Legal challenge over Hornsey Depot sale leaves £15 million gap in council budget

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Haringey Independent: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Delays to a building project may have cost taxpayers millions.

Haringey Borough Council was set to make £15 million by selling the former Hornsey Depot recycling site to developers, but legal proceedings have stopped the sale from going ahead.

Developer St James was given joint planning permission with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s in February to build 438 flats and a supermarket on the land.

But an application for a judicial review - which would examine the lawfulness of the council's decision - has been lodged and may result in planning permission being overturned.

A report due to be discussed at the council’s cabinet meeting this evening states the £15 million expected from the sale of the land was needed to “underpin” the council's capital budget.

The report goes on to say that the council may have to borrow money to meet the shortfall.

Sarah Elliott, leader of the Haringey Liberal Democrat opposition, said: “I am extremely concerned that Labour had based the capital budget on receiving £15m from Hornsey Depot.

“The plans for the depot site are obviously unpopular with local people for good reasons.

“It was a risky strategy for Labour to base their budget plans on the assumption that a controversial proposal like that for Hornsey Depot would get through planning without a judicial review.”

A spokeswoman for Haringey Council said that any borrowing would be “temporary”.

She added:  “We are currently awaiting a decision from the court on whether permission will be granted to allow the judicial review challenge to be heard.

“We remain committed to regenerating this part of Hornsey and improving the High Street in the best interests of local people.”

St James, the site’s proposed developer, was unavailable for comment.

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