Steep rent hikes for traders at market facing demolition
By Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter
Traders fighting to save their market from demolition are facing steep rent hikes after being given just a week’s notice.
Stallholders at Seven Sisters Indoor Market in Tottenham – also known as the Latin Village – are facing inflation-busting rent increases as high as almost 28%.
It means some will have to pay hundreds of pounds more each month just to keep their businesses on the site.
Market Asset Management (MAM), which runs the site, told traders of the rent increases in a letter sent out last month.
Other letters show many stallholders are facing rent hikes of more than 10%, with the highest standing at 27.8%.
MAM told traders a rent adjustment was overdue following steep rises in the cost of gas and electricity over the past four years.
But Haringey’s council leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor and landowner Transport for London (TfL) have both called on the firm to rethink its decision after some traders warned they could be forced out by the move.
Traders at the Latin Village are battling to stop their market from being bulldozed to make way for new flats and shops on the Wards Corner site, which forms part of a major regeneration scheme signed off by the council in 2012.
A group known as Seven Sisters Market Tenants’ Association has been raising funds to challenge the demolition in court. While a new market will be built as part of the redevelopment, which will be carried out by property firm Grainger. Many stallholders fear their businesses will suffer as a result of the move.
At a meeting of Haringey Council’s housing and regeneration scrutiny panel in February, a group of traders criticised a decision by the council and Grainger to appoint market consultants Quarterbridge as the ‘market facilitator’ – a supposedly independent body responsible for looking after traders’ interests during the redevelopment.
The director of Quarterbridge, Jonathan Owen, is also the director of Market Asset Management.
Traders say this created a clear conflict of interest, as the person who is supposed to stand up for them had a vested interest in the new development going ahead.
Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, leader of Haringey Council, said: “Providing a week’s notice for a rent increase like this is concerning, and I have contacted the market operator to ask that this issue is revisited.
“I have also contacted TfL, which owns the land. As a council we have no control over current rents at the market, however, we will continue to engage with all parties to encourage a reasonable outcome.
“The Latin Village and its traders are – and will continue to be – a vital part of Seven Sisters and of Haringey.”
TfL’s director of commercial development Graeme Craig said: “We do not support the way these rent increases have been handled by MAM.
“We have recommended that MAM reconsiders its rent increase proposals and provides tenants with more than one week’s notice so that they can properly mitigate the impact of any proposals on their businesses.”
Jonathan Kiddle, Senior Development Manager at Grainger, added: “The market is currently run by Market Asset Management and all decisions about rent are solely theirs as operator and leaseholder of the market.
“Our plan is for Seven Sisters to have a busy, vibrant, indoor market at its heart. We want all licensed traders currently at the market to be part of that.”
Market Asset Management has been approached for comment.