Around a thousand people gathered to ‘hug the block’ in support of Wards Corner and Seven Sisters Indoor Market in April 2017. Photo credit: Pam Isherwood
Urban regeneration for the people, by the people.
The campaign to save Wards Corner and Seven Sisters Indoor Market (Latin Village or Pueblito Paisa) in Tottenham, North London, dates back to 2003 when the site was listed for redevelopment. Plans to demolish the historic Wards buildings and the Market – an Asset of Community Value recognised by the UN as a unique cultural centre for London’s Latin American communities – mobilised a grassroots campaign by local residents, market traders and local businesses.
The campaign staged mass community events and protests, ran legal campaigns, and fundraised. Crucially, it also developed an alternative Community Plan to restore and manage the Wards building and the Market to benefit people living and working locally, or using its economic, social and cultural facilities.
Throughout, campaigners drew strength from the breadth of interests and groups they engaged, focusing on local residents, heritage buildings, and a market for minority communities and independent businesses.
The Community Plan proposes to restore the historic Wards buildings and Seven Sisters Indoor Market (also known as Latin Village) in south Tottenham, London. Image credit: Unit 38
We are thrilled to be nominated for this award, which nudges our 20-year campaign to restore the Wards building and Seven Sisters Indoor Market closer to victory. We invite everyone to get involved – market traders, local residents, local businesses, market users, and supporters – and welcome offers of help and support in delivering this exciting and long-awaited grassroots project.”
The campaign has achieved numerous successes over the years, including a successful judicial review, gaining planning permission (twice) for the Community Plan and demonstrating its financial viability. In August 2021, the developer withdrew its proposals, building owner Transport for London committed to a community-led development and Haringey Council announced its support for the Community Plan.
The Community Plan offers an alternative to extractive modes of urban regeneration and development which often displace the residents and businesses they seek to benefit.
Their plan will restore and bring back into full use the historic Wards building, delivering a new Market as well as other low-cost community, retail and office space. A ‘community build’ approach, delivered in partnership with local schools, colleges, and training providers will offer opportunities for local people to gain skills and experience. The surplus generated by renting low-cost community, retail and office space – including a new market in the restored building – will be reinvested in other community-led projects in the local area.
Market traders, local residents, local businesses, and people who use the Market and wider town centre will collectively own and democratically govern the Community Plan through a new Community Benefit Society (CBS).
With the threat of demolition finally gone, campaigners have shifted focus to developing the new Wards Corner CBS as the delivery vehicle for the Community Plan.
A major fundraising effort is underway to resource a bid to Transport for London for a long lease of the Wards building, including advancing design and other technical work, a business and financial plan, community and trader engagement and organisational development.
Who else was involved?
Wards Corner Community Coalition, Save Latin Village and Wards Corner CIC, El Pueblito Paisa Ltd, Seven Sisters Market Tenants Association, Bindmans LLP, Tottenham Traders Partnership, seven local residents’ associations, Tottenham Civic Society, Sustainable Haringey, Haringey Federation of Residents Associations, Our Tottenham, St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust, Peacock Estate, Rockstone Foundation, Haringey Unite Community branch, Haringey London Renters Union branch, Unit 38, Pedro Achata Trust, Amigo Month, Latin Elephant, London Latinxs, Latin Front, Just Space, New Economics Foundation, Common Wealth, David Lammy MP, Joanne McCartney AM, Haringey Council, Transport for London, Architectural Heritage Foundation, Rosa Luxemburg Siftung (London office), and many other organisations and hundreds of volunteers and supporters. Thank you all.
Over 100 people gathered to discuss the fourth iteration of the Wards Corner Community Plan in August 2019. Photo credit: Mario Washington Iheme