Protests outside borough headquarters as £2bn development bid progresses

Lendlease has been formally approved as Haringey council’s preferred partner for a development vehicle targeting the delivery of 5,000 homes and taking in more than 20 sites across the north London borough.

Haringey aims to deliver £2bn of new development - measured in 2015 prices - over the next 15-20 years, including the redevelopment of the Northumberland Park estate, and Wood Green Library.

Another site earmarked for redevelopment is Haringey Civic Centre, where protesters gathered ahead of last night’s cabinet meeting complaining that the partnership represented the privatisation of council housing.

Lendlease’s confirmation as preferred partner for the vehicle follows a selection process in which the firm saw off competition from a pairing between Morgan Sindall and housing association Affinity Sutton and a third team comprising housing groups Circle Pinnacle, Catalyst and US finance firm Starwood Capital.

Opponents of Haringey’s proposals used last night’s meeting to air concerns over Lendlease’s involvement in the regeneration of the Elephant & Castle district in Southwark and the resulting dispersal of residents of the Heygate Estate.

Alan Strickland, Haringey’s cabinet member for housing, regeneration and planning, insisted that the 50:50 joint venture company would not pave the way for “mass demolitions” of estates, and that the council would have control over the phasing of land releases.

“The vehicle is a way of delivering our regeneration plans because we can’t afford to do that ourselves, nor do we have hundreds of staff with development expertise,” he said.

“This is a big venture, this is a risky venture. Nobody has ever denied that.

“That’s why significant work has gone on to understand that risk, both on the part of council officers and independent legal advisers, independent financial advisers and independent procurement advisers.”

Councillor Strickland said Lendlease’s confirmation as preferred partner would be followed by a five-month period for “thrashing out” issues surrounding governance, risk-management, and resident-involvement with the partnership.

Ahead of the meeting Tottenham MP David Lammy said he understood the financial position Haringey council was in but had “serious concerns” about the “serious financial risks” that development on the scale proposed involved.

Last month, Haringey unveiled a blueprint to regenerate a swathe of Wood Green, much - but not all - of which would involve its Haringey Development Vehicle partner.

That vision, reliant on the inclusion of a Wood Green station as part of Crossrail 2, would see the creation of new town squares and the wholesale redevelopment of the district’s main shopping centre.