Latin Village reps ask council to put the brakes on Wards Corner development
By Luchia Robinson
Latin Village traders have called on Haringey Council to pause the demolition of Seven Sisters market until after a scrutiny review.
The review of the proposed demolition of Wards Corner, is now taking place. It gives all parties the chance to present evidence concerning regeneration plans to the council’s Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny panel.
Representatives of the Latin Village have begun presenting their case for a community plan to restore Wards Corner and preserve the existing market.
Vicky Alvarez, market trader and representative of the majority of traders at the Latin Village hopes the scrutiny review will provide a space for the traders to express their concerns, propose their alternative plan and be listened to objectively.
Vicky has criticised Haringey Council for not listening to the Latin traders and rushing through a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the site to enable plans proposed by property developer, Grainger.
The decision to confirm Haringey Council’s CPO order was made by the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government (HCLG) in January. The CPO allows the land, on which the market is situated, to be obtained without the consent of the owner (TfL) for purposes of regeneration.
In a statement announcing the CPO, Haringey Leader, Cllr Joseph Ejiofor said:
“The decision to submit the CPO for consideration is a legacy decision, made in 2016 by the previous administration.
“I want to be really clear about what is proposed at Wards Corner – this is not a plan to remove the market from Seven Sisters. It is a plan to temporarily move the market to a site over the road, in order to build a sustainable new long-term market, deliver new homes and business space. When the market moves back to the site, returning traders have a clear list of commitments, including reduced rent and the guarantee of equivalent space made by Grainger.
“Since 2007 the Wards Corner agreement with Grainger has been subject to approvals from Cabinet and the CPO has been subject to an inquiry where all aspects of the scheme are closely examined. Discussions about the market’s future did not begin on the day we got the CPO decision.”
In response to this statement, Vicky said: “This appears to be a hasty announcement Cllr Ejiofor has made without even consulting his own Labour Councillors, let alone traders, and before the Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel has even had a chance to start its review of Latin Village and Wards Corner.”
The Latin Village traders have asked the Council to pause the CPO until after the review, now that the scrutiny process has begun.
“I think it’s unconscionable that the council will not put the brakes on, which they are perfectly, legally allowed to do, whilst this scrutiny process takes place,” said Stuart McNamara, local resident and former Haringey Councillor.
He added: “I think this is a symptom of a much bigger issue where regeneration has lost its focus, it’s forgotten who it’s there to represent.”
In an interview with TCP in November 2018, Cllr Ejiofor had explained the council’s position and their inability to halt the scheme.
“The council has a number of legally binding commitments [to work] with the developer on the scheme. There is a Section 106 agreement which is in place between the developers, the market traders, the council and TfL, which expresses what we all expect to see at the outcome– and that is a sustainable Latin Village market, where the traders have the same footprint as they have now in the new development.”
Stuart was not impressed by this and is demanding transparency from the council.
“When we hear figures of ‘it will cost millions to get out of this, there’s a development agreement, the developers have already got most of the land’ -Where’s the paperwork?”
“We want to see the development agreement, we want to see the advice, we want to know who you’ve met and who you’ve discussed it with.”
Vicky says that the council has not been willing to work with the traders to reach a compromise that will retain the authenticity of what’s been recreated at Wards Corner.
“We are a BME community and we belong to this great place we call Tottenham, which I love. It’s my home because we’ve got people here from all over the world, not only Latin.”
Vicky added: “It’s such an uneven fight that makes things even more difficult and complicated. Who do you ask for help, if the people, the bodies that are there to represent you are not there to represent your interests. What do you do?”
“Today, it’s the Latin community, tomorrow it could be any other community.”
“We are the casualty at the moment, and I am telling you, we have been paying a really high price, in every single aspect.”