Dozens of controversial regeneration schemes are being pursued on council estates across the UK, leading to bitter political controversy. In Haringey, north London, the council’s plan to partner with with developer LendLease and to put potentially billions’ worth of council assets and thousands of council homes into a joint venture has been just as contentious. Under the scheme, council-owned land and private sector cash and expertise would together be invested in improving the borough, with proceeds split equally between the two partners and council profits ploughed back into local services and further improvements.
Proponents of the scheme, known as the Haringey development vehicle (HDV) say it will create thousands of jobs, transform the council’s commercial portfolio, replace worn-out estates, and build thousands of extra homes, while also making big money (half the development profits, increased council tax and New Homes Bonus) for a cash-strapped council. Opponents see a risky privatisation that fails to protect the stock of social housing, while building thousands of new homes that will be unaffordable to Haringey residents. In other words, gentrification.