A legal challenge to prevent the redevelopment of a Latin American indoor market in Seven Sisters was today defeated at the High Court, when a judge upheld approval of a Compulsory Purchase Order for the site the market occupies.
Traders from the Latin Village, as it is known, had claimed that the now former communities secretary, London MP James Brokenshire, had failed to appreciate the effects the scheme would have on them due to the planning inspector who recommended approval of the CPO providing an “erroneous interpretation” of guarantees given over future rent levels at replacement sites.
The RightsInfo website, which attended the hearing, reports that the claimants’ case centred on the wording of a single bullet point in the inspector’s report, contending that this had suggested to Brokenshire that traders’ rents would rise by no more than two per cent a year indefinitely.
The traders argued that their rights under human rights laws and treaties would be infringed and that the CPO would effectively discriminate against them as a minority ethnic group.
RightsInfo reports that the judge said, “I have not been persuaded that the claimant’s submission is realistic” and that it was “inherently incredible” that the inspector could have actually believed that a reduced rent guarantee provided by the developer Grainger would go on forever. He ordered the traders to meet legal costs of £10,000, though one of them said he is considering an appeal.
The decision is the latest setback for a long-running campaign to block part of the wider Seven Sisters regeneration programme, for which Grainger secured planning consent in July 2012. The scheme entails demolishing the Wards Corner building, where the indoor market is, next to Seven Sisters Underground station, and replacing it with flats and retail premises, and also replacing a former council building on the other side of Seven Sisters Road at its junction with Tottenham High Road.
Latin Village traders have been promised temporary space in the nearby new building, which was “topped out” earlier this year, pending the creation of a new permanent home on the site they presently use once that half of the regeneration is complete. Around 10 per cent of the Wards Corner site is owned by the council and about 25 per cent by Transport for London, including the section the Latin Village occupies. In 2007, Grainger and Haringey Council entered into a legally-binding conditional development agreement to work together on the project.
The fate of the Latin Village has become a cause célèbre for activists and journalists, and on Tuesday Haringey’s overview and scrutiny committee, comprising both majority Labour group and opposition Liberal Democrat councillors, published a critical draft review of Haringey’s handling of the scheme, saying the council has failed to fulfil its responsibilities to the traders.
Council officers have recommended that the overview and scrutiny committee “defer approval” of the review’s findings and recommendations at its next meeting on 15 October in order to leave time for officers to check it for any inaccuracies and also to allow people who gave evidence to the committee to comment on its contents.
Grainger has been publishing on Twitter statements from traders who are in favour of the scheme, saying there is “a range of views among traders” and that some of these “are not always heard by people outside of the market”.
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