Back in February, when the coronavirus crisis was just a news item from China, On London carried an interview with five traders from the Seven Sisters indoor market, often referred to as the Latin Village. Long-standing plans to redevelop the dilapidated former Wards furniture store building in which the market is located have, for years, been opposed by activist groupings, including some of the traders. Helped by several large media organisations, they have created the impression that the traders are united in opposition to the project.
However, as those who spoke to On London explained (pictured), the reality is very different. Many of the traders are in favour of the scheme, which will eventually provide them with a new market space on the same site. A review for Haringey Council, which has a legal agreement with the developer Grainger to facilitate the project, found that a majority want it to go ahead, even though they will first have to decamp to a temporary space on the other side of the junction of Tottenham High Road and Seven Sisters Road. There, another part of the regeneration programme for the area, known as Wards Corner, is well advanced.
What has happened since that interview? At the time it took place, the regeneration’s opponents were seeking leave to appeal against a court’s rejection of their claim that a compulsory purchase order made by Haringey that is essential for the scheme’s completion should not have been approved. The claim had been dismissed as “inherently incredible”. Even so, backed by thousands of pounds raised through a crowdfunding campaign, the objectors pressed on. They were denied leave to appeal on 17 March.
More recently, work consistent with social distancing requirements has resumed on the building across the road from the market following a break while the government’s view about construction activity solidified. That building, which replaces a former council facility called Apex House, is to be called Apex Gardens. It will comprise 163 flats for rent, 40 per cent of them at sub-market levels.
The market traders, many of them Latin American Londoners, will move initially into a retail area on the ground floor. Before the virus struck, Grainger had hoped the flats would be ready in June and that the temporary market would open in the autumn. That timetable has, inevitably, slipped, although Grainger is continuing to engage with the traders about the design of the temporary market. Online workshops will take place later this month.
Another significant development is the appointment by Haringey of regeneration adviser Roger Austin as Acting Market Facilitator, following the expiry of the contract of the previous manager of the market. It was Austin who produced the review for the council, working in conjunction with a policy advisory group of councillors. Austin’s task is to provide support for the traders in relation to their relocation and coping with the impacts of Covid-19.
On London will continue to cover the story of the Seven Sisters regeneration, in particular the fortunes of the indoor market traders, as it unfolds.
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