There was standing room only as campaigners met to come up with an alternative to "profit-driven" regeneration plans for their community.
Around 100 people packed Tottenham Chances in Tottenham High Road yesterday for the ‘One Tottenham’ conference.
The day-long event, organised by residents and traders, was held to enable the community to draw up an alternative to the “large-scale, profit-driven development” championed by Haringey Borough Council.
They want to create a regeneration plan that includes community facilities, housing, support for small businesses and develop community plans from a street to neighbourhood level.
Under banners proclaiming ‘Homes for People not Profit’ and ‘Street markets not Property Markets’ members of groups from inside and outside Haringey, from Kings Cross and Carpenters Estate to Wards Corner and Lordship Rec shared their ideas.
Sara Hall, who is part of the campaign to prevent the independent shops of Wards Corner being replaced by supermarkets, described how traders and residents worked to draw up their own plans.
Dave Morris, who has fought to save the Bull Lane Playing Field for 30 years, described the long battle to prevent the council building on the land.
He said: “This is our Tottenham, it is clear groups want to work together to make our community one of the greatest parts of London. We don’t want to be deprived, we want to be the best. It is important to show the council local people care about where we live.”
Sona Mahtani of the Selby Centre, which offers offices, meeting rooms, training facilities and spaces for community groups, described the battle to save the centre after the council threatened to cut its grant.
After the speeches, the audience broke up into small groups to discuss their own ideas for what could be done around Tottenham and the principles, tactics and strategies they needed to turn visions into plans.
The groups then came together to discuss how they could move forward and create a working group to take forward the aims and issues of the conference.
Chairman of the Tottenham Traders Partnership, Moaz Nanjuwan, said it was very important that people were coming together in this room to discuss the shape of their own communities.
He said: “It shows people are taking notice of what we have and are fighting to keep it. It is the local businesses that bring confidence to an area. It is important we lobby the council so they work with us.”
Mr Morris, who had helped organise the conference with other residents, said he had been delighted by the turnout.
He said: “I was expecting 20 to 30 people maximum. It’s inspirational to learn about the ideas and works of so many groups who have worked so hard over the years to make Tottenham a good place.
“We’re here to learn from people and hear about what they need so we can put it into practice.”