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Housing An ‘unprecedented’ move by Labour's NEC puts a north London council's gentrification plans on ice

A CONTROVERSIAL gentrification plan in north London looks scuppered after a “completely unprecedented” intervention from Labour’s ruling executive, sources told the Star today.

The Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) threatens to transfer public assets worth a potential £2 billion to a joint venture with private developers.

Residents in the borough fear they could lose their homes and have to move out of the capital, which the council denies would happen.

But Labour candidates selected to run in this year’s local elections are overwhelmingly opposed to the scheme. Council leader Claire Kober is likely to be toppled in a vote of councillors after the poll.

The newly selected candidates, who are almost certain to be elected as councillors thanks to Labour’s overwhelming majority in the borough, have urged the council not to make any further commitments to the HDV before the local elections.

But Ms Kober’s supporters voted down a motion to this effect at a meeting of the borough’s Labour group earlier this month.

Now Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) has instructed a team of mediators led by shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne to attempt to resolve the situation.

A Haringey Labour source told the Star that, “in practical terms, that means not signing the HDV before” the elections.

A motion passed unanimously at a meeting yesterday affirmed that the NEC would urge the council to “pause” the HDV if no resolution was found.

“It isn’t a question of saying: ‘We don’t like what you’re doing.’ It’s saying: ‘There’s going to be a change in administration’,” the Haringey source said. “But we are in slightly uncharted territory here.”

Haringey council is currently awaiting the outcome of a judicial review into the HDV, but, if this does not rule against the council, the current leadership could attempt to bind the next administration into heavy costs if it backs out of the deal with developers.

One NEC member said the motion was an attempt to allow Ms Kober to save face, saying: “No-one wants the NEC to be running councils, but this was seen as a good way for Claire to step back from that.”

“It’s Haringey taxpayers’ money, you shouldn’t be fucking around with it.”

Ms Kober’s allies have accused left group Momentum of using the HDV as an Trojan horse to deselect councillors.

But the NEC member said opposition to the plan was spread across the party, with the NEC unanimous verdict showing that even Blair-era foreign secretary “Margaret Beckett says it’s bad.” 

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