Lib Dems demand answers over Cranwood site

In response to a damning report from the Local Government Ombudsman, released on 19th January, Liberal Democrats have written to the council asking for a full, independent investigation. The report focused on decision-making on development proposals at Cranwood, and revealed that Haringey Council wasted millions in public money, failed to properly communicate with affected residents, and misled the Scrutiny Committee. The council has been ordered to reconsider development proposals on the Cranwood site.

The Liberal Democrat Vice-Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee wrote three letters: to the Cabinet Member for Housing asking for the current Cranwood proposals to be withdrawn and to return to cabinet; to the Chair of Overview & Scrutiny asking for a review of how the Council misled its committee; and most seriously to the Chair of Corporate Committee, asking for an independent investigation to be carried out into the following:

  • Paragraph 24 of the report, which outlines that the council has refused to co-operate with the LGO in regards to the fact that it was in contact with the owner of property B.
  • Paragraph 34 of the report, which mentions a lack of analysis and consideration, demonstrating a clear lack of oversight.
  • Paragraph 35 of the report, which shows a worrying disregard for due procedure, with no proper evaluation, briefing paper or discussion of decisions made. This resulted in the council committing a substantial amount of public money in buying property B, which was eventually for nothing.
  • Paragraph 36 of the report, which outlines the fact that the council misled the Scrutiny Committee.
  • That the council lobbied to have Cllr Ejiofor’s name removed from the report entirely.
  • That the current political leadership was not informed of this report when the council received it in November.

The report took the unusual step of naming the former leader, Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, as it was in the public interest to do so. The report revealed an ad hoc decision-making process by the former leader, who did not go through the correct channels.

Cllr Pippa Connor (LD-Muswell Hill), Vice-Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said:
“A full, independent investigation is needed into both this report’s findings, and additional concerns around the council’s reaction to the report. The report depicts a ‘cover-up culture’, where the council is refusing to submit to political oversight. Whilst the report is scathing of the ex-leader, the more worrying revelations going forward are the lack of procedure and transparency around decision making and the LGO’s  recommendation that the Cranwood site now needs to be reconsidered.”

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