Haringey Civic Centre Plan: Liberal Democrats force review

Liberal Democrats have forced a temporary reprieve on the sell-off of the borough’s Civic Centre by referring the decision for review by the Council’s watchdog. The controversial scheme approved by the Labour-run Council’s Cabinet on 28th July 2008 proposes a £12m overhaul of Woodside House in Wood Green and a new Haringey Council chamber built at the back.

The decision will be reviewed at a special meeting of the Council’s watchdog Overview and Scrutiny committee. The body has powers to force the Cabinet to reconsider its decision or to force the matter to be decided by an emergency meeting of the full council.

Liberal Democrats have demanded that Haringey Council reconsiders its plan and have proposed alternative actions: that residents should be asked whether they want to use £12 million for the scheme; current users of Woodside House should be fully consulted; no firm decision should be taken in the current uncertain economic climate to invest until funding is secured from the sale of the current civic centre site and that the Council investigates the opportunity to move Council meetings to different locations in the borough.

The special Overview and Scrutiny meeting will be held at the Civic Centre on Tuesday 19th August at 19:30.

Cllr Robert Gorrie, Haringey Liberal Democrat Leader comments:

“This lavish plan for a new Civic Centre at Woodside House demonstrates just how out of touch Labour are.The economic climate is simply not right, and with residents squeezed by the credit crunch and inflation, they don’t want to see the Council spending £12 million of their money on a new meeting room for councillors.

“We have countless buildings in Haringey that could hold Council meetings and ceremonies – Tottenham Town Hall, Hornsey Town Hall, Alexandra Palace, the Irish Centre and numerous school halls. Unfortunately, Haringey Labour lacks the vision to propose such a radical solution.”

Lynne Featherstone, local Liberal Democrat MP added:

“Time after time Labour’s reaction to challenge is to waste more of residents’ money by throwing cash at new projects. I’m sure residents would much rather have this money spent on schemes that would benefit everyone – not just councillors.”

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