Wards Corner, adjacent to Seven Sisters station in Tottenham, is the largest Latin American market in the UK., but as part of massive gentrification plans by Haringey Council, it is facing demolition.
Developers, Grainger PLC, have faced opposition for years from residents and traders refusing to sell, and so the council have now issued a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO). A public enquiry will take place in July, and campaigners believe they have a very good public interest case for the CPO to be refused, but they need to raise more money to mount their challenge as there is no legal aid available and they will be up against teams of barristers, solicitors and possibly even a QC acting for the council and developer.
The Wards Corner Community Coalition (WCC) have an alternative vision to the characterless identikit glass-fronted shopping mall and private gated flats that Grainger propose. Their plan, put together by a local architect, would restore the building and open up 2500 square metres of space above the current market and in the 1910 store, with an improved indoor market, an arts centre, workshop space, restaurant and office space. They believe the individual character could draw tourism to the area, which is a short tube ride from Oxford Circus.
Although the developer’s plan promises space for the current traders, there are no promises to keep the rent low, and campaigners fear that within a short time the temporary displacement and then big rent hikes could destroy the community.
The WCC plan actually already has planning permission from Haringey Council, so if they can face off the CPO threat, then they could win and so see the community vision come to fruition.
This short film captures the atmosphere on Saturday (8/4/2017) when they held a community awareness-raising event during which they formed a human chain round the site. Hundreds of people attended and listened to speeches, took leaflets, and enjoyed the fitting sunshine and heat.
More info and links to the crowdfunder at http://wardscorner.wikispaces.com