Coordination meeting 6th August 2020

Present: Dave Morris (Friends of Lordship Rec / Haringey Friends of Parks Forum / Haringey Community Centres Network) – facilitated, David King (St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust) – took notes, Martin Ball (Friends of Down Lane Park), Paul Burham (Haringey Defend Council Housing), Sue Levenson (Difficult Parent), Pamela Harling (Sustainable Haringey/Wolves Lane), Zeekos, Jasmin Taylor (Friends of Marcus Garvey Library), Moaz Nanjuwany (Hammonds Eye Practice / Tottenham Traders Partnership), Shirley Hanazawa (Wards Corner Community Coalition)      

Apologies: Emma (Tottenham Black Lives Matter), Mark Panton (Researcher)

Background: This was the first coordination meeting for around 6 months, so the aim was to focus on updates.

Local groups and campaigns reports 

David (StART): StART have been campaigning for many years for community control of the section of the huge St Ann’s Hospital development site which was being sold off – and for community-led policies on what goes on there. Eventually the GLA bought the site, and then put out a tender to find a developer last year. The GLA say they will announce the successful developer in September. The tender included a lot of what StART wanted but not all by any means. StART has its AGM coming up in September, there will be a consultation to help decide whether it will become an organisation that could manage the 50 ‘community led’ homes or focus on the site as a whole, or try to combine both aims. Don’t know yet what impact Covid will have on the viability of the development, but worries that it will mean less affordable homes.

Jasmin (MG Library): The group represents library users who have been campaigning to protect library facilities and services, including restoration of the children’s garden. The former manager has left – now have a new manager who is very experienced. Library had been shut down since the beginning of epidemic because the leisure centre (Fusion) was closed, leisure centre is still closed. Matt White is the councillor responsible. Fusion in financial trouble. Staff worried about their jobs.

Dave M (Parks): Lobbying council for more resources for parks. Earlier this year completed a 2,500-strong petition up which triggered a debate at full Council meeting – finally scheduled for July. Had a deputation of reps to the council – all Cllrs agreed with the deputation and aspirations but Council says it doesn’t have the money and is awaiting Government reimbursement for its extra work due to covid 19. 

Dave M (HCCN): After years of opposing Council policies to put up rents to market levels and only grant short leases, the HCCN has finally held constructive meetings with Council reps. The current Council is more supportive and has recognised the real value of this part of the community sector. But community centres now in financial crisis because of loss of takings during forced Covid-19 closure. LBH agreed to suspend rent payments. Irish Centre facing financial ruin and has closed despite a Save Our Centre petition. They’ve taken legal advice. Might the Irish Centre organisation move in with Selby Centre when its redeveloped (as part of the new Selby Village)? 

Dave says thanks to everyone who supported the fundraising crowdfunder appeals of Living Under One Sun (running cafe in Down Lane Park) and Lordship Hub – both raised over £30,000 to help towards their survival.

Moaz (TTP): Shops and restaurants reopening. Some businesses got grants, hardship grant closed today. Businesses with complex accounts didn’t get the grants.

Martin B (FODLP):  LUOS cafe/food growing project is now back open. Park now has three tennis courts but some nets in bad condition, and 5-a-side in bad condition. Some section 106 money from new development around the park but haven’t seen any of it yet… New build is encroaching on the edges of the park, extra pollution, traffic etc. Park is not under threat. Tottenham Hale lots of development both sides of Ashley Road. Historic White Hart Pub there has been demolished, despite campaign.

Sue Levenson (Difficult Parent): Blogs about children with special needs. Been in Lockdown since March. Support services have been ripped apart eg Hazelmere Centre has gone. LBH want to make £1m cuts from budget of £4m. No specific campaigning group but the Parent Carer Forum is no longer functioning due to lack of support from Council. Keep being told special changing facilities will be funded in 3 parks, but has been delayed. No consultation. 

Paul Burnham (HDCH): HDCH have been campaigning to support Council tenants for over 15 yrs, and have organised a number of lobbies and protests in the last 12 months. Context is the Government is opposed to Council housing, and now trying to get rid of planning controls, despite them already favouring developers. He reported campaigns against shocking ‘poor doors’ (separating luxury and social homes) in proposed developments in Wood Green, maybe more to come. A number of estate demolition threats, eg Raynard and Stokley estates, both have campaigns – the one in Muswell hill successful. 

A revised Haringey Local Plan will start being developed this autumn. LBH rent policy generally good but have begun to wobble, three developments now using GLA definition of social rent which is £60pw more expensive. The covid-19 evictions ban is being lifted on the 23rd August, meaning that landlords will be threatening mass evictions for people who haven’t been able to pay their rent. There will be protest action in London somewhere on that day demanding suspension of evictions.

Pamela H (Wolves Lane): Lots of activity at the community-run Wolves Lane food growing centre, plant sales and seed swaps. Has received more grants from National Lottery and thriving. Growing-In-Haringey network ticking over.

Shirley H (Wards Corner):  Market has been closed since March, causing problems for traders. Worries about the electric supply. Proposal for an open air market at the site, though shops in the parade are already open. The residents/traders’ own Community Plan is on hold after years of patient work and calls for Council support. Held a 100-strong protest recently, a combination of local traders and traders from Ridley Road Market. Apex House tower and shop fronts over the road nearing completion.

Planning policies / system       Discussion about whether council supports the community or has their own agenda? In any case, people in Tottenham need to organise, speak out and and represent ourselves. Fuller discussion at the next meeting and agreement on actions going forward. 

If the Haringey Local Plan is being revised we’ll have to engage with the process – but its a bit of a nightmare process for community groups to have any real influence. There’s a new London Plan awaiting implementation – however, ‘Just Space’, the community groups’ network to which we are affiliated is unhappy with the result (too pro-developer) and is calling for legal challenge on equalities grounds. The Government is unhappy with it too (not pro-developer enough) and in any case is threatening an overhaul of the whole planning system to remove what they call ‘red tape’ but which in fact means processes enabling community objections and input. Indications are that reforms will be even more pro-developer and more ‘deregulation’. 

Black Lives Matter movement     We noted the inspiring and widespread rise of this movement to challenge and end racism. Lots of local protests and mobilisations. 2000 joined local kids walk against racism. Council is calling for views on renaming streets and buildings etc which may celebrate people linked to slavery and other extreme oppression. 

There is a planned demo this Saturday at Tottenham Police Stn 1pm on the 9th anniversary of the police killing of Mark Duggan which had sparked Tottenham and nationwide protests and riots in 2011. We noted that as a result of those mobilisations a report was commissioned by the GLA on the supposed initial ‘causes’ in Tottenham which concluded there should be mass gentrification and the break-up of council housing in the area – this led to the Council’s obnoxious ‘Plan for Tottenham’, and the launch of the Our Tottenham network to fight for our communities’ interests.

Covid / Mutual Aid Groups movement     We also noted the rise of dozens of independent local Mutual Aid Groups set up by residents throughout Tottenham (and across the UK) to support each other and especially vulnerable people during the public health crisis. Hopes that many of these become ongoing community solidarity networks.

Next steps       We need to support current local groups and campaigns, develop solidarity and continue to build the Our Tottenham network.

Any Other Business      High Road West     It was reported that Tottenham Hotspur property arm was still buying up land to cash in on property development near the stadium. We noted the continuing excellent work by the Temporary Accommodation Group on the Love Lane estate, and Tottenham Businesses Group on the Peacock Estate to oppose the threat of demolitions in High Road West and to fight for their rights. 

Next Our Tottenham coordination meeting:   Thursday 3rd September, 7.30pm by zoom. Dave to set it up again.

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