May 18 2013 Latest news:
by Flora Drury
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Six hours of impassioned argument on the future of Wards Corner ended with quiet resignation among campaigners after councillors voted in favour of the divisive proposals.
Haringey Council’s planning committee voted in favour of developer Grainger’s proposals for the site above Seven Sisters Tube station by five votes to four - with councillors voting along party lines.
Labour’s Cllr Joanna Christophides voted in line with her party colleagues for the plans, having voted against Grainger’s previous submission a year ago.
The committee heard from residents, traders, councillors and campaigners about concerns over the loss of an important building in a conservation area, the future security of the market and shop traders, as well as the dangers to a community considered an “ethnic minority”.
These were weighed up against the promise of extra jobs, an improved local economy and a pledge to do everything possible to help the market traders return - which included a last minute promise to let them rent spaces in the new market hall at a reduced price when it first reopens.
But any fireworks onlookers may have expected after hours of debate, which had seen tears, cheering and accusations fly across the Civic Centre’s meeting room, did not happen.
Grainger’s representatives did not show any signs of celebration, filing out with groups like the Wards Corner Community Coalition (WCC) - which just last week submitted its own proposal for the former department store - and the traders from Seven Sisters market in a subdued fashion.
Mithal Patel, whose family stands to lose not only their West Green Road business but their home as well, said: “I am really disappointed. We all want regeneration but why does it have to be at the expense of the traders and residents?”
WCC member Pam Isherwood promised to continue fighting the plans, which will see the current Victorian buildings knocked down to make room for a new mixed-use development.
She said: “The really offensive thing is people say we do not want to see change. We desperately want to see change.”
But Grainger’s development director David Walter said after the meeting it was “great news” for Seven Sisters.
He said: “The Seven Sisters Regeneration project is a crucial part of the Tottenham Regeneration Vision and is a fantastic opportunity to achieve a significant improvement in employment, safety, investment and opportunity.
“We hope we will shortly be able to work with the existing businesses, traders and residents on site and in the wider area to make this a reality at last.”