Resubmission of the Wards Corner Community Plan

Dr Myfanwy Taylor

Traders and campaigners at Seven Sisters Market/Wards Corner in Tottenham (London) have taken a major step forward towards community-led development and self-management with the validation of their re-submitted  community plan. Seven Sisters Market (also known as Latin Village and Pueblito Paisa) is home to one of London’s two main clusters of Latin American businesses, surrounded by several shops serving low-income and diverse ethnic groups on the wider site of Wards Corner. The threat of demolition and redevelopment for build-to-rent homes (zero affordable) has galvanised traders, residents and their supporters to develop their own alternative proposals, based on retaining and enhancing the existing strengths of the market and restoring and bringing back into full use the neglected buildings in which it is housed.

The community plan dates back to 2007, evolving through several iterations in response to extensive community engagement and support from a long list of professional advisors. In 2014, Wards Corner Community Coalition (WCC) and the West Green Road/Seven Sisters Development Trust (the Trust) finally gained planning permission, marking a new phase of developing the Trust to deliver the community plan. Unfortunately, due to the demands of the wider campaign and the multiple and intensifying threats the market faced, it was not possible to begin work before planning permission lapsed in 2017 after the standard three-year period. In 2018, after a successful crowdfunding campaign supported by a small grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund, the Trust and Save Latin Village and Wards Corner CIC began work to resubmit the community plan as well as further develop the business plan, capital funding strategy and governance arrangements.

Our recent Markets4People article in STIR magazine, Building community markets, shows how trader and community campaigns and initiatives such as Seven Sisters/Wards Corner offer insights into an emerging alternative approach to the improvement and redevelopment of traditional retail markets. In this case, campaigners have produced new narratives and evidence of the market’s importance to young people, children and Latin American communities in London, have demonstrated the potential to build a wide-ranging community around a treasured market and are at the forefront of new thinking about how markets can contribute to new municipalist and community wealth building agendas.

My current role as postdoctoral research fellow on the Markets4People project has afforded me an opportunity to support the architects Unit 38, the Trust and Save Latin Village in their work to resubmit the community plan over the last few months. My previous research and involvement in the campaign – as a WCC member, a volunteer with the Trust and a PhD researcher – has made this a particular pleasure and privilege.  I look forward to continuing to work with the Trust to deliver the plan on a personal basis, as well as continuing to learn from their endeavours in the context of the Markets4People research project.

To find out more, support the plan or get involved: wardscornerplan.org

Further resources

Taylor, M. 2017. Contested urban economies: representing and mobilising London’s diverse economy. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), University College London. Available at http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/10040423/

Taylor, M. 2017. Expert statement in support of Seven Sisters Market Traders. Evidence to the public inquiry into the Wards Corner Compulsory Purchase Order. Available at: http://bailey.persona-pi.com/Public-Inquiries/seven-sisters/proofs/objectors/market-traders/poe-myfanwy-taylor.pdf.

Taylor, M. 2019. The Haringey Council Housing & Regeneration Scrutiny Panel’s scrutiny review of matters relating to Seven Sisters Market and Wards Corner. Written evidence from Dr Myfanwy Taylor, 4 June 2019. Available here, plus appendices.

Taylor, M. on behalf of Wards Corner Community Coalition. 2019. Community nomination form: Assets of Community Value. Available here.