homes after their recent planning proposals provoked protests from the local community.

Argent Related’s original proposal to build a housing complex comprising of 6 buildings, up to 38 storeys in height, across 5 pieces of land in Tottenham Hale, was met with anger from local community members, when it was submitted to the council in July.

The campaigners believe that if built, the housing will not be accessible to the Tottenham community as social rent homes. This is because of the 1,036 homes earmarked to be built, 75% will be at market sale, with only 25% classed as affordable.

Paul Burnham, Secretary of Haringey Defend Council Housing said: “Around 70% of the tiny land area of this site is council owned. The council promised in their election manifesto to build council housing on council-owned land, and that is what they must do.

“Zero social rent is unacceptable when there are 9,000 households on Haringey’s waiting list, and 48% of all local households have no savings or are in debt. All 1,036 planned homes have barriers in the form of deposits and advanced payments.”

Last month, a meeting requested by the local community, was held at The Room, Holcombe Road. The meeting was chaired by Councillors Zena Brabazon, cabinet member for Civic Services and Ruth Gordon who both answered questions and guided those present through the steps needed to make online objections to the council.

Cllr Ruth Gordon said: “Planning protocols from the council say that any development, should have 40% of affordable housing. We are in discussion with the new administration at the council to increase that to 50%. This (Argent Related) plan has gone through with only 25% affordable (homes).”

“Even the ‘affordable’ are not being built for local people”

Cllr Gordon went on to say: “Those [affordable homes] are what you call an intermediate product and they are aimed at people earning up to £90,000. Unfortunately, in Tottenham, there’s not enough people earning that amount of money. Even if you take two people, they’d have to be on £45,000 each. The average wage in Tottenham is £25,000, so we’re nowhere near that. Even the ‘affordable’ are not being built for local people.”

These and other recent other comments suggest the council is in a bind, with the new administration attempting to tackle the legacies of the old cabinet.

Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, Leader of Haringey Council said:

“This administration has been crystal clear that we intend to build council homes, for council rent – 1,000 by 2022 in fact. Across the Tottenham Hale development there will be a genuine mix of tenures, including affordable and social housing. The deal for this particular site was agreed by the previous administration, however we are doing everything we can at this very late stage to get council housing and genuinely affordable homes included in this scheme.”

Argent Related’s proposal is likely to go before the council’s Planning Sub-Committee next month.

In a recent response company Director, Tom Goodall told TCP: “We passionately believe our development will be a good thing for the area, bringing opportunities for people who currently live in Tottenham as much as for newer residents.

“All our buildings have been designed with fire safety as a priority. They meet or exceed fire safety standards, including sprinkler systems throughout.

“Our plans deliver affordable homes, both in the development itself and by providing significant funding to Haringey Council for the delivery of further affordable homes, across all tenures including social housing, on council-owned land. I can also confirm that we are in discussions with the new council administration to deliver an increased provision of social and affordable homes within our proposals.”