Enfield licensing debacle turns party political
The confusion over Enfield council’s bungled attempts to introduce landlord licensing – deemed illegal by the High Court – has now become something of a party political football.Shortly before Christmas the High Court ruled that Enfield council, in north London, had undertaken insufficient consultation for its policy to be implemented lawfully. As a result, Croydon council in Surrey announced an additional 10 week consultation process in its own bid to introduce landlord licensing.
Concerned that the consequences of the Enfield decision may hit its own plans, Croydon is now consulting with residents and businesses not only in its own patch but in the neighbouring boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark, Bromley, Merton, Sutton, Lewisham, Wandsworth, Tandridge and Reigate and Banstead as well.
The council’s original consultation involved landlords and residents in Croydon alone. The new consultation will run until March 2 but responses already submitted will be considered.
Now the Conservatives on Enfield council have challenged that authority to follow the example of Croydon.
“The council’s proposed landlord licensing scheme has descended into a costly farce, with legal fees escalating and taxpayers having to foot the bill” says Edward Smith, Tory housing spokesman on Enfield council.
Enfield’s ruling Labour group is appealing against December’s High Court decision; the Conservatives are now demand to know how much has been spent on legal bills and the original consultation, and how much a more extensive consultation may cost.
A council spokesman told a local newspaper, the Enfield Advertiser: “We have requested leave to appeal against the court’s decision and as such it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage. However, 84 per cent of Enfield’s residents and a majority of Enfield’s businesses who responded to the consultation strongly agreed with the council’s original decision to introduce the scheme.”