Haringey Council should scrap a major regeneration deal and focus on housing thousands of homeless people, a housing campaigner has said.

Reverend Paul Nicolson, founder of campaign group Taxpayers Against Poverty, has called on the council to scrap the High Road West scheme in Tottenham – a £1 billion deal with private developer Lendlease.

The council last year pulled the plug on the Haringey Development Vehicle – a £2 billion regeneration scheme with Lendlease – after unveiling its own plans to build 1,000 homes at council rents.

But the High Road West scheme is still set to go ahead – meaning around 180 families on the nearby Love Lane Estate and dozens of businesses on the Peacock Industrial Estate could be moved out of the area.

There are currently more than 3,600 households in temporary accommodation, which is used to house people who have become homeless, in Haringey

Speaking at a meeting of the housing and regeneration scrutiny panel on Monday (June 10), Rev Nicolson blasted successive governments, Tory and Labour, for letting land values soar beyond the means of people on low and middle incomes to rent or buy.

He said: “I see in Tottenham that the policies of a national government are making men, women and children hungry, homeless, mentally and physically ill and shortening their lives.

“Land is torn by the powerful and wealthy from under the homes of council tenants, and from leaseholders and freeholders, by compulsory purchase orders in what is called regeneration.

“An answer must be to control the increase in the value of land…Land is a gift of nature intended for work and for homes for all.”

Rev Nicolson claimed the council could do more to help people in temporary accommodation, ensuring housing is fit for human habitation and people are not put in homes owned by landlords who are about to be repossessed or planning to enter the buy-to-let market.

He added: “We would recommend that you abandon the High Road West project, because it makes the insuperable (housing) problem worse by reducing the number of truly affordable homes to rent on the market.

“The council will either have to spend the money on buying out Lendlease or on housing homeless families in temporary accommodation.”

Homeless families were moved into the Love Lane Estate on a temporary basis and face being moved on again when the homes are knocked down.

Rev Nicolson claimed the council could turn 180 temporary tenancies into secure tenancies on the Love Lane Estate “overnight” simply by notifying tenants of the change.

The scrutiny panel does not have the power to make decisions on major regeneration schemes, but councillors pledged to take on board the concerns raised by Rev Nicolson.

Cllr Emine Ibrahim, cabinet member for housing and estate renewal, said: “I completely agree with much of what Rev Nicholson said but appreciate your recognition that we are in a very difficult position.

“Local authorities are facing a stark situation in terms of a national housing crisis that is also far more acute in London and Haringey.”

Cllr Ibrahim said the council had provided emergency accommodation for homeless families at places such as Broadwater Lodge and this was an improvement on the type of housing that used to be offered to homeless families in dire need.

She added: “We will never force a family to accept a property that is not fit for habitation.”

Cllr Ibrahim pointed out offering everyone on the Love Lane Estate a secure tenancy would not be fair because the people living there had been on the borough’s housing waiting list for different lengths of time.

She explained making such an offer could mean someone on Love Lane Estate who had been on the waiting list for a year being given a secure tenancy ahead of someone living elsewhere who had been waiting for seven or eight years.

Cllr Ibrahim said: “What we are trying to do is come to a position whereby we make sure the people there currently will have some level of security in the coming years.”

Due for completion in 2030, the High Road West scheme is expected to provide 2,500 homes, with a minimum of 30 per cent classed as affordable.