Response to Vice magazine inaccuracies on HDV
We were really disappointed to read some inaccurate reporting on the Vice website about the Haringey Development Vehicle. We have shared our concerns with Vice. The article contains a number of serious factual inaccuracies including:
- The Haringey Development Vehicle isn’t the ‘biggest suburban redevelopment in history’ – there are many far bigger public-sector-led development programmes, including several in London such as the Olympic Park or Park Royal/Old Oak.
- Far from threatening 4,468 homes (a figure we don’t recognise), from the HDV’s first phase there will be around 5,000 net additional new homes across a number of tenures. 40% of all new housing built will be affordable – this will be a mix of social rent, target rent and shared ownership. Any homes that are demolished as part of the scheme will be re-provided.
- The article states ‘a £2 billion collected pot to be meted out – a mix of public and private money, as well as the transfer of public assets into a fund.’ This is completely inaccurate. The HDV will be a 50:50 company jointly owned by the council and Lendlease. £2 billion was a 2015 estimate of the value of the land once it has been developed – it is not the amount of money that will be put into the HDV. In fact, the council’s assets to be put into the HDV are valued in the tens of millions. There will be no fund into which public assets are placed.
- It’s simply not true that councillors only met with Lendlease and not other developers and bidders. Cabinet members meet a large number of prospective investors and their representatives as part of their work to promote private investment in the new homes and new jobs on which Haringey residents depend – this includes the HDV. Legal advice was specifically taken on this point to ensure councillors acted appropriately at all times.
- We have never announced we are ‘knocking down half the borough’ – only phase 1 of the HDV has been agreed and this will see redevelopment on the former Cranwood care home in Muswell Hill, the council’s Civic Centre, Station Road offices and Library in Wood Green, and the Northumberland Park regeneration area, and even these are in some cases subject to further Cabinet decision.
- To be clear: Terrapin isn’t involved in any way in the proposed Lendlease joint venture. All meetings with Terrapin have been declared as per transparency regulations which Councillors must abide by. The meetings with Terrapin often involved a wide range of stakeholders such as London borough leaders and GLA representatives. Meetings and hospitality are declared by Councillors and are on public record.
- Far from ‘Lendlease acting as referee, linesman and both managers of a match that resulted in them winning a £2bn contract’, the procurement process was done in line with EU rules and independent advisors were involved in the process. Haringey Council’s External Auditor has looked closely at the HDV procurement process and found it had been conducted entirely properly. In choosing our preferred partner, Lendlease, we assessed the bidders against a range of measures – financial value was only one of the criteria used. Each bidder was challenged to describe its vision for Haringey in general, and for the first phase of sites in particular. Each bidder was asked to explain how it will deliver that vision, alongside financial returns to the council, and how it will protect the council from risk in doing so. And each bidder has had to explain how we would work together to transform not only the physical face of the borough, but the social and economic opportunities of its people as well. Lendlease scored the best overall across all these criteria, and on 7 March 2017 the council’s Cabinet approved the recommendation that they be appointed as our preferred bidder. The Cabinet paper from 7 March has more details on the bidding process (page 106 of the report onwards)
- Also to be clear that no councillors or Cabinet members were involved in evaluating bids for the HDV contract – this work was carried out by council officers. During the HDV procurement process itself no Cabinet members had any contact at all with any of the bidders about the process.
- The accusation that the HDV plans are opaque is false. The HDV has been discussed several times in public meetings including the council’s Cabinet and Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings. Papers from these meetings including legal agreements and business plans are available online with only commercially sensitive information redacted. We also have issued numerous press releases about the HDV, as well as putting an extensive Q and A on our website and answering a number of requests and FOIs from councillors, politicians and members of the public.
- Lendlease has never had a similar deal to the HDV in New York City.
For further information on the HDV please see our comprehensive FAQs.
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