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A conference organised by and for local residents…

IT’S OUR TOTTENHAM  –  creating our own Community Plans for local sites, facilities and neighbourhoods, and for Tottenham as a whole

Saturday 1st February
11am- 4pm, at Tottenham Chances
399 Tottenham High Road, N17 6QN
Please register now so that we can make adequate provisions for the numbers attending: the full agenda belowTottenham is a great place with a rich social and architectural history, made up of vibrant, diverse and talented communities. We want to ensure this continues!We must challenge policies and practices that do not benefit the people of Tottenham. The Council, backed by property developers and big business, are promoting their ‘Plan for Tottenham’ – mainly large-scale, profit-driven development, increased rents, more unaffordable housing, and the loss of some independent local shops and community facilities. Its not all bad but, unless challenged, this will seriously affect our lives and our communities, and rising rents will force many local people out of the area.

Together we are very powerful and can make our own plans. How do we do this? Thousands of Tottenham residents have campaigned and worked hard for years to improve their local areas and facilities. The conference will showcase and learn from some of the many inspirational examples of community-led regeneration of estates, parks, local facilities, and neighbourhoods.

In every neighbourhood throughout Tottenham we should support or create new community groups and campaigns which take action to: Defend community facilities and services; Stand up for decent & affordable housing for all; Support small businesses; Promote quality design and respect for heritage; Improve the street environment and green spaces; Support youth voices, services and facilities; Empower local communities

• HEAR about inspirational and successful examples of community-led regeneration around Tottenham and London
• DISCUSS what people can do in local neighbourhoods to develop their own community plans to improve their areas – and Tottenham as a whole


11am        Arrival / registration 11.30am   General introduction / backgroundCouncil/developers policies/plans & Our Tottenham network11.45am  COMMUNITY PLANS: SOME INSPIRING EXAMPLES
Presentations of positive Community Plan examples – from outside Haringey (eg Kings Cross), then from around Tottenham eg Wards Corner, Lordship Rec, Bull Lane Playing Fields etc. [See below (at end) for more details of some of these inspirational projects and campaigns.]12.30pm.  Workshops – 1st session: WHAT COULD BE DONE AROUND TOTTENHAM?
Break out groups all discussing what has been presented so far, and sharing their own ideas and experiences. What are the key themes, issues and possibilities for sites around Tottenham and for Tottenham as a whole?

1.00pm  Brief break —————

1.30pm    Workshops – 2nd session   HOW TO DO IT? THE PRINCIPLES, TACTICS AND STRATEGIES
Break out groups discussing aspects of developing popular/successful local community plans for sites/facilities. [see more details of each of these 5 workshop themes, below (after the agenda) ]
1.  Developing community visions and turning them into Plans;
2.  Accessing and pressing for the funding/resources needed to implement Plans;
3. Relations with Council and official bodies to achieve Plans;
4.  Understanding, using and negotiating legal/planning processes;
5.  Mobilising public support and exercising our power to achieve Plans

     Brief report-backs and any proposals from the 2nd session of workshops

2.50pm    How do we develop a road map for an alternative Community Plan for Tottenham as a whole?  One over-arching plan? Several mini-plans for different areas on the map (eg N/S/E/W/Central Tottenham?). A sector based approach e.g. community buildings; shops and workplaces; green spaces; housing? Practical as well as visionary? Based on OT Charter.  How do we ensure involvement and support from community groups and the wider public for the process and development of a draft Community Plan? How can we forestall adverse moves by Council/developers, in time to prevent things we don’t want from becoming irreversible?

3.30pm   Developing a specific schedule for Community Planning over the next few months – maybe leading up to an Our Tottenham Recall Conference in Summer 2014. Should we set up a Community Planning Working Group? How do we improve our communications and publicity around this issue eg workshops and consultations throughout Tottenham, mass leafleting, plus a Questionnaire?

3.50pm.  Final remarks. Clear up together.


First session, 12.30pm – general discussion/brainstorming

Go round:
What brings you here today – what are your concerns or ideas?
3 questions to respond to:
–       What long term improvements would you like to see for your area?
–       What long term improvements would you like to see for Tottenham as a whole?
–       What local Community Plan would you yourself like to help develop?

Second session, 1.30pm – specific themes

Each of the 5 workshop groups below are asked to identify 3 key action points to report back to the later plenary session. Information and ideas from all workshops will be written up to form part of the final Conference Report published after the event.

