Conference Report: Tottenham Residents Back Community Empowerment


At the end of a successful Tottenham Community Empowerment Week involving a wide range of events and activities, the Our Tottenham network organised a ‘Moving Forward Together’ Conference on Saturday 11th October 2014 at the North London Community House. It was attended by 75 members and reps of 37 local community groups and organisations, residents associations, community centres, traders groups, education institutions, individual local residents and a range of interested planning students.

The conference built on the successful work of the Our Tottenham network over the last 18 months, and adopted some key additional commitments regarding – housing, youth, the local economy, environmental sustainability, community centres and public services. We agreed to implement a year-long ‘Road Map’ towards the development of a Community Plan for Tottenham.

Download the Conference Report:

The Conference was introduced by Philip Udeh from the Friends of Lord Morrison Hall. There followed some keynote speeches from inspiring community campaigns and projects around Tottenham:
– North London Community House talking about their self-managed Social Centre;
– Tottenham Business Group opposing the threat of eviction and demolition of 120 businesses in North Tottenham;
– Friends of Lordship Rec and the successful community-led restoration of Lordship Recreation Ground;
– Wards Corner Community Coalition and their achievement of planning permission to save and renew the historic buildings and the indoor Latin American / Caribbean market at Wards Corner;
– Haringey Defend Council Housing campaign to defend council housing estates from demolition and ‘redevelopment’;
– Living Under One Sun promoting community development and empowerment, job creation and healthy living, including protection of Tottenham marshes from inappropriate development;
– Warehouses of Harringay Association of Tenants who are resisting threats of redevelopment of their live/work units and starting to create their own long-term plans for their sites;
– Haringey Needs St Ann’s Hospital campaign opposing the sell-off of two-thirds of Haringey’s only hospital site, and calling for expanded facilities including an Urgent Care Centre there;
– University and College Union at CONEL college and their long battle to defend jobs, wages and education services as part of a wider campaign to defend all public services under threat.
The first Breakout Session enabled participants to tackle many key issues facing local residents including: Decent homes for all; An economy that serves local people; Youth and the future; Environmental sustainability; Community-run Community Centres; The public services we need. Each of the workshops came up with proposals for the final session.

The second Breakout Session saw participants all discussing the same two questions: How can we help people create local Community Plans at sites all around Tottenham? And how will we, together, create a Community Plan for Tottenham as a whole?

The final ‘Plenary’ Session discussed and debated the recommendations from the various workshops. The following additions / amendments were made to the Community Charter for Tottenham [originally adopted by the network in April 2013]:

• Explore all models for genuinely-affordable housing. Campaign for minimum of 50% genuinely-affordable housing in every development.

SUPPORT THE LOCAL ECONOMY: Starting with the strengths and needs of Tottenham’s residents, small businesses, social enterprises, cooperatives and community assets, putting sustainability, equality, local needs and community service at the heart of the local economy. Action points:
• Support local businesses at risk of displacement through development schemes.
• Support good pay, conditions and rights for local workers.
• Campaign for sustainable, quality jobs and training for local people through any new development, with training delivered by local organisations.
• Develop our knowledge of the local economy and build relationships between residents and traders.
• Promote and celebrate the strengths and assets of the existing Tottenham economy.

• Support the development of Generation Tottenham as a network and platform;
• Promote positive stories of Tottenham;
• Use appropriate, better engagement methods;
• Support meaningful surveys of what local young people think;

WORK TOWARDS LONG-TERM ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: to promote and encourage low/zero carbon energy, reduced consumption and waste, sustainable travel, biodiversity and natural habitats, and local production of food and other necessary goods and services. Our lives, our communities and our society should be sustainable for generations to come.
Action points: We will promote and encourage:
• sustainable energy policies in all areas of society – eg reduced general usage, and maximum use of renewable, non-fossil fuels and self-generated sources. Any new developments should install and generate sustainable energy sources;
• Any new development should aim to achieve high environmental standards; Retro-fitting and refurbishment of buildings should be the default position, with demolition the last resort;
• reduced consumption & waste, and maximum re-usage & recycling
• sustainable travel – including more walking & cycling, better public transport & less motorised traffic
• local production of food and other necessary goods and services, and appropriate allocation and sharing of limited resources
• protection and improvements to green spaces and natural habitats

DEFEND AND EXPAND THE PROVISION OF GOOD, FREELY-ACCESSIBLE TO ALL, PUBLIC SERVICES: They should be responsive to the everyday needs of our communities eg Health, Education, Welfare, Social Services and Social Care, Public Transport etc . Action points:
• free healthcare to be preserved and extended, and accessible to all
• improved and expanded healthcare to be an integral part of any new Plans

• Community-run Community Centres to help each other and to share mobilising and campaigning skills
• analyse successes and what works
• connect, link up and learn from other similar organisations and campaigns in other parts of London;

The conference also agreed to
– open communications with the Greater London Authority officers and Members
– Call for s106 ‘planning gain’ and Community Infrastructure Levy funds to support the Community Charter and aims of the network.
– Seek out potential developer / contractor partners (eg ‘green’ contractors) as potential partners for future Community Plans

Members and reps from the following groups attended the conference:
Rockstone Foundation, Pyramid Health And Social Care Association, Vartry Communities Association, Woodlands Park Residents Association, Haringey Federation of Residents Associations, BEM Business Federation, The Ubele Initiative, Friends of Lordship Rec, Wards Corner Community Coalition, Haringey Migrant Support Centre / Migrants Network, Haringey Solidarity Group, Chick King, Dawling Travel, Haringey Housing Action Group, Clyde Area Residents Association, Tottenham Civic Society, Friends of Tottenham Green, Friends of Lord Morrison Hall, Warehouses of Harringay Association of Tenants, Hammonds Eye Practice, Tottenham Traders Partnership, Carnaval Del Pueblo Association, Pueblito Paisa, IDMC, Haringey Needs St Ann’s Hospital, Tynemouth Area Residents Association, Living Under One Sun, Sustainable Haringey, Haringey Needs St Ann’s Hospital, Bruce Grove Residents Network, Tottenham & Wood Green Friends of the Earth, Haringey Green Party, MLB Learning Solutions, Socialist Workers Party, Haringey Trades Union Council, Haringey Justice for Palestinians, University and College Union at CONEL, University College London, London School of Economics, Plymouth University, Goldsmiths College

All organisations are encouraged to join the growing number of local groups who support the Our Tottenham network. Please check out the Community Charter, and let us know you broadly agree with it!

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