Broadwater Farm should be a model of community involvement

With residents’ groups I visted Haringey’s Broadwater Farm Estate last week.

I was shown around the community centre and the different types of housing on the estate by Chris Hutton and Jacob Secker, members of the Tenants and Residents Association, and discussed their concerns about the future of their area.

The estate is listed for redevelopment in Haringey’s draft Local Plan (see page 152 here) and the association is keen to build a better relationship with the council so that they can be properly involved in making plans for the estate that avoid demolishing homes and make improvements to local facilities.

The people living on the Broadwater Farm Estate have already succeeded in removing parts of Lordship Recreation Ground from the ‘red zone’ area drawn on the map, but this zone still includes their community centre and more than 1,000 homes, which now have an uncertain future.

They do want to make improvements to the buildings, public spaces and transport links, but want to preserve their homes so they can stay in the area and avoid the disruption of demolition.

The Deputy Mayor for Housing will be publishing a good practice guide for estate regeneration later this autumn, which I hope will be followed on Broadwater Farm. If Haringey Council starts to work with residents now on developing their own ideas for the estate, it will find many good ideas for improvements will emerge.

The council should make good on their commitment to improve the quality of homes on the estate by listening hard with an open mind, avoiding the common mistake of making plans behind closed doors that are only consulted upon later.

I wrote to the Deputy Mayor in September to ask him to follow up on Sadiq Khan’s manifesto commitment of fully involving residents in making decisions about the future of their estates and I hope he will ensure these residents in Haringey are involved early and meaningfully in making their own plans for Broadwater Farm.

In my letter to James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing, I outlined these principles for the guidance
–    No residents excluded from involvement in making plans for the area
–    Full transparency for information on the current state of estates and the basis for new plans
–    Early and wide engagement with residents, when the goals of the regeneration are still open to change
–    Expert support for residents to develop their own plans for their areas
–    A meaningful final say and real decision-making power over the final options, ideally with a ballot for all residents