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Wards Corner

Tottenham, London

The Wards Corner Community Plan proposes the community-led and community-owned refurbishment of Seven Sisters Indoor Market and the historic Wards Buildings to create a new cultural and social hub for everyone who lives in, works in, or visits Tottenham. The indoor market - popularly known as Latin Village or El Pueblito Paisa - has long been an important and celebrated space, both for residents of Seven Sisters and London’s international communities, especially those with Latin American roots. The roots of the Community Plan and the CBS are in the 20-year struggle against the demolition of Wards Corner to build unaffordable luxury flats and chain stores. The success of this grassroots campaign — led by market traders, local residents and local businesses — has received international attention, including from the United Nations, and was recently recognised by the prestigious Sheila McKechnie awards, winning ‘Best Community Campaign’ in 2022.

In August 2021, the campaign won a major victory when the developer, Grainger PLC, finally withdrew their proposals to demolish Wards Corner. Shortly afterwards, Haringey Council and landowners Transport for London publicly stated their commitment to a new, community-led future for the Wards Buildings. We have been working with the campaign, market traders and local residents to outline a Public-Common Partnership approach for the site where a new commoning association - the Wards Corner CBS - could establish a partnership with building owners - Transport for London - and the local authority - Haringey Council - to secure the public asset for community use, to be operated for the benefit of the community.

The commoning association, the Wards Corner Community Benefit Society (CBS), was formed in June 2022 by a coalition of market traders, local residents, local businesses and community organisations involved in the struggle to save the market from demolition. Membership is open to anyone who supports the CBS, with measures in place to ensure strong representation of local residents and workers and London’s Latin American communities. A core governing principle of the organisations is that any surplus generated from running the expanded building will be reinvested by the CBS to support and develop local organisations and initiatives, creating a ‘virtuous circle of commoning and democratic ownership’ that responds directly to local need. By setting rents at genuinely affordable levels and bringing vacant space back into use, the CBS will therefore help local organisations provide valuable community resources. This could include supporting local youth projects or ‘rights and advice’ services, to offering low-cost or free bookable meeting rooms and flexible spaces available to local residents.  In this way, the Plan will place a powerful economic resource under the democratic control of local people, kick-starting new cycles of investment and community benefit.