Bad news for those following the Wards Corner battle:
Plans to demolish 42 buildings on the market site were approved by a vote of 5-4.
The plans, which were first proposed in 2004, will see 197 private flats built along with “high quality national stores”. Critically there is no provision for affordable housing on the site, leading to claims residents will be segregated from the surrounding poverty of Tottenham.
As a substitute member of the Planning Committee last night, I thought the Haringey Independent's account of the meeting and decision extremely one-sided. For example, it fails to mention the residents who spoke in favour of the application. Nor that the officers' professional recommendation was for acceptance.
This last point is important since the planning committee is a quasi judicial body. Each planning application has to be considered on its own; and then accepted or rejected by the committee solely on planning grounds. Of course councillors can and do override officers' advice - both rejecting applications where officers recommend agreement and vice versa. But this does need to be based on planning issues.
In my view, it's also significant that the planning application was supported by CABE. And, after considerable amendment of the original plans by the Mayor for London's office. These improvements included retention of the Market.
Planning applications are often contentious. There are especially passionate views about the Wards Corner site. A lot of people were angry with me - probably including several of my Labour colleagues. But I take the arguments on all sides extremely seriously and I listened to everyone who spoke before reaching my own final decision. Just as I'm not there to rubber-stamp officers' reports; nor am I there to please the loudest voices.
If you want to see for yourself, there's a webcam of the Planning Committee on the Council's website; together with plans of the application.
Last night someone said this application had galvanised local interest. I hope this is not just about Wards Corner and its market traders; but extends to a greater interest in all aspects of our public spaces and buildings.
Ward's Corner is easily the most squalid and vile bit of Tottenham. It's also the very first thing anybody sees when they get out of the tube at Seven Sisters! Don't we care about this?
The market traders are, to all intents and purposes, squatters. I live in Tottenham. There is no 'Colombian Community' there's just a group of traders who got evicted from a similarly decrepit bit of Elephant and Castle which got cleaned up. None of them live round here but they've harnessed a load of well-meaning post-colonialists of liberal tendencies to support them.
The plans have been changed to allow them a market, but they don't want that because they'd have to pay a market rent for the stalls, and VAT and NI for employees, (who'd have to be lawfully resident, for a start.)
Give us a development which is clean, legal and which provides housing and shops. I'm fed up with 'vibrant' it's nothing more than a byword for filth and neglect. Lets relocate all vibrant projects to Alexandra Palace or elsewhere in N8, N6 or N10. Maybe N4 where Isidorus lives.
Who's objecting? Let's have the postcodes of the supporters!
Cllr Stanton, perhaps you could get whoever puts up the webcast on the LBH website to make a version with sound? How odd that it is all inaudible - now there's a handy blow for democracy.
Even with sound, listeners will be hard pressed to hear a squeak from any of the four Labour Party members. NO questions to the council officers. (The chair had plenty to say, mostly headmistressy admonishments to those in the gallery to stop reacting to the lies, smears and errors about WCC that filled the chamber.) Cllr Dodds did shout one comment at the end that might be audible on the tape: "Wards Corner is a dump, was a dump and has been a dump for 30 years. Let's have a decent development there..... Lots of people here want to see Wards Corner continue to go downhill".
In a nutshell, this illustrates how the Wards Corner Community Coalition is misrepresented. Everyone on WCC is desperate for change at Wards Corner. Real change, real regeneration. Not slash and burn; value what is there and improve it. We already have a landmark building, a gateway to Tottenham. It's hidden behind those wretched hoardings. We have a sponsor ready to fund its restoration.
Monday night's meeting was just the end of the beginning. The process continues.
Sorry to rain on your swivel-eyed conspiracy theory but technical support at the council are very helpful on the sound issue. Email them. When I had the same problem they advised me to download 'Flip4Mac' and to use a different browser.
Well done to the councillors who took the decision on Monday. Ray Dodds was spat at as he left the Civic Centre. The Wards Corner Coalition are desperate. Desperate to get their own way.
With regard to the technical issues, I think the most compatible browser for viewing webcasts is Internet explorer, other browsers do not work as well. If all else fails, emailing technical support is probably a good idea as I have found them helpful and prompt in the past at answering queries.
