Unfair trade

Businesses on Peacock Industrial Estate refuse to give up freehold

By Luchia Robinson

Peacock Industrial Estate Credit: Stephen Furner

Traders on the Peacock Industrial Estate, White Hart Lane have told Haringey Council that they no longer want to discuss plans to improve the area, as their concerns regarding the regeneration process, are not being heard.

The estate is currently owned by the traders who have freeholder status. However, the land surrounding the estate, which is mostly owned by the council, has been designated as a regeneration site as part of the High Road West development scheme.

The council has assigned the traders’ plot of land as a communal square, demanding the business owners forgo their private land and downgrade from freeholder status, so development works by property developer, Lendlease can go ahead.

Addressing the council in an open letter, business trader Nick Oliveri said:

“For too long the council and its regeneration partners have failed to listen to our wishes to remain in the area. For too long it has not shown us– over 50 businesses with over 300 jobs– the respect of being a significant freehold landowner. It is insulting to offer a freeholder a different work space where they rent off somebody else. That is not what we have worked hard for and not the legacy we want to pass on to our successors.”

Having met with the leader of Haringey Council, Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, and participated in discussions surrounding the proposed changes with Council officers and team members from Lendlease, the traders have decided to end cooperation.

They have drawn up their own development plan that proposes a mixed use development that would keep the existing industrial spaces, and create both housing and green spaces.

The traders say that their plan has either been ignored or belittled by the regeneration team and that they have not been included in the regeneration plans, as freeholders who wish to continue developing their assets and livelihoods on the estate.

Haringey Council said: “The High Road West scheme will bring forward much needed new homes, new jobs and training opportunities, open space, retail and workspace in north Tottenham. Some of the land needed to deliver the scheme is owned and occupied by a diverse mix of businesses, so in order to facilitate trans- formational change, the council will need to acquire that land.

“We are committed to supporting businesses in and around High Road West. In December 2014, we created a High Road West Business Charter where we committed to ensuring businesses would be able to participate in, and be supported through, the regeneration process. Our aim is to keep as many businesses and jobs within the area, and for those that are unable to remain for any reason, we are committed to a fair valuation and compensation process.

“The Council recognises that retaining a freehold is a priority for some businesses. However, we have always been upfront that the commercial premises available in the new scheme are proposed to be leasehold, so those that return would do so on a leasehold basis. We will also be investigating any freehold opportunities beyond the site which may be suitable for businesses to move to.”

The Council says that the engagement with the traders has been ongoing and they plan to hold future events so that these business and land owners “can exercise real choice regarding their current and future options.”

Having an established business community and being in a prime location for both transport and trading links, the offer of compensation to relocate, is of no interest to the Tottenham traders. Neither is the prospect of transferring their assets to Lendlease and paying for leasehold units.

Regarding the High Road West development scheme, Faruk Tepeyurt, Chairman of the board of directors at Peacock Industrial Estate said: “[The] current cabinet leader and some other councillors during the election campaign promised their electorate that they would not support a wild regeneration and would take into consideration the needs of the local community, where we gave them [the] benefit of doubt and plenty of credit after their election.”

Faruk added: “We stated that every- one including Tottenham Hotspur, Lendlease, Haringey Council and Peacock Industrial Estate should compromise, allocate green spaces to the community jointly and develop the area jointly.

“[The] council is not only deaf but also blind to our plight. Until they come up with a constructive proposal, we do not want to deal with them.”