1.  Developing community visions and turning them into Plans
How do local people develop their own specific vision for the future of a site or area? What should it entail (eg physical vision, reasoning behind it, community involvement and support, key potential partnerships and future management structures, costings, timeline for implementation etc), and how detailed should it be (2 sides A4, or up to 500 pages!)? Does it depend on the type of site?  What is the role for working groups, expert advisors etc? Discussion on the what, how, who and when of actually drawing up a Community Plan.

2.  Accessing and pressing for the funding/resources needed to implement Plans
What funding and resources are needed to implement the various kinds of Community Plans? How do we get access to the tens of thousands of ££s needed for a small facility, to the ££millions needed for regeneration of a major open space or estate, up to the ££billions needed for Tottenham as a whole? Who (eg local and national government, Lottery, companies and developers, charitable and third sector bodies etc) currently has the resources we need and how do we apply, lobby and campaign for those resources to be made available for what local people actually want?

3. Relations with Council and other official and commercial bodies to achieve Plans
Once we know what we want, or start to develop a Plan for what we want, which official bodies do we need to work with and get onside in order to be able to implement a Plan eg those who currently control the relevant land, facilities and resources, and have control of decision-making powers? How can we better understand their processes and motives? How do we ensure that the Council, and the other relevant public, private, third sector or commercial institutions, support specific Community Plans and community empowerment generally? What does being supportive mean? Do we seek them as partners? At which stages, and how, do we do this effectively?

4.  Understanding, using and negotiating legal/planning processes
What policies (London Plan, Local Plan, Plan for Tottenham, Opportunity Areas, Area Action Plans, Site Allocations etc) are the Council currently promoting for Tottenham? What are the planning policies that can or should help us in safeguarding or improving local sites and areas, and in developing Community Plans? How do we try to strengthen and enforce such policies? How can we make use of recent laws regarding Localism, Neighbourhood Forums or Community Assets? What planning processes must we be aware of and respond to, and how? What other legal action can help (eg Judicial Review)?

5.  Mobilising public support and exercising our power to achieve Plans
How do we mobilise and show public support and community ownership for local sites and areas, and for local Community Plans? How do we develop the kind of local community partnerships and stakeholder networks we need to strengthen our efforts, our collective resources and expertise, and the overall Plans legitimacy? How do we co-ordinate this process? When and how, at various key times, do we organise consultations, petitions, social media, mass leafletting, door-to-door knocking, lobbying,

publicity, public events, lists of supporting organisations, and so on?


Our conference on February 1st 2014 will take forward ideas from our April 2013 founding conference for a positive Community Plan for Tottenham and a series of mini-plans for places, facilities, sites, neighbourhoods around Tottenham. The idea – bearing in mind the mainly ‘top-down’, profit-driven, large-scale development that the Council and Developers are planning for our area – is to enable the community to learn from successful community-led regeneration and current examples of community plans for sites or facilities in Tottenham and elsewhere. We’ll promote and celebrate our achievements and discuss ‘what works’ for local people.

Some inspirational local examples we can draw on

Broadwater Farm / Lordship Recreation GroundBroadwater Farm Following a police/youth riot in 1985 the residents of the estate stepped up their efforts to improve the poorly-designed estate which had few facilities. The community-led regeneration of the estate attracted tens of millions of ££s of resources and has been a huge success. Improvements included concierges for all blocks, play areas, landscaping, workshops for rent, health centre, community centre, new school campus, bus route and more….Lordship Recreation Ground   Tottenham’s largest and previously most-neglected public park, Lordship Rec, is adjacent to the BWF estate and has recently had a £5m makeover mainly due to the long-term commitment and hard work of the park users’ group, the Friends of Lordship Rec. The whole regeneration process was community-led, in partnership with the Council’s Parks Dept. The new facilities and features are now run in partnership with the various park user groups. Indeed, there are many Friends Groups working to improve local parks around Tottenham.

