Love Lane Interviews
Professor Lorretta Lees interviews residents from the TAG residents' action group on Haringey's Love Lane estate.
Who are TAG? How did you come about?
We are the residents' true and authentic voice, representing the residents on the Love Lane Estate on a temporary tenancy. We set up as an independent group as we realised that the official Residents Association was run by Haringey Council's regeneration team in order to secure the demolition of the estate for their contract with the developer. TAG formed to create a united front to prevent us temps from being moved off the estate without being homed permanently. Haringey Council's ITLA and Regeneration team were not saying the truth about the scheme. Therefore, we decided to look for the truth to protect our families and all people living on the estate.
Can you explain what an estate ballot is in your own words?
Not sure we have a polite response to that. After the experience of going through one. An estate ballot may seem to look as a democratic process, to make it look like residents have a fair say. But the reality is that the estate ballot is a way for the council and land developers to work together in convincing the temporary residents that they should vote yes in demolishing an estate. The carrot of a newly built home was dangled in front of people and that deliberate con is the tactic of Councils working to get the go ahead for developers.
Why do you think Haringey Council wanted to regenerate your estate - Love Lane?
The original idea was to improve people lives and boost the North Tottenham area, but instead it became corrupted as politicians sought to advance their careers and developers eyed up the profits to be made from the estate bring located across from the Spurs stadium and having excellent public transport links. There was talk of creating mixed communities, but the real driver was to get rid of the Council tenants and replace them with wealthier residents, who would be paying higher council tax on expensive private properties. Haringey didn't hide this income generation plan and it is well documented in reports that Council state there are already enough Council Homes In Tottenham. Yet, by displacing 200+ social families for a higher return you are breaking community, family foundations and family stability. You are gentrifying the area.
Why did you campaign against the demolition of Love Lane estate?
We never did campaign against demolition of buildings. We were more in favour of saving the community. Most favour improvement of the estate and area, but the regeneration being pushed forward was social cleansing and gentrification. We had already witnessed the majority of Secure Residents being moved off Love Lane when we started arriving in 2016, and wanted to prevent a repeat. We are human beings, and our children need stability in their lives. We cannot be moved and bounced about from one place to another. TAG are protecting those people living and working locally.. They shouldn't be forgotten and it's only right that residents should be exposed to all the true facts and intentions of those who want to demolish their home. The TAG campaign is a positive campaign for secure tenancies to all temporary accommodation residents before any demolition. Stability and security for all families should be the aim of the Council, not ruining and disturbing kids homes.
What was your experience of the actual ballot process?
It was misleading and deceitful. They gave us little time to vote on the ballot. It was very disturbing, the amount of times the regeneration officers kept knocking on doors harassing people to vote yes without legal explanation of any rights to housing. There was constant pressure to vote yes, with regular phone calls along with the door knocking. We even had had ballot people appearing at the door holding the pizza delivery flat bag as a polling box guiding people who hadn't voted that they can do it now. All unlikely the experience of a local or MP election. It was shocking to experience the Council's tactics. They were not embarrassed about there was not being any concrete evidence to say they have planning permission, nor did they have it on paper to say the homes they were falsely advertising for us temporary residents. Claims made on banners placed around the estate by the Council. The Ballot process was steered towards a Yes vote . There was never discussion why anyone could vote NO and the reasons for that. The yes vote was secured on a Home is for you if you voted yes. This was unfair pressure for people in temporary accommodation who had been waiting for years for secure tenancies.
What advice, tips or resources would you suggest for others going into an estate demolition ballot?
If not in a legally binding contract of the future A policy that is passed at Cabinet. Then likely to be a con. But it is vital you research the Council's claims and challenge their misleading information . Don't be passive. Form a large group of residents on the estate and SAY NO to the demolition of an estate until they get legally binding contracts to say they will be homed permanently.