POLITICS
01/02/2018 08:40 GMT | Updated 01/02/2018 11:02 GMT

Sadiq Khan To Perform U-Turn On Balloting Tenants On Regeneration

Move by Mayor of London comes after left-wing backlash to Haringey Development Vehicle.

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Balloting represents a U-turn for Sadiq Khan

Tenants in London will be balloted on new regeneration projects in their community in a significant U-turn by Sadiq Khan, HuffPost UK has learned.

The Mayor of London will back handing power down to residents on new housing developments and will announce the policy at an event with Jeremy Corbyn this week, according to a source.

It comes after a fierce and high-profile backlash to Labour-run Haringey Council’s controversial £2bn deal with a private company to build 6,500 homes in north London. 

The move is a reverse in position from Khan. He previously said they “risk turning a complex set of issues that affects different people in different ways over many years into a simple yes/no decision at a single point in time”.

It looks to be the final nail in the coffin for the project, known as the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), and will be viewed as a victory for Labour’s left-wing.

The HDV sparked a long-running local row and had become a flashpoint within the party on housing deals with the private sector.

It was strongly opposed by pro-Corbyn pressure group Momentum, who described the private-public deal as a form of “social cleansing”. Supporters maintained it was a 50-50 partnership which guaranteed social tenants new housing. 

Labour’s NEC intervened to pause the deal after a split within the authority saw around 22 councillors write to the party’s ruling body. It meant council leader Claire Kober could not sign off the development. 

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Kober chose to step down from her role as Haringey Council's leader

Kober, chiar of London Councils, later stepped down as leader, accusing local members of “politically intimidating behaviour”. 

She said: “The sexism, bullying, undemocratic behaviour, and outright personal attacks on me, as the most senior woman in Labour local government, has left me disappointed and disillusioned.”

The Mayor’s change in policy comes after London Assembly Members backed a motion by the Green Party’s Sian Berry calling on Khan to back balloting estate residents. 

Corbyn had highlighted his support for balloting at the party’s conference in Brighton in a speech viewed as a thinly veiled attack on Kober and HDV backers on the council. 

The leader said he believed too many council regeneration schemes saw social tenants pushed out by private developers and added up to “forced gentrification and social cleansing”. 

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London refused to confirm the move, and said: “The Mayor of London has been consulting on an estate regeneration strategy for London which is due to be published shortly.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story claimed a spokesperson for the Mayor confirmed the move. It has now been updated to reflect that the spokesperson only confirmed the estate regeneration strategy for London will be published shortly.