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TWO tower blocks at the famous Broadwater Farm estate in Haringey are to be knocked down as part of a “very clear agenda of gentrification and social cleansing,” housing campaigners warned today.
The London borough’s council cabinet voted for the demolition of the Tangmere and Northolt blocks on the estate in Tottenham at a meeting on Tuesday night.
The decision was in response to health and safety concerns after checks carried out in the wake of last year's Grenfell fire tragedy revealed that the two blocks are at risk of collapse.
More than 200 residents have been told that they will have to be rehoused following the checks, which also identified lesser risks at nine other blocks on the estate. Work is being done to make those buildings safe.
As the meeting was being held at the the council’s headquarters in Wood Green, protesters outside expressed outrage at the decision and concern about the rehousing of tenants.
Broadwater Farm residents' association secretary Jacob Secker warned that tenants could be moved to single rooms in hostel accommodation, although the council denies this.
“Over my dead body will that happen,” Mr Secker vowed.
Defend Council Housing tenant campaigner Paul Burnham said: “There is a very clear agenda of gentrification and social cleansing when the council is so determined to demolish rather than strengthen and improve its housing.”
He warned that senior council officers are planning a “ribbon of redevelopment” across Broadwater Farm, which could lead to further demolitions and unaffordable homes being built on council land.
Haringey Council said, however, that it has made a clear commitment that all demolished homes will be replaced by at least the same number of new council properties at council rents on the estate.
Housing campaigners also voiced anger that Broadwater Farm tenants were not balloted, but the council said this was not necessary due to the urgent safety concerns.
A detailed consultation was carried out instead, which found that 91 per cent of respondents in Tangmere and 81 per cent in Northolt agreed with the plans.
However, the consultation is the subject of an an official complaint, which could invalidate it, on the grounds that the council's independent tenant and leaseholder adviser argued in favour of the demolition while helping residents fill out the forms.
Such advisers are supposed to be independent and to serve residents not landlords.
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