Monday 30 October 2017

Update on Stop Haringey Development Vehicle court case

Photo from Inside Housing

Update from Gordon Peters first published on the HDV fundraiser page LINK

Heartfelt thanks to all supporters who have contributed to this campaign so far and you will see that we have surpassed our current target for funds. This allows us to cover fees and court costs to date, and be ready for any appeal should that be needed.

The Judicial Review concluded on Thursday 26 October with David Wolfe,QC, summing up after the three barristers representing Haringey Council and Lendlease had opposed our four grounds of the HDV being unlawful - that it was a commercial venture and should be a company not a LLP, that public consultation had been lacking, that the Public Sector Equality Duty had not been upheld, and that as a plan or strategy it should have gone to a full Council. They further opposed the granting of Relief [a cap on awards] and said the claim was out of time. They took up the detail of expert advice given to the Council's Housing Regeneration Scrutiny Panel and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommendations which were strongly critical of the HDV as if to say how open and consultative the Cabinet had been, although the Cabinet had gone ahead despite these.

David Wolfe was then able to show, through their own documents and business plans - much of which, over 700 pages in fact, had been redacted from any public view - that the HDV was indeed a major commercial venture, that it put social as well as affordable housing at risk, that poorer and vulnerable people in households both in estates scheduled for demolition and in leaseholds were not protected, and that this could not be called anything other than a strategy. He asked that the HDV be declared unlawful and relief on costs granted, rejecting the defence claim of being out of time as the whole process had been left undecided and kept changing its terms until the July 2017 Cabinet decision was made.

The judge, Mr.Justice Ouseley, then straightaway concluded the hearing and said that he would make his decision as soon as he could. We understand that this could still take some weeks.

Meanwhile I am very glad to say that the HDV is going nowhere right now, and it increasingly looks like this fundamentally flawed joint venture should not proceed.

To the HDV 'we say not so'.

1 comment:

Philip Grant said...

Based on some of his past judgements, Mr Justice Ouseley is a competent person to decide this case.

I hope that the opponents of the HDV have provided the evidence and legal arguments which will allow him to decide this case in their favour, and against this very dodgy "coalition" of developers and Labour Cabinet members (although they will probably appeal if they lose, and waste more Haringey Council Tax-payers money on expensive lawyers to fight against their own citizens).

It is sad how having power in local government seems to corrupt (particularly) Labour politicians - it is nothing new, as I can remember cases such as T. Dan Smith in Newcastle, and another in West Yorkshire, when I was a student nearly 50 years ago.

[Or is it that inherently corrupt people see an opportunity to abuse power, in areas where there is a potential large Labour majority, and put themselves forward as Labour politicians in order to exploit that opportunity?]