This issue clearly raises strong feelings on both sides and we are pleased to offer a forum to allow publicity and debate on contentious issues. We would not be fufilling, I feel, a committment to local democracy if we stifled such debate but please can I remind people that we encourage courtesy in having these conversations and I would ask all partcipants to respond carefully to comments that they may disagree with and to avoid posting any remarks that may offend.
(just wearing my site admin hat)
Those who hope to be able to hear this webcast can be encouraged to learn that the council have a standard practice of copying the recordings to dvd. The sound can be boosted by public-i in 2 days of receipt of this dvd. I am awaiting news from Nigel on the DVD issue.
I enclose a copy of my email, for your information.
Tue, 18 Nov 2008 17:54:23 +0000
firstname.lastname@example.org, Wards Corner Community Coalition , email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Webcast of Planning Committee Meeting
Dear Nigel, public-i and WCC
I have just spoken to Lewis, a technician who works for public-i, the company that processes HC's webcasts, and have been told that the audio levels in the council chamber last night were very low, a reason the webcast is not on the site which would in normal circumstances have been uploaded by 10.30 this morning. Nigel Lindsay (email@example.com) has been informed that the webcast was not yet available as public-i were weighed down with a large volume of work from other London Councils. I was informed by Lewis of public-i that the webcast will be ready for HC tomorrow. Lewis suggested I call and speak to Haringey's webcast people and request that a DVD of the webcast, which will have been made as standard practice, be sent public-i from which they can then boost the sound levels.
I therefore expect the copy of the recording that will be available tomorrow to be on the website for tomorrow but in the meantime would be very grateful to Nigel Lindsay if he could confirm that a DVD be made available to public-i in order that the sound levels be boosted for future records and the general public's convenience.
You failed to say that the real bulk of people who live in the NDC area were denied a say in the matter. At a meeting votes were held against selling off council homes on the cheap, evicting people from the site and giving residents money to a developer. However their voice was not allowed to be heard. No record of their objection was ever recorded in the minutes. Why if it truly had mass support?
Even some supporters at the planning meeting had to be bussed in by Cllr Amin and a free buffet laid on. Why it is because the NDC and Haringey are pushing this scheme? The scheme has already just lost us 7 jobs. An ex Latino market trader wanted to set up a business here but with out the guarantee of Latin foot flow he set up the business in Brixton instead. This is not regeneration this is ethnic cleansing. I heard for myself one of the so called "un biased" councillors hurling abuse at an American lady in the gallery. It was a shoddy day for democracy. And I note you say nothing about the so called supporters NDC petition of names that did not exist, which you and your colleague allowed to be bought into a chamber of democracy. Let hear what you are going to do about that petition or do you not value democracy?
The area has been held back for years waiting for the Haringey scheme and this is the best they could come up with. Even the Mayor’s office had to step in to ask that the grey metal cladding was to be removed.
This is not quality build and neither is the current councils plan for the site. If you feel so strongly why don't you step down and hold a bye-election of the subject?
I read quite a lot of the planning documents put up on the planning bit of the Haringey website.
In the end I decided not to be drawn one way or the other. I don't live in the Ward's Corner area and have 'only' been living in South Totenham area for 3.5 years.
What I do feel is that the Planning system is pitched in favour of the developers and that if local people object or support their proposals, they have to work very hard to have their voice heard. Haringey has a large transient community that rely on those that live here for longer than them, to ensure the area is maintained to a high standard, as well as long-standing residents.
Is the Planning system in need of an overhaul, so that residents are involved truly in decision-making, rather than 'consulted' (which has become a euphemism for 'rubber-stamped')?
The Ward's Corner people managed to conduct the debate as if it was theirs to develop. It wasn't. They were the tenants, not the owners. We ended up having to choose between their fantasy proposals, protecting a flea market and peppercorn rents, and the Grainger proposals. In the end, we need to get it cleaned up before the opportunity is lost. A Tory or Lib Dem government won't be putting any money into Tottenham.
The planning department is pretty poor. There are some beautiful parts of Tottenham and some decent housing stock. It needs an injection of aspiration and taste. I get the feeling that council officers don't care. I'm fed up with 'vibrant.' It just means sordid and unlawful in poorer parts of London. This is why Boris was on board.