Transport for London has abandoned its plan to make safe an indoor market space it owns at Seven Sisters station after the scale of the work required was judged too large and expensive to proceed with.
The transport body said in June that it intended to rectify an array of concerns about the condition of the market, which forms part of a former furniture store building at what is known as Ward’s Corner – the junction of Tottenham High Road and Seven Sisters Road in Haringey.
The indoor market, known to some as the “Latin Village”, has been the focus of ten-year campaign to preserve it within the existing building, although many of the traders there have expressed enthusiasm for plans to replace it with a new market space within a new building on the same site as part of a wider, long-running Seven Sisters regeneration programme.
TfL had expressed hopes that health and safety shortcomings could be rectified in time for traders to return at some point this month. At that time, it was in the process of acquiring the lease for the market from its previous operator. However, after remedial work began further hazards were uncovered, leading TfL to conclude that the task would take much longer to complete with costs rising to hundreds of thousands of pounds for alterations to a building that will soon be demolished.
Graeme Craig, TfL’s Director of Commercial Development, said that “fire safety surveys made it clear that it is not safe for the market to reopen within the market hall without complete and lengthy reconstruction of all units. While this is frustrating for traders, the health and safety of our traders and their customers must always be our first priority.”
TfL says a survey of the market building in early August found that steel columns and beams forming part of its structure had no fire protection which made them susceptible to collapse should a fire break out. There are also fire risk issues relating to market units located on the High Road.
Stressing that “small independent traders like those a Seven sisters market are vital to the economic recovery of London,” Craig added that TfL hopes to “create a new outdoor market adjacent to its current location” as “the only practical solution” to enabling some of the businesses to reopen there. He acknowledged that “not all businesses” would be able set up there, but said TfL is already looking at other ways to help those for whom an outdoor location would not be suitable, including offering short-term use of vacant TfL units elsewhere.
Property firm Grainger, which is conducting the regeneration, will be offering temporary alternative retail spaces for traders on favourable terms in a new, primarily residential building called Apex Gardens on the other side of Seven Sisters Road. Apex Gardens, which will provide private rental accommodation and some “affordable” homes, stands on the site previously occupied by a Haringey Council building, Apex House.
Work on Apex Gardens resumed at reduced speed during the pandemic lockdown and Grainger says this has continued and that they still anticipate that the market traders will be able to move their businesses across the street in the spring. After that has happened, the vacated Wards Corner building will be demolished to make way for a new development comprising market rate flats for rent and retail space, including a new permanent indoor market area. Grainger says it will shortly commence a period of consultation with traders about the layout and their locations in the temporary Apex Gardens space.
The regeneration of Seven Sisters, which is subject to a 2007 planning agreement between Grainger and Haringey Council, has been slowed over the years by a series of objections and an unsuccessful legal challenge.
Updated at 18:25 on 7 October 2020 to include comments from Graeme Craig and further information from TfL.
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