A major development scheme set to transform Tottenham is not social cleansing – it is about building homes for local people.

That was the message from Haringey Council leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor after cabinet members approved a £91 million funding deal for the 2,600-home High Road West scheme.

The money, provided by the Government and the Greater London Authority, will be used to boost the number of council-rent homes on the development from 145 to 500 and offer housing to people on the Love Lane Estate, which is set to be demolished.

READ MORE: £91 million deal agreed to boost council homes on major development

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service on Wednesday, Cllr Ejiofor responded to fears the scheme would lead to people from disadvantaged backgrounds being pushed out of the area because they cannot afford the homes.

Cllr Ejiofor said: “We are creating homes for people who already live on the estate. We are creating homes for people who live elsewhere in Haringey and Tottenham. We are creating homes for people on our waiting list. This is not social cleansing. This is about delivering homes for Haringey residents.

“There are going to be some homes for market sale and rent. The reality is, there are people who live in Haringey who want to buy homes in Haringey.

“One of the key issues we have made clear with Lendlease, the developer, is where there are market-sale homes, they are for sale to people living in Haringey first and foremost. We want them to be marketed in our borough before they are marketed in Hong Kong.”

The leader said this could be achieved by Lendlease “buying into the vision” for the scheme, adding that it is in developers’ interests to work constructively with councils.

“They are going to be high-spec, high-quality homes, close to transport links into central London, close to a park and to a number of amenities,” Cllr Ejiofor said.

“Ultimately, if nobody locally decides they want to buy them, we won’t be able to prevent anybody else from further afield exercising the opportunity to buy. However, they will be made available for local people first.”

Cllr Ejiofor said the council was not starting off with a “blank sheet of paper” and was improving a scheme that was first agreed back in 2017.

“I was committed to finding a way to deliver homes for temporary tenants, homes for people on our council house waiting list and to making sure there are also homes for those people who have been moved off the Love Lane Estate in the past and have the right of return,” the council leader said.

“That is partly why we sought to move the number of council homes at council rents up to 500. There was a lot of work that went into that, and we needed to ensure the Greater London Authority had confidence in our ability to deliver a scheme at a cost that was acceptable to them.”

The leader also responded to fears expressed by some people living on the Love Lane Estate that it would not honour its commitment to provide them with social-rent homes.

Cllr Ejiofor said the council had drawn up a local lettings policy that would allow properties to be offered to temporary tenants living locally, as a specific exception to the overall lettings policy.

“We need to make that commitment to the temporary tenants to get any additional council homes built at all,” he explained.

“We are looking to increase to 500 social homes. That will comfortably ensure we can keep our promise to all of the eligible temporary tenants, so that they can get a council home at council rent.”

The leader also responded to concerns that social rents in the new homes could be higher than they were on the estate.

“There is a social rent cap. Social rent is a fixed percentage beneath London Affordable Rent, which is a fixed percentage beneath market rent. Haringey’s council rents always have been traditionally low,” Cllr Ejiofor said.

“We haven’t set the rent levels at the moment, but we can’t guarantee those rent levels will be at the same rent levels that people have got now.

“However, it will still be a social rent, and those residents that are currently having their rent paid through housing benefit, the rent will be set at a level at which they will still get their rent paid through housing benefit.”

The leader added that council was working to find “bespoke solutions” for businesses on the Peacock Industrial Estate, which is also slated for demolition under the High Road West plans.

“We want to work with each individual business,” he said. “We want to find a way that each of these businesses can find a home in or around this part of Tottenham.”

Cllr Ejiofor said the council had bought the Shaftesbury Road Industrial Estate, 650 yards from the Peacock Industrial Estate, to allow firms to relocate.

“Those businesses that do require a freehold, that is definitely going to be available there. We will look to see, if businesses need to move, where they can be moved to,” he said.

“But the reality is, half of the existing businesses can comfortably be accommodated in the new development.

“Nothing is going to happen on the part of High Road West that is north of White Hart Lane for several years yet, so there is plenty of time to have those conversations.

“What we are doing now is developing the part of High Road West which is south of White Hart Lane. The council estate is going to be redeveloped, and we are building homes for local people.”