After a recent analysis of the funding from the New Deal for Communities (NDC) which was designed to regenerate Tottenham, my Liberal Democrat collegues on Haringey Council have expressed caution that funding to help the area following the riots should be part of a coherent, long-term programme with the local residents of the area at its heart. Quite right in my view.
Liberal Democrats have calculated that nearly one pound on every six spent as part of the £77million NDC programme was spent on consultants, plans, studies, project management and controversial projects such as Wards Corner which was subject to Judicial Review and its plans thrown out.
The government has pledged £20million for Tottenham and Croydon following the riots and another £30million to support high streets, businesses and residents affected around the country.
Cllr Jonathan Bloch who is Liberal Democrat Regeneration Spokesperson said that he was “really glad that coalition government have prioritised Tottenham for much-needed funding following the destruction of property, homes and livelihoods during the riots. Now we have moved into the next phase we cannot see a repeat of the wasteful spending of the NDC on strategies, consultants, and studies.
“The funding must be spent on people not plans with residents at the heart of every decision and should consider a focus on long-term job creation and raising education aspiration.
“We have already seen the side of Tottenham we all know – people proud of their area and willing to rebuild. We must help them and the best way we can do this to ensure that money is spent wisely to bring lasting regeneration to Tottenham.
This is a really important issue. In my early days as a Haringey councillor I sat on the regeneration committee because Haringey seemed to win a lot of funding bids – but not deliver productive outcomes and I wanted to understand where all the money went. What became clear is exactly the same pattern that Cllr Bloch is concerned about – millions in, committees formed, umbrella groups, structure and consultants making plans – all in receipt of funds – endgame not delivering outputs.
Given the high levels of need – we need that money to be used wisely.
Additionally, at the public meeting I attended last Wednesday night about the riots it was being said that Spurs were allocated £8million out of the £20million. I googled this when I got home to find that Boris Johnson is apparently allocating this amount out of the fund to Spurs to get them to stay in Tottenham. The inference in the articles is that this is to make up for what happened over their bid for the Olympic Stadium as their new grounds – which they didn’t get.
It certainly is vital that Spurs stays where it is. What would really help would be a tube stop! It would be great if Mayor Boris could turn his mind to that! I know – it’s a bit more than £8million – but in regen terms – that would deliver.