Many of you, like me, have followed the events around Wards Corner and Seven Sisters Market (SSM) with great interest and concern. I’m glad to provide the below update, which presents an opportunity to develop, alongside the traders and community of Seven Sisters, a new vision for the area.
Progress on the future of Wards Corner has been at a standstill for many years. While we still have work to do before the future of SSM is secured, I am relieved that this new administration has managed to push forward on this issue – the traders have been waiting too long for the certainty and security they’re entitled to.
I have a longstanding commitment to the traders’ vision for Wards Corner. This was solidified when I led the Scrutiny Review into Wards Corner and heard evidence from traders and the community about how the regeneration of the area was impacting their livelihood.
As the Cabinet Member for House Building, Placemaking, and Development, I see the Latin Market as a valuable asset to the borough’s cultural heritage and I am committed to truly working with the traders at SSM to realise their vision.
The history of Wards Corner
For those unfamiliar with its long and complex history, below is a very brief, and by no means comprehensive, overview of the recent events around Wards Corner and the Latin Market.
Wards Corner is the home to Seven Sisters Market (SSM), London’s only surviving Latin Market. Wards Corner was identified back in 2002, under a previous administration, as a site for regeneration. Since then, traders and community groups have campaigned against these plans.
In 2012, after one failed attempt, Grainger plc was granted planning permission to develop Wards Corner. This included plans for a temporary market space (Apex Gardens) where traders could operate from while the new market space was built in a redeveloped Wards Corner.
These plans were unpopular with many in the community and the traders. It was clear that the developer’s plans were different from the hopes of the community coalition, who had submitted a rival planning application for Wards Corner.
In light of the ongoing difficulties, Haringey’s Housing & Regeneration Scrutiny Panel undertook a through scrutiny review of Wards Corner in 2018/19.
As Chair of this Scrutiny Panel, I heard evidence that I found at times emotionally demanding – and I was just getting a glimpse of the struggle the traders and residents had been living with for years.
After hearing evidence, the Panel took the view that the Council ought to build on the cultural hub already in existence, and that through close collaboration with the traders, local residents, and the Latin American community it would be possible to promote and enhance a Latin Quarter in Tottenham.
The future of Wards Corner
Many traders have been unable to do business since March 2020 and in the first two months of this new administration we have made pursing a solution a top priority.
On Thursday, Grainger wrote to the Leader of Haringey Council (Cllr Peray Ahmet) confirming that they do not have a viable plan for proceeding with the development at Wards Corner. This also means that the offer of a temporary market in Apex Gardens has also been withdrawn.
Peray and I have been meeting with the Trust, and as you can see from the joint statement we are supporting the Trust and the community plan.
The immediate priority for the Council and the Trust is getting a market up and running as soon as possible, and providing hardship payments for traders – as you can see from this letter to TfL. We are urging TfL to work with the Trust to co-produce a solution for the long-term future of the market.
The lynchpin of Haringey’s new Labour administration is co-production. This means truly listening to residents and delivering policies and services that have been designed in collaboration with residents. It is a bottom-up approach to collaboration, driven by our Labour values of community empowerment and collective decision making.
There cannot be a repeat of the events detailed above, at Wards Corner or elsewhere in the borough, and a co-production approach to decision making will help ensure that.
We are committed to placemaking, as opposed to regeneration, which is about the development of the community that’s already here. Seven Sisters Market is a cultural heartland and a valuable asset to the borough’s heritage, and all development in the area should build from this starting point.
I’m excited that there is now an opportunity to work collaboratively with the traders and community, as well as TfL, to secure a stable future for Wards Corner.
Cllr Ruth Gordon, Cabinet Member for House Building, Placemaking, and Development