A former Haringey LBC cabinet member has denounced the council’s controversial regeneration partnership in a 2,700-word letter that accuses leader Claire Kober (Lab) of prioritising her “personal political advancement” above the interests of the London borough.
Cllr Kober is also chair of London Councils and chairs the Local Government Association’s resources board.
The row has erupted as Haringey awaits the outcome of a judicial review into its proposed Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) under which £2bn of council assets would be transferred into a 50:50 partnership with developer Lendlease.
Former cabinet member for environment Stuart Macnamara (Lab) told Cllr Kober in a letter published locally that he could not stand as a Labour candidate next May as “Haringey council’s current position is increasingly untenable, as a result of the way you have personally chosen to lead the organisation, especially over the past couple of years.
“Somebody has to call you out on your wrecking ball tactics and horrific wasting of public money on nonsense vanity projects whilst council services are starved of cash or sold off to the lowest bidder.”
Cllr Macnamara said Cllr Kober had operated “as though Haringey were your own personal fiefdom”.
Pointing to her roles in London Councils and the LGA, Cllr Macnamara accused Cllr Kober of using her “position in Haringey for your own personal political advancement, at the expense of even moderately constructive relations with others here in Haringey”.
He said the HDV had not been in Labour’s 2014 manifesto but “you have pursued it through a covert and incremental approach, duping fellow councillors…about the sheer size and scale of the plans”.
In a response to the article which has been circulated among Labour councillors, Cllr Kober said the HDV was “the means we have identified to deliver on our commitment to tackle the housing crisis”, and that Cllr Macnamara had originally supported it.
She said: “Thank you for your efforts as a cabinet member, particularly your support in approving the business case for the HDV and agreeing in November 2015 that the council should proceed with the procurement of a joint venture partner.”
Cllr Kober also said Cllr Macnamara had been responsible for Haringey’s controversial policy of allowing large commercial festivals in its parks.
These are the subject of a separate judicial review brought last week by the Friends of Finsbury Park, which argued that Haringey had ignored legislation on the maximum area and time for which parks can be closed for private events.
Judgment has been reserved in both judicial reviews.