Among the quieter items among last week’s Transport for London board papers was news that up to £500,000 have been made available to the beleaguered traders of Seven Sisters indoor market, known to some as the Latin Village, to help them through the coming months while work on a temporary new home for them is completed.
Until recently, the market was located within the dilapidated former Wards furniture store at the junction of Tottenham High Road and Seven Sisters Road, next to Seven Sisters station. There have been plans to redevelop the site for at least a dozen years. They include providing a new indoor market space for the traders, many of them female Latin American Londoners (hence the “Latin Village” nickname).
The market was closed earlier this year with power supply problems and by Covid-19 restrictions, and then by TfL, which currently owns the site. The transport body has been directly responsible for the indoor market space since June, after the company that used to run in declared itself insolvent. At present, only the Pueblito Paisa Cafe, whose premises are mostly outside the main building, is open for business (see photo from yesterday) along with a fresh produce stall.
TfL had hoped to put right a number of safety issues with the building so that the market’s 38 traders could move back in. However, it was eventually decided that these would be too time-consuming and costly. The idea of outdoor market was explored, but then abandoned, leaving the traders in limbo until the temporary space is ready.
That temporary space will be inside a new, primarily residential building directly across the road from the old Wards store. Its name is Apex Gardens, and it forms the other half of the programme to redevelop the Seven Sisters junction, often known as Wards Corner. Work there has continued in a limited way during the pandemic, but the project’s developer, Grainger, to which ownership of the Wards site will eventually be transferred, says the temporary home for the traders won’t be ready until the spring.
Hence the £500,000. The Mayor’s decision notice authorising TfL’s use of the funds records that as long ago as 2012 his predecessor Boris Johnson had arranged support of £285,000 during the planned relocation, which is a sign of how long this saga has been running for. Mayor Johnson’s decision was never implemented, precisely because the regeneration became held up. Mayor Khan’s new decision supersedes it. “Robust criteria” will be applied to ensure “best value”, the decision notice says. At the same time, TfL will be looking at other retail units in its estate see if they appeal to Seven Sisters traders. Any taken up would initially be rent-free.
The decision notice is at pains to underline the value of the market to Latin American Londoners and that protecting it is in line with the Mayor’s recognition of the value of London’s markets generally. The long story of the “Latin Village” has been repeatedly and seriously misrepresented by a number of large media outlets and an array of campaign groups, whom many of the traders do not consider to represent their views. There is still a long way for this story to run. On London will continue to report it.
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