Local traders condemn ‘sham’ Tottenham High Road consultation

December 7, 2013

On Thursday 28th November a delegation of traders from North Tottenham High Road West addressed the Council’s cabinet meeting. They presented their 4,000-strong petition in which local people rejected the demolition of the area. The traders condemned the consultation over the future of the area as a ‘sham’ and said they had been lied to by the Council. They also condemned the report of the consultation that had excluded or sidelined most of the objections. They called on the Council to ‘freeze this planning process and sit down to design a new Scenario, one that includes this Business Community and allows it to move forward and grow within the regeneration process, not be excluded from it.’  Their powerful presentation is included below in full…

It should be noted that many Councillors are at last beginning to criticise the Council’s plans. At the meeting, Cllr Meehan called on the Council to condemn Tottenham Hotspur FC for buying up shops and businesses under threat, describing this as ‘making a killing’ and a ‘fire sale’. Cllr Stanton said the process of demolition and redevelopment was recognised throughout London as ‘social cleansing’. Cllr Winskill, the Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee which met on the previous Tuesday, said then that ‘we are talking about a massive socio-economic transformation of the area’ and asked ‘who is the redevelopment of Tottenham for?’. At that same meeting Cllr Bull, the former head of the Scrutiny Cttee, said ‘I still have a niggling concern that we rolled over far too quickly on the section 106 on Spurs’ [in which the Council allowed THFC to abandon its agreed obligations to build affordable housing and to put £16m into the local community]. ‘It just seems like everything is Spurs, Spurs, Spurs, Spurs, Spurs at the expense of everything else.’

The traders’ presentation

This business community has been part of the fabric of Tottenham in most cases for over 20 years and in some cases for more than fifty. Are we to be thrown out to make way for a Football fans’ Walkway?

This petition with over 4000 signatures shows overwhelmingly that local people are against this.

These figures should have been added into the recent High Road West Consultation, here today for approval. The result would have been a resounding NO to your present plans. However this was not allowed to happen. When we presented it to Alan Strickland in June he neglected to tell us the petition had to be formally presented and so the figures were never included.

There has been no engagement with local business about the development of this Regeneration plan. We have been lied to and lied to by our own elected representatives.
The key decisions for this master plan were made long before the consultation. Key factors were decided at the beginning of 2012. That’s when our small businesses were sacrificed in order that one very big business could become even richer.

The demolition of our shops and businesses became a non-negotiable in every master plan scenario. Where is the Democracy in that? That is why we began this petition…to give the community a chance to show how they felt about it. An option to comment, which was not given to them in the consultation forms.

Have we have come through recession and through riots to have our businesses blighted like this? Are successful businesses that we have worked and developed over many years to be snatched away and given to developers for their profit?

The consultation is a sham. It is not an independent study. Figures are inaccurate and manipulated to achieve the preferred Scenario.

The plans were misleading: marking new buildings for community use when they will in fact be retail outlets which incorporated community facilities.

The 68%, which has been widely quoted as a figure that shows overwhelming support for the demolition plans, is not justified. As a percentage of the total households on the estate it is just 40%. In the wider community of 4000 homes and businesses it is just 3% in agreement. That’s using the figures quoted in the report and of course 70 of the business replies were never included in the figures but were placed in the appendix to the consultation report.

Regeneration is not about providing a football venue or boosting land values to justify an investment. The council should not be acting like a Corporation.

Regeneration needs to create hope for the existing community by building a better neighbourhood.

Regeneration is not about moving the existing community OUT so more “up-market” people can move in.

In 2011, after the riots, the council ran an “I Love Tottenham campaign”. Its tag line was “Support your Local Traders”. It needs to stand by that promise today.

  • Recognise the value of the established community and its contribution over many years.
  • Recognise and accept the wishes of this community as presented now in this Petition.
  • Freeze this planning process and sit down to design a new Scenario, one that includes this Business Community and allows it to move forward and grow within the regeneration process, not be excluded from it.

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