Chaotic scenes as protesters take over Wards Corner meeting in Tottenham
12:27 31 May 2012
Council staff were forced to flee a meeting to discuss controversial regeneration plans in Tottenham last night, as angry crowds launched a frenzied protest inside the historic town hall.
Around 200 members of the public packed into Tottenham Town Hall, in Town Hall Approach Road, for the meeting to discuss the proposals from developer Grainger to redevelop the Wards Corner site above Seven Sisters Tube station.
Grainger’s planning agent Chris Frost began the meeting by outlining the developer’s new plans for Wards Corner, re-submitted to Haringey Council earlier this month after the planning committee rejected the original application last July.
But the meeting quickly descended into chaos as local traders and residents were given the opportunity to question Mr Frost on Grainger’s plans.
Moaz Nanjuwany, chair of Tottenham Traders Partnership, told Mr Frost: “On moral grounds I really fail to understand how you can sleep at night. You are going to come here and affect the lives of a lot of people.
“Are the council not listening? How can this be a fair system morally and socially?”
Council planning officer Paul Smith, chair of the development management forum, was forced to abandon the meeting as animated members of the crowd, frustrated by Mr Frost’s responses, rose to their feet to complain.
As Mr Smith attempted to leave the meeting through a side door, crowds wrestled with him to prevent him closing the door.
A spokesman for the Wards Corner Community Coalition, who oppose Grainger’s plans, said: “Grainger’s representatives were not going to address the legitimate and heartfelt concerns of residents and traders facing eviction.
“Chris Frost was not even prepared with his own facts and figures for the proposal.”
Traders based on the proposed redevelopment site, including businesses at Seven Sisters Indoor Market, fear plans from Grainger for 196 homes, a new public space, shops and a new market will drive them out of business.
Following the meeting, a spokesman for Grainger said: “We are very disappointed that the people who came to that meeting and wanted to ask questions were not given the opportunity, down to the behaviour of a minority.”
For more reaction from last night’s meeting, pick up next Thursday’s Tottenham and Wood Green Journal.