Activists, tenants, councillors and housing bosses are intently watching events unfold in Haringey, north London.
At stake is the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV). Pushed by the Labour council, it is a £2 billion housing regeneration project that will see seven estates—some 5,000 homes—demolished if it goes ahead.
Tenants have been told they have the right to return to their estates after the redevelopment. But they have been given no written reassurance they will have the same tenancies.
The HDV has split the borough Labour Party.
The selection process for nominating Labour candidates for the May 2018 local elections is well underway. The majority of candidates selected so far oppose the HDV—26 against to seven for.
A strong, united campaign involving hundreds of tenants and residents has made the HDV politically toxic.
Prominent councillors who supported it have withdrawn from the selection process.
Pro-HDV councillor Tim Gallagher has pulled out entirely, describing Haringey Labour as “inflamed with division, distrust, and what at times what feels like hatred among party members”.
Other Labour councillors who previously supported the HDV have changed their position.
Councillor Adam Jogee has moved to the anti-HDV camp.
He had been described as a “baby terrapin” by Peter Bingle—the boss of Terrapin PR, which brokered the HDV deal with developer Lendlease.
At the Labour Party conference earlier this year the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn promised tenants votes on redevelopment projects.
Haringey’s Lead councillor for housing Alan Strickland lashed out at Corbyn’s proposal. He has now stood down from the reselection contest.
However, pro-HDV councillors will be in place up until the May elections. That means they could have an opportunity to push through parts of the HDV, if not the whole thing.
Pressure needs to be applied on them ruthlessly so they can’t entrench the HDV. Protests are a crucial way of applying that pressure.
The partial victory of the anti-HDV group within Labour has been a real boost to the campaign.
What comes next is important—there will be debates about what kind of housing the council can provide when faced with Tory cuts.
Some Labour members in the anti-HDV campaign are not necessarily opposed to all redevelopments. “There’s a possibility to have a development vehicle owned by the council 100 percent,” one Labour Party member told Socialist Worker.
“People opposed to the HDV would not necessarily be against that.”
It’s vital to push forward with the united, mass campaign until the HDV is defeated.
Safety issues since the Grenfell Tower fire
Since the Grenfell Tower fire in June, London Fire Brigade has issued 51 enforcement notices on high rise buildings.
It’s almost double the 26 the body issued the previous year.
Enforcement notices are issued when there has been a failure to comply with fire safety laws.
Homes from Hammond?
Tory chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the budget plans to build 300,000 homes a year by 2025.
Even if the target is reached, it isn’t clear who will be able to afford them.
Last year over 200,000 homes were built. Just 2.5 percent of them were for social rents.
Right to Buy selloffs are on the rise
The number of housing association homes sold under the Thatcherite Right to Buy policy increased by 18 percent last year.
Some 4,694 social homes were sold under Right to Buy.
That’s a rise from 3,977 in the previous year.
In total 23,186 homes were sold off in 2016/17.