OUR TOTTENHAM CO-ORDINATION MEETING, 7th October 2021
Present: Jasmin (Friends of Marcus Garvey Library), Dave (Friends of Lordship Rec, and Haringey Solidarity Group), Shirley (Member of Wards Corner Community Coalition), Michael (Member of Hermitage and New River Residents Association, of the Stadium Slopes Protection Society, and of the London Just Space network), Sue (Member of Wards Corner Community Coalition), Martin (Friends of Down Lane Park) Apologies: Myfanwy (Member of the N15 Development Trust), Pamela (Sustainable Haringey network), Paul (Haringey Defend Council Housing), Joanna (Weir Hall Rd Community Open Space)
Note – this was the first minuted coordination meeting for a few months, with many of the regular OT activists focusing on Love Lane and Wards Corner activities..
The developer Grainger recently pulled out of the development agreement and the N15 development Trust is running a series of workshops to develop the Community Benefit Society to restore and manage the Wards building democratically – in line with the Community Plan. The trust has secured detailed financial modelling of the plan to show its viability, has secured some funding from the Mayor of London/CoopsUK Boosting Community Business Programme. The first of a series of online workshops for local residents, businesses and market and town centre users to shape the CBS has just taken place (23 attended). Flyers are available to invite people to the next 2 workshops on 13/10 and 20/10. Volunteers are being sought to help leaflet. The current Council cabinet supports these plans which include a temporary market until the market reopens in the restored building. There are differences of opinion between some of the traders who want the Council to take over the project. Everyone is encouraged to attend the workshops and join the Wards Corner Coalition of local residents and traders as well as the Community Benefit Society. Details of the workshops have already been sent out.
St Anns Redevelopment Trust (StART)
Held a successful AGM attended by over 70 members. They are focussing on setting up a Community Land Trust, may take on management of 50 of the homes, and are pressing developer to keep social housing element of the scheme. There is now a very active St Ann’s Green Open Spaces Group – they are working closely with an NHS workers group at the site to protect, enhance and improve the usage of the site’s green spaces.
The Council organised a ballot on demolition/re-build proposals, as per policy of Mayor of London. The Temporary Accommodation Group of residents called for a written guarantee from the Council that all on the estate could be rehoused in secure tenancies – this was not forthcoming, despite verbal promises, so they urged people to vote NO.* The Council pressurised estate residents (many who felt intimidated) sufficiently to get a narrow majority voting yes to demolition, 55 to 45%. Yet 30% didn’t vote and the Council has not secured an overall mandate from residents. But it is continuing to back the developer. Evidence was gathered during the ballot of harassment of residents and Haringey staff collecting ballot papers and getting people to vote on phone in front of them. Haringey Defend Council Housing activists supported the tenants during the vote and have made formal complaints, calling for an Inquiry and a re-ballot. Sian Berry, a GLA Assembly Member, has issued a press statement backing the call for an independent inquiry into the concerns raised. There was an excellent summary article in the Architects Journal. Meanwhile other tenant campaigns around London who have faced or are facing similar schemes and ballots are encouraged by the campaigning around Love Lane. So far the Council Cabinet are saying ‘nothing untoward to see here’ and hope to start in 2022 following the holding of a public Development Management Forum.
* In the paper edition of Haringey People following the ballot, to be delivered to all Haringey homes, the Council does state: ‘All current tenants and those in temporary accommodation are guaranteed a high quality Council home at Council rents with a secure tenancy on the re-built estate’. But we understand that the Temporary Accommodation Group have been calling for written enforceable contracts stating this to be issued to all the temporary tenants, with the upgrading to permanent tenancies starting straight away.
Peacock Industrial Estate
The local businesses under threat distributed a leaflet during the Love Lane ballot stating their clear ‘Not for Sale’ position. This was delivered on the estate and was a poster displayed in shop windows. Their organisation, Tottenham Business Group, plan to resist any CPOs (Compulsory Purchase Orders).
