We welcome Dave Hill’s article on the Latin Village for On London, as we and many others consider the Latin Village to be a crucial part of the capital. However, we were disappointed that for an article about our market and our cultural centre, none of us were approached by Mr Hill for perspective or even asked basic questions. This is unusual, since other journalists writing about us, whether for VICE or the Guardian, have always sought us out.
While we are always pleased to receive press coverage, this is the first time we have had to publish a statement to address the common myths and hopefully prevent them being recycled:
MYTH 1: We have a future market what’s all the fuss about?
Mr Hill writes that, “[T]he Seven Sisters regeneration programme includes providing the indoor market traders with a new home on the same site it occupies now.”
The Facts: We are experiencing a future preview of what to expect from the future market owners Grainger & Quarterbridge. Traders have been unfairly evicted by Quarterbridge. A race discrimination claim has been filed against Quarterbridge. Complaints of victimisation and harassment have been made. And gross negligence that has led to the fire brigade being called in June 2018 because of a failure to maintain essential electrical parts. Quarterbridge Market Facilitator has used language within our 100% BME community such as “bloody illegal immigrants, not meaning to be Irish” and described trader Victoria Alvarez as “a fucking bitch.”
Also, the new market will not be the same size. In fact it will be reduced by over 50% as the majority of trader currently have mezzanine floors (see images below), unlike the proposed development. And the Latin Village’s wide corridors and communal spaces will be reduced in order to make way for efficiency layouts.
MYTH 2: The future market will be shiny-brand new and even better than the one we have now.
Mr Hill writes: “The Seven Sisters regeneration… makes provision for the Latin Village to not only survive but, at leats in theory, to prosper…”
The Facts: Our Latin Village is a cultural centre that allows Latin American children and the community to enjoy their culture. BME children also use the village as place for childcare, and a de facto village green to play. It is not just a place to trade, its a cultural centre. The future market is just for corporate interests focused on trade, not cultural interests (see para 55-60). Our Latin Village has survived in the face of adversity, a hostile trading environment and deliberate neglect; and we have an viable, alternative, funded, community plan, and lets face it “regeneration isn’t just about shiny new buildings.”
MYTH 3: Rents will be reduced for a time period we are getting a great deal.
Among the benefits that apparently await those of us to be resettled, Mr Hill includes: “three months rent-free in the temporary market space, relocation costs being met and a selection of limits and discounts to keep rent and licence fee costs down until the new market has been functioning for 30 months.”
The Facts: The revised section 106 agreement has diverted the Mayors traders compensation fund to the developers, which will probably help finance any temporary arrangement. But temporary arrangements will not secure the future of the market whereby rents & costs are forecasted to rise by 300%. Also we have a community plan to restore the building that has secured funding from a donor and planning permission in 2014. It will be run with by a nonprofit organisation, and goes beyond the temporary to secure the future of the Latin Village. Unlike the Grainger plan, the community plan has not received any financial support from Haringey Council
MYTH 4: There is no turning back its a done deal.
Mr Hill writes: “…The odds appear to favour Haringey and Grainger getting their way. And so the days of the Latin Village in its present form still look numbered.”
The Facts: Haringey Council has the last say when the Compulsory Purchase Order decision is released by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. In other words they can say no. Considering all the above may provide the get of clause for any former arrangements. Also, Haringey Council have already practically given away to Grainger Apex House, council housing on Suffield Road and part of the funding of the New Deal for Communities Bridge New Deal for Communities project, for the £50million regeneration of the Seven Sisters area of Tottenham. All for zero affordable housing on public sector TfL land at Wards Corner where the Latin Village is situated. This is another case of minorities being moved from their homes to make way for richer people to live there instead. The displacement of people from their property and land. In a sense the authorities need to be aware that the fact that the UN has intervened on our behalf evidences that there is serious issue here that has wider implications.
We are looking forward to our event at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre on the 29th October. And we would like to extend a special invitation to Dave Hill. If he comes along, we will be only too glad to talk him through the realities of what has been happening in the market. After all, we have been there for many years.