Labour forced to support Liberal Democrat view on proposed £12m Civic Centre expenditure

Haringey’s Labour Council has been forced to postpone its £12 million plan to move the borough’s Civic Centre.

On Friday last week Haringey Council announced that due to the economic crisis enveloping the Council it would be postponing the move to Woodside House. Liberal Democrats have welcomed the decision but continue to call for the plan to be scrapped rather than just delayed.

In July Liberal Democrats formally challenged the Labour Cabinet plan to move the Civic Centre for various reasons including the financial and property market downturns. Again in August the Liberal Democrats challenged the proposals at a special scrutiny meeting, but Labour confirmed their plans to spend the £12m. Now after spending more than £250,000 on external consultants Labour have decided to agree with the Liberal Democrat concerns and postpone the project.

Last week it emerged that Haringey Council had invested £37million in failed Icelandic banks.

Cllr Robert Gorrie, Liberal Democrat leader, commented:

“This was always a £12m project that would be under-used, expensive and a waste of taxpayers’ money. It is a shame that it has taken an economic crisis that was already clearly visible in July for Labour to realise its folly.

“What is needed now is for Haringey Council to recognise that this project needs to be scrapped rather than put on hold.

“It is welcome that Labour has come to its senses but this is a small number next to the £37 million at risk in the Icelandic banks. Hopefully it is not the start of a long list of spending cuts.”

Lynne Featherstone MP, added:

“This will come as a huge relief to the organisations that were being evicted from Woodside House. It is disappointing that it takes a global financial crisis for Labour to listen to what we have been telling them for some time – now is not the time to sell off property and embark on major building projects.”