Marcus Garvey Library
At the last meeting of the Friends of Marcus Garvey Library on September 11th, we discussed how the Council has agreed that the ground floor of the library will be reconfigured; the children’s counter removed during the refurbishment would be reinstated; the light boxes would be removed to enable the available space to be more effectively utilised and the African Caribbean collection moved downstairs to become once against an integral part of the book collection and also more accessible. Professional library architects will be approached to draw up plans. With regard to the Children’s Garden which backs onto the Green Precinct, the Chair has received an email from the Marcus Garvey library manager, asking for maintenance of the Children’s Garden to be discussed at our September 11th meeting. She had also left the plans (created by the Regeneration Team) to be discussed by the Friends at the reception desk. The current situation is that the maintenance of the garden is to be carried out by the private company for a year; but the Library Service want to know if the Friends will take it on after that. There was some discussion about this, as it was pointed out that the garden was part of the public realm and people wanted to know why the residents be asked to maintain the public realm instead of the Council. Also, other members of the group felt we needed more information. It was finally agreed that the Chair would invite the Library Manager to the next meeting on November 13th to discuss and interpret the plans which everyone agreed were unclear.
There are concerns with the scale and effect of some of the piecemeal but large scale redevelopment in and around the area. Also the need to improve connectivity for local people, whilst respecting community facilities.
The tower building continues all around the area, and a new 24-storey one might be coming to the corner of Hale Road. The trucks and the working hours continue to disturb residents and pedestrians. The block on Ashley Road bought for £29.3m could have Council tenants by the end of this year. Haringey Council are buying 177 units on the Tottenham Hale Wharf site but are refusing to reveal the (expensive?) price. The Contracts Register reveals a £44.6m contract with developer Argent for Welbourne Tower (where the community centre was evicted and demolished). The Down Lane Park hub and café are concerned about private access routes affecting their site. Chesnuts Estate has had its adjacent narrow green space along its southern side built on. Also there’s a threat to build on an open area behind the police station in Ryecroft Way, which has provoked a local campaign. Down Lane Park, faced with thousands of new residents coming into the area, should clearly be being greatly expanded.
Tottenham High Road
The Council has recent grant funding for much needed improvements in the Bruce Grove area. Many thought this was for rescuing the abandoned train station forecourt, but it turns out this cant be funded as its Transport for London land. Artistic installations are being promoted. There is a Pride In Bruce Grove drop-in event to get info and to discuss ideas and proposals with the project team in the alleyway by Scotland Green, N17 9TA (just outside the Bruce Grove area) on Wed 13th Oct.
The Council are buying up properties in this industrial area full of local businesses alongside the Seven Sisters Road, aiming to advance a mixed development scheme. There are claims about creative industries and the Council are doing propaganda tours of the area to capture history. The reality seems to be they are trying to force certain businesses out. The major stumbling block is that most properties are outside Council ownership and the Wickes site is unlikely to be part of the plan as it recently had a major revamp.
Climate Emergency – There has been a flurry of local activities, events, lobbying and campaigning in the build up to the global Climate Conference in Glasgow at the end of October. This could be a last chance to reverse the catastrophic damage the world’s industrial systems are causing to our climate and to nature. This has included a Go Green week, a mass bikeride of 150 people of all ages, a 200-strong march along the North Circular to oppose the plans for the Edmonton Incinerator, a planned Friends of The Earth lobby of the Council on 12th October, the launch of an Enfield/Haringey COP26 Coalition the same evening, an international-themed event in Finsbury Park on 31st Oct, and a mass rally for the Climate outside the Civic Centre at 11am on Nov 6th (which will then go to join a huge planned march in Central London).
Our Tottenham website
We agreed to make a £150 contribution to the costs of managing our website over the last few years. This will be from the OT money (£450) being held in the Haringey Federation of Residents Associations account for us. And a big thank you to our webperson.
Next meeting – In approximately a month’s time.