Haringey Council faces the threat of a legal challenge to its controversial deal with Lendlease over a £2bn regeneration programme.
The north London local authority confirmed it had been sent a letter that mooted the need for a judicial review to the development partner decision.
Lendlease was this week confirmed as preferred partner for the Haringey Development Vehicle, which will see the company form a joint venture with the local authority to transform the borough over the next two decades.
But a Haringey Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we have received a letter regarding a possible judicial review, and this is currently being considered by our legal team. We are unable to comment further at this stage.”
The appointment of Lendlease has drawn criticism from an MP and protests led by trade union GMB.
Labour MP for Tottenham and former skills minister David Lammy (puctured) said this week: “I am particularly concerned about the affordability of the new homes that the HDV will deliver; the bidding process and choice of a private partner; the employment practices of the preferred bidder Lendlease; and the need for more thorough consultation with Haringey residents.”
GMB London secretary Warren Kenny said: “GMB London is concerned about the reckless privatisation pursued by Haringey Council’s leadership. The proposed HDV will see over £2bn of public assets transferred into private ownership within just the first phase.”
Lendlease was shortlisted for the HDV role last year alongside Morgan Sindall / Affinity Sutton / Circle Housing and Pinnacle / Starwood Capital / Catalyst.
A report to the council’s cabinet said Lendlease received the highest overall score from the evaluation panel, and satisfied the minimum requirement across all five selection criteria.
The report said a crucial element of Lendlease’s bid was its “depth of experience, strong team and track record of delivering similar schemes – including housing estate renewal – in a London context”.
A Lendlease spokesperson said: “This 50:50 partnership with Haringey Council is an exciting opportunity to work with the borough and the community to deliver the council’s growth ambitions and unlock new jobs, homes, schools and a wide range of other benefits for local people.
“We recognise the long-term commitment and responsibilities inherent in this, and are looking forward to working with the council to follow the necessary process over the coming months to finalise agreements and establish the HDV.”
Haringey Council cabinet member for housing, regeneration and planning Alan Strickland said: “We’ve been really clear that the HDV is not about privatisation, it’s about finding innovative ways of delivering the level of regeneration and new housing that our borough needs.
“Far from simply handing over land, the council will hold a 50 per cent stake in the partnership – meaning that we will need to approve every decision and will remain in control of any development. Our share of profits will be ploughed back into further regeneration, affordable housing and funding vital services that our residents depend on. Without some private investment, it would simply not be possible for us to deliver the new homes and improvements that local people have made it clear they want.”
Haringey Council and Lendlease both declined to comment on Mr Lammy’s views.