Significance to Latin American Community

 

Seven Sisters Market has been listed as an Asset of Community Value by Haringey Council since 2014. The 42+ businesses currently operating within the market provide around 120 jobs and are home to a diverse BME community, though the majority of these businesses are run by or cater to the Latin American community, predominantly Colombia.

The significance of the market as a cultural and social hub for this migrant community is widely recognised and celebrated: customers travel throughout London, and even further afield, to visit it. The many roles performed by the businesses suggest the space is more than a market: it is a vital support centre for the local community in Tottenham, as well as the migrant community throughout London.

Beyond providing unique products and services, the businesses form part of a crucial support network and intangible infrastructure for the migrant community - a hub for social-cultural life in which identity is represented and constructed. Supermarkets, hairdressers, restaurants also serve as resources for accommodation, employment, immigration advice, business support, education and language learning. 

The long campaign to save Seven Sisters Market and Wards Corner has generated a growing body of evidence demonstrating its important economic, social and cultural value.

 
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement _ _When I visit the market, I feel like home, because I feel comfortable in this environment__.png
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement _ _When I visit the market, I feel like home, because it reminds my of my country of origin__.png

History of the Struggle

The struggle to save Seven Sisters Indoor Market from demolition has been a long battle. It began over 15 years ago when the Wards Corner site was targeted for redevelopment. The Council partnered with property developer Grainger PLC to construct luxury flats and more retail space. The Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO), approved in 2019, threatens the existence of both the current market and building, in addition to the threat of forced eviction for neighbouring local businesses and residents. Following extensive community engagement and significant volunteer efforts, the third version of the Community Plan was granted planning permission in April 2014. It reflected and built upon the style of the current market which has evolved over the years to suit the multi-generational, multi-cultural and multi-purpose nature of the space.

Despite set-backs over the years, we have not stopped fighting. The new Community Plan for Wards Corner is more important than ever! This is clear following the persistent and continuing threats of displacement the local community faces. Our struggle has taken many forms: from salsa to human chains, event fundraisers, crowdfunding campaigns, marches, demonstrations and legal battles. Its longevity and strength is a result of the ongoing, relentless and dedicated efforts of traders, residents, volunteers and activists who have led and supported the campaign over the years. The struggle continues.

 
 
 
 
 

Previous Community Plans

The current Community Plan represents the fourth iteration of a community-led design process that began in 2007. While certain aspects of the scheme have evolved in the twelve years since the very first iteration was conceived, the core philosophy to protect and celebrate the existing market has remained in tact.   

First Plan (2007): 

The very first plan sought to upgrade the ground floor market, renovate the front facade of the corner site and terraced building and provide additional office, retail and cafe space.  On the second floor, the scheme proposes 8 one bed flats. In addition to the alterations to the corner site and market building, the scheme details potential affordable housing accommodation in the surrounding block, estimated at approximately 200 units.  

Ref. HGY/2008/0177

Second Scheme (2011):

This iteration follows the ethos of the first scheme quite closely. The scheme centres on the refurbishment and renovation of the exteriors of the corner site and terraced building, improvements to the internal layout of the market and proposals for the expansion of retail, office and cafe/restaurant floorspace.   

Ref. HGY/2011/1275

Third Plan (2014):

This third scheme, submitted after a long and comprehensive period of consultation, significantly evolves the second and first iterations: it retains and enhances historic elements of the building; maximises the vacant space on the corner site and first floor to provide additional retail and office space; and reconfigures the ground floor market layout to echo the historic plan of the department store, including the reinstating of a grand central staircase to the first floor and original lightwells. An exterior canopy is proposed to emphasise the market’s presence on the High Road.

Ref. HGY/2014/0575

Archive Photos

*Courtesy Bruce Castle Museum (Haringey Archive & Museum Service)

 
 
 
 
 

Site History

Wards Corner is located at the foot of Tottenham High Road in the London Borough of Haringey. Historically a main route in and out of London, the High Road was a key commercial axis and gave the Seven Sisters Junction a strong identity as a hub for business and trade. 

The locally listed, Edwardian corner site and remodelled residential terraces opened as Wards Department Store in 1901. The shop was highly renowned as one of the grand stores of its day and forms a strong part of Tottenham’s history and identity. It served the local community at Seven Sisters until it closed in 1972 - not long after the opening of the Victoria line created a fast and efficient connection into the center of London. 

 
 

Transport for London acquired the site via a Compulsory Purchase Order in 1973. Since 1985, they have been leasing out the ground floor to a number of independent operators who have developed it as an indoor market, initially serving the local African and Carribean community but now increasingly caters to a growing number of Latin American traders and customers.