Knocking down flats could leave Haringey Council with fewer social homes and a hefty bill for rehousing people, a councillor has warned.

More than 200 flats face demolition following the council’s decision to knock down the Tangmere and Northolt blocks on the Broadwater Farm estate due to structural safety concerns.

The local authority has pledged to build high-quality replacement council homes and will hold a consultation with the whole of the estate on what the new development should look like.

But the project’s possible financial impact on Haringey Council – which has already endured years of funding cuts – came under the spotlight at the housing and regeneration scrutiny panel on Tuesday (January 15).

Cllr Isidoros Diakides, Labour member for Tottenham Green, warned the cost to the council could run into the millions.

Admitting he was being deliberately provocative, he said: “I think we are being very complacent about timing. We are actually preparing ourselves for three, or four, or five years before we have those flats there.”

Cllr Diakides said external auditors estimated the cost of losing a single unit of social housing “is £18,000 a year net to the general fund of the authority”.

He said this meant losing one of the blocks would cost the council around £2 million a year as it faced a bill for rehousing people in temporary accommodation.

Cllr Diakides added: “Should we be taking that slow approach now – where, as I understand it, we have not yet got a plan on when we will have demolition or designs completed?

“We say we are going to start some consultation with the residents about what it will be – which we haven’t started yet. How long will that take, a year, two? In the meantime, we have lost those units.”

Sean McLaughlin, managing director of the council’s housing arm Homes for Haringey, said the council had a plan in place to reduce the number of people in temporary accommodation.

He said “Not only are we trying to get people moving out of temporary accommodation, but within temporary accommodation, moving to less expensive forms of temporary accommodation.

“The cost figures you have quoted there are not the appropriate ones to measure the impact of the decant [the process of moving people out] from the two blocks at Broadwater Farm.

“The speed with which we have been able to make good offers to residents is not an indication of complacency.

“I think it is absolutely essential that what is built on the site of Northolt and Tangmere is something we consult the whole estate about.”

Dan Hawthorn, the council’s director of housing and growth, said the local authority was doing everything it could to get people out of the blocks and was starting engagement work with residents at the same time.

But Cllr Dawn Barnes, Liberal Democrat for Crouch End, said the council faced “urgent” problems with more people coming onto the housing waiting list – and the proposed demolition of the Love Lane estate in Tottenham could reduce the supply of temporary accommodation even further.

Cllr Emine Ibrahim, cabinet member for housing and estate renewal, said a decision on the future of Love Lane had not been reached and was subject to a residents’ ballot.

Mr McLaughlin added: “In some ways, this couldn’t have come at a worse time. I can’t sit here and say to you it is fine, we can totally absorb the Broadwater Farm impact in our temporary accommodation reduction plan.

“It has made a difficult situation more difficult – and the levers we have got to pull to mitigate that are limited, and we feel like we are pulling most of those already.”