These 2 examples show what can be done where community vision and determination is backed by the resources needed and the political will.Wards Corner    This area around the former department store on the corner of the High Road and Seven Sisters Rd has been deliberately neglected by the council and landlords for years. In 2003 the council brought in and supported the developer Grainger with public funds. Their plan is to evict the vibrant indoor, mainly latin-american, market and the family-run shops in the area, demolish and rebuild with 100% private flats above a development of high street chain stores replacing the existing market. The group organised 3 massive public meetings and a 500-strong ‘hands around the site’ protest. They also successfully challenged the developers in court (setting a historic precedent) as they’d failed to consider equalities issues in the original plan. The developers then resubmitted a new plan which was approved by the council. However the campaign coalition – including residents and traders, backed by local Residents Associations – have developed their own Community Plan which would retain the historic building, renew the whole area, ensure the wishes of traders and residents and offer a chance to show how distinctive and different Tottenham is. In November 2013 it was submitted for planning permission. The Council still refuses to meet with the coalition…

Bull Lane Playing Fields    The campaign to save these playing fields in North Tottenham has been going on since 1985. The council said the fields are surplus to requirements despite the lack of green space and sports facilities in the north of the borough. The campaign group has done a lot over the last 25 years to raise the issue and campaign to save the fields as a local sports venue including getting plenty of media coverage, lobbying, and raising £1 million Lottery money to help buy the land. But the council won’t sell it to the group as the land would be worth a lot of profit to property developers – but is worth more than money to local residents! The group recently heard that the council have abandoned threats to build on the land, but have gone quiet. The campaign continues. Advice to all campaigners is to stick with it as it takes time, you must believe in what you are fighting for and get the community behind you.

Tottenham marshes

Stonebridge Lock   In 2012 British Waterways wanted to close down the Waterside Centre – on which public money had been spent, and which is used by a number of community groups. A coalition of groups including Friends of Tottenham Marshes and Living Under One Sun successfully applied for a temporary lease to co-manage the centre, and to develop a community plan for the site.

Living Under One Sun   They promote community leadership and general health and well-being throughout the community. They have created a vibrant collective community allotment on part of the Tottenham Hale allotment site [see photo]. This involves many members of the community in food growing, and in spreading education about food and healthy eating. They have linked up with other community groups involved with Tottenham marshes in order to protect the marshes and its community facilities from unwanted development and to promote positive, sustainable development.

St Ann’s Hospital    User groups and campaigners have lobbied and campaigned for a number of years, with some success, to protect and improve health facilities and services based in Haringey’s only hospital site. The site has been allowed to get run down through NHS cuts and underfunding, and threats to sell off half to two-thirds of the site for housing development. A new group, Haringey Needs St Ann’s Hospital, is now calling for an Urgent Care Centre to be based there, an additional Child Development Centre, and for the mental health facilities and other public services to be improved.

Community-run community centres

Chestnuts Community Arts Centre:    This is another community-run facility under threat of repossession. The well-used Centre has been in hands of community for 24 years and the group are not prepared to let it end now. They are in process of expanding their management committee and usage, and are seeking negotiations with the Council to  renew their lease.

Lord Morrison Hall:    Community Centre in Scales Road, Tottenham since the 70’s and is now run by Afro International. The council has decided not to renew the 20 year lease that ended in February and so far seems determined to reject any application, however good, to renew it. The centre held a meeting in December to oppose the repossession attended by over 150 people, reflecting the amount of support for such community spaces. The group are taking legal advice and are planning a legal campaign against the council.

Welbourne Centre:     After a long campaign, including a 250-strong march, and a costly legal battle, the well-used community centre run by the local african-caribbean community for 20 years, was recently repossessed by the council. There were plans to occupy but the council boarded the place up before anything could happen. Welbourne prepared a business plan to keep it open but this was rejected by the council, who failed to listen to the community group.

North London Community House:  This thriving venue, where we held our founding conference, is not under threat. It’s a social centre set up and run by Turkish and Kurdish activists as a community space for social/political organising. 20 years ago the activists purchased the empty former postal sorting office and converted/refurbished it themselves.

Tottenham Chances  A former British Legion club building on the High Rd faced closure and sell off, but some members held fast and turned it into a thriving independent arts centre. They now have plans to greatly expand the activities & facilities, and interact positively with the local area.

Selby Centre   Set up in 1992 in a former school building, they are a multi-purpose community and social enterprise centre led by the community and third sector organisations – a rich mix primarily from BME, refugee and other historically excluded communities in Tottenham, Haringey, North London and beyond. The site is 150,000 square feet, with offices, meeting rooms, training facilities, sports and events halls and a large car park. They are seeking an extended lease from the Council.


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