May 22 2013 Latest news:
by Stephen Moore
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Haringey Council is ready to let Tottenham Hotspur slip out of having to provide at least 100 affordable homes in its redevelopment scheme, and forego a £1.2million education pledge, papers reveal.
Critics say the massive concessions leave the taxpayer to “prop up a commercial development” and mean key workers and others struggling to get onto the property ladder will be cast aside in pursuit of profit.
In the original proposals, Spurs had agreed to pay £1.2million to increase pupil capacity at nearby schools, and provide the affordable homes as part of the scheme.
The watered-down requirements, likely to be approved on Monday, come after the Journal revealed that council housing could also be at risk under plans to build a “Wembley Way”-style approach to the new stadium from White Hart Lane rail station.
The council has offered to go cap in hand elsewhere for grants to make up the education shortfall.
If the deal goes through, Spurs could be facing a bill of just £440,000 for community and infrastructure improvements, passing the remaining £15.5million of costs onto Haringey Council, Transport for London and the Mayor of London’s recently-announced £27million Tottenham Regeneration Fund.
But education contributions are not included, and no demands are being made by Haringey for Spurs to fund affordable housing elsewhere.
Haringey’s report argues the benefits outweigh the drawbacks by boosting jobs, transport, trade and more investment for the area.
And while it admits a “major need” for affordable housing, and its policy is to push for 50 per cent of ‘affordable’ homes in new developments – that is only “subject to viability”. It justifies having none because “no new homes will be built” at all if the project fails.
It also permits the scrapped education payment as most of the 285 flats would “likely” be one and two-bed, so fewer children would live there.
Cllr Richard Wilson, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition, said: “This was a huge opportunity; the council seems to have completely failed to get a good deal for local residents.”
He said the proposal “leaves the council’s affordable housing policy in tatters” and meant taxpayer’s money would “be used to prop up a commercial development”.
Tottenham MP David Lammy said it was “regrettable” that housing and education commitments fell by the wayside – but remained “strongly supportive” of the stadium project and would lobby government and City Hall “to commit to invest in our schools and our housing estates”.
Keith Flett, chairman of Haringey TUC trade union, said that while Tottenham “really needs” affordable housing, it was “good news” Spurs was staying in N17, creating 600 construction jobs. He added that the deal was still “by no means all bad”.
Cllr Alan Strickland, cabinet member for economic development and social inclusion, said: “What is important is that we are able to strike the right balance between council investment and the wider benefits of the scheme.
“The council’s investment will be £9million, but together with funding from the GLA and Spurs, north Tottenham is set for a £400million regeneration scheme which will kick-start the wider transformation of the whole of Tottenham.
“Council policy is that decisions on housing should take into account the housing mix in an area. North Tottenham already has a high concentration of social and affordable housing, meaning that more open market housing could attract a better mix of communities to the area.”
Paul Phillips, project director at Tottenham Hotspur, added: “All major regeneration projects require a level of public sector support, especially in areas with such high levels of deprivation.”
“We think it is fantastic news for the area that six months on from the riots this is happening, and the Northumberland Development Project does need to be viable for it to be delivered.”