May 25 2013 Latest news:
by Flora Drury
Friday, June 22, 2012
Tensions look set to reach boiling point at a meeting set to decide whether a controversial Tottenham building scheme will go ahead.
The Wards Corner development, rebranded as the Seven Sisters Regeneration by applicant Grainger, goes before Haringey’s planning committee at the Civic Centre on Monday in what is sure to be a heated meeting, just three weeks after a public meeting on the scheme had to be abandoned as frustration boiled over.
Grainger, which unveiled updated plans for the site above Seven Sisters Tube station in May, will be hoping it finally gets planning permission after four years of wrangling with the council and opposition groups.
It claims there is widespread support for the proposals, with 130 people registering their support for their vision for the future of the Victorian department store and its surroundings, as well as more than 55 signaturies of support on a trader’s petition.
Grainger’s development director David Walters said: “The support so far shown towards the proposals highlights an acknowledgment of the benefits the long-awaited Seven Sisters Regeneration will deliver.
Some of the views expressed at the recent development management forum on Wards Corner:
Susie Watson, 34, of Southey Road, South Tottenham
“I love the vibe here. It will lose its identity, it’s got a really lively feeling. A South American vibe – it’s distinctly Seven Sisters. It would just merge into another part of London.”
Cordelia Donohoe, 40, of Armadale Close, Tottenham
“It seems to me that there is a community that needs it. I don’t mind these plans, it’s these traders who feel that they are going to be done out of premises that I feel sorry for.”
Roy Jose, 66, Nelson Road, South Tottenham
“Here you have a lot of people that have a lot of real concerns and effectively we’ve been blanked as we have all along for four years, they haven’t bothered to listen to us.”
Ben Nyerende, 36, owner of Ben Property Solutions, based in Seven Sisters Market, High Road, South Tottenham
“It will completely destroy my entire life; it would be like murder. They would kill my business, I would be the first Ugandan business to die in Seven Sisters.
“I invested £70,000 and I have 10 employees – my money will be gone, I will lose all of my business and I will lose my employees.
“They are not talking about our investment the only thing they are talking about is how much compensation they are going to give us. Just £1,000 of the £70,000 I put in.”
“It demonstrates that, in spite of some opposition to the development locally, there is support from other local residents and traders who do want this £65million of investment into Tottenham and Seven Sisters.”
But groups like the Wards Corner Community Coalition (WCC) still argue the development - which would see the indoor market kept, as well as a new retail area and flats - is not what residents want.
Opponents to the scheme are expected to attend the meeting in droves.
WCC’s Candy Amsden said: “We hope they will reject it, but it is a battle and it will go on. We have to fight. They have to be shown they have to take us into account.”
The row has spread to Haringey’s political groups as well, with the Liberal Democrats claiming the Labour group has upped the number of its councillors sitting on the planning committee to ensure the scheme is approved.
Labour angrily rejected the claim, pointing out the change comes as they are required by law to reflect the political make-up of the council on each committee.
Whatever the decision on Monday, the battle looks set to rumble on: Grainger’s original designs, rejected by the council in 2011, will go before the planning inspector this autumn for a final decision.