Notes from first week of Wards Corner CPO

from your raving correspondent, following yesterday’s post

Day three of the CPO Inquiry at the Civic Centre. First David Lewis, commissioned by Grainger, ‘heritage expert’ who didn’t think the Wards store is anything more than an ordinary old shop so not worth saving. Then Stephen Walker, of CBRE who has being doing the negotiations on behalf of Grainger to buy up all the property and evict tenants. Then Robert Fourt on questions of viability of the two rival schemes for Wards Corner. It’s hard to find problems for Grainger with their £2.8billion of assets, but he had a go at our Community Plan. He missed so many points and got so much wrong that it was a pleasure to correct him, plus we have never revealed much about our sources of funding as it’s not necessary.

Speaking of which – one of our major backers confirmed today that he has cash waiting for us to re-open our conversations with TFL re beginning our restoration scheme. And he’s speaking to his finance people about making a big investment in our plan. A great boost when we are all rather exhausted by all this.

We’ve found that all these meetings are being livestreamed on the Haringey portal, and you can watch webcasts of it for several months ongoing.  They are not exactly riveting viewing as it’s one static camera in the corner of the council chamber, but the sound is good and clear so it is riveting listening.  https://haringey.public-i.tv/core/portal/home, 

So you can watch the tennis with one half of your brain and listen to our discussions with the other half.

On Friday the inquiry heard the report by Dr Patria Roman-Valazquez on the way the community at Latin Elephant, and the 7sisters market. work as economic wholes. How it’s not just the direct jobs in the market itself but the wider economy, customers and wholesalers and distributors. Often not recognised in mainstream economic models, but together with many other BAME groups, flourishing quietly for years.

She was challenged by the Grainger QC in ways that seemed to be deliberately misleading. But she held up her argument well.

In the afternoon we did a site visit to the boarded-up store – the inspector needed to see this as part of his research. It’s good to see the old girl again, still in a good state of repair though there are some damaged floorboards from neglectful TFL not fixing the roof. I hope we have persuaded the TFL reps who were present to get moving on cleaning off the graffiti, instead of ignoring all the correspondence we have been sending.

As the first week ends, we have heard that all the properties being forced to sell by the CPO, have reached agreements with Grainger. Some not completely signed off, but unlikely to not go ahead now. It becomes impossible to resist the pressure as refusing to negotiate means getting a punitive arrangement if the overall CPO goes through. Our case remains on Human Rights grounds, and we have enough of those still to stop the CPO, plus the value of the intact Victorian/Edwardian buildings to the people of Tottenham. Watch this space.

Back Tuesday for Week Two, which will mostly be us putting our case – for the Community Plan, and hearing from many of the traders about why they need the market to stay where it is.  You can follow this live at https://haringey.public-i.tv/core/portal/home, or come and join us at the Wood Green Civic Centre, Tuesday to Friday this week.

All the documents for the Inquiry, and some notes on the process can be seen at a special website http://seven-sisters.persona-pi.com/   Thousands of pages, none of this is good for trees.

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