Discovering Tottenham ran a survey last summer to find out some of the questions locals had about the Tottenham regeneration. To help get some answers we put a selection of these to Suzanne Johnson from Haringey Council, an Area Regeneration Manager for Tottenham.
Are there any plans for a new Tottenham lido? There was one on the site of Broadwater Farm on Lordship Lane which closed in 1985!
I’m sad to say that’s not something that’s on our list. We hear about a lot of things that people would like to see and that’s the first time a lido’s come up.
Are there any plans for a new pub/drinkspot/meeting place on West Green Road close to Seven Sisters tube?
No specific plans on that at the moment. Monument Way toilets is the one that we are looking to turn into a bar/cafe. I’ve seen that there is a new cafe on West Green Road – Cafe Lemon. In the long term, the Wards Corner site and Apex House both include some commercial space on the ground floor for town centre uses so we will work with the developer, Grainger, on both those sites to discuss what’s going to go in there.
Are there any plans for Laurence Road?
Laurence Road is an interesting one as we don’t actually own much of the land at all that’s coming forward for development. What we do is look at the planning applications that are coming in. There’s a lot coming in at the moment on Laurence Road so we’ve made comments on those from a regeneration point of view… What I’m looking at generally is demands for workspace and the overall vision of Laurence Road is to try and retain commercial space so it doesn’t all get lost to housing. That’s set out in the Tottenham area action plan – the planning framework we work to for Tottenham. It’s about working with different developers on Laurence Road and making it clear to them what the planning policy framework is and encouraging them to retain as much commercial space as we can on the street whilst at the same time recognising that residential is often required for enabling development.
It’s about protecting those [live work spaces already in existence] and commercial space should support West Green Road as a high street. I think if you’ve got the mix right, if you’ve got people on Laurence Road who work during the day, it’s helping to add to the local economy. I’m quite passionate about that.
Will the Tottenham Palace Theatre be refurbished and functioning again as a theatre? Such a lovely building is wasting away in the heart of Tottenham…
That is owned by a church group and we’ve had discussions with the church group over the last six months to talk about how we could open the doors of the building and allow it to become a bit more publicly accessible. I would say we’ve not reached a solution yet but it’s a high priority for us because is it an amazing building and it’s also a listed building. We’ve been working with Historical England who’ve met the church to talk about the building up keep and maintenance and make sure that it’s maintained to a good standard.
Are there any plans to add in a lift at Bruce Grove station? When will work on the station start?
London Overground have the plans rather than us as it’s not our building. At the moment there are no plans to [install a lift] but what we did when we worked with Network Rail, who own the site, the front of the station and the arches, is made sure that in the planning application if London Overground want to put in a lift in the future the building is designed in such a way to accommodate it.
Network Rail have been asked to look at all their commercial assets to decide whether they should sell them off. That’s a national Network Rail negotiation so, in the meantime, they have agreed to work with us to put a temporary use in. I don’t know how long it will take, we need to find a good operator to go in there, but that’s a short term plan. I can’t give a date at the moment for when the new work will start on site.
Is there any news on what might happen to 7 Bruce Grove?
The owner of the building, as I understand, has begun work on site to implement his planning permission. It’s for additional housing to the rear of the main building, conversion of the existing building, improvement of it and conversion to housing.
What is being done to improve the public realm and environment: namely to create cleaner and safer spaces that people take pride in maintaining?
We’ve already delivered some projects around this. The ally way project at Albert Place. Holcombe market – that was a lot about creating an improved and safer place through design. Tottenham Green public realm scheme was about that as well.
You can read more detail about these projects in our interview with Suzanne about her role and projects that her team has been working on here.
We’re continually thinking of new projects that will continue those objectives, trying to get money for those projects and then ultimately delivering them. The other bit of work that we do is the joint enforcement project. This is about having a dedicated neighbourhood action team officer for Tottenham who is on the street as our eyes and ears, identifies hotspots and is a dedicated resource to pick up on fly tipping, illegal dumping, trading standards and those issues. He’s relatively new in post and we’ve got funding until March. Hopefully this will be a success and we can continue the project. I think it’s really important to involve the community groups – community in design – the principle is they can take ownership of it, keep an eye on it.
How is the regeneration being funded?
It’s really a complete mix… very much on a project basis. The best thing to look at is the delivery plan. That’s got all the projects and sets out how they’re funded. For example, the war memorial upgrades that we did we used some council funding, we used some GLA Growth on the High Road funding and we also had an accessible bid to the War Memorials Trust. TfL also fund some projects and the Mayor of London. We get funding through section 106 agreements with developers, grants, heritage lottery funds so it varies but lots of different sources. And we have Housing’s Own funding for Tottenham as well.
How can improvements be made while ensuring existing local residents and businesses can afford to stay and not get pushed out?
Irrespective of the regeneration programme London is such a fast moving city that people move to different areas anyway. I think there is a lot of change happening in households around South Tottenham as it’s closest to the Hackney border. A lot of the housing stock here is Victorian terrace, which is popular housing stock, and those movements of people across London happens all over London. The other thing that we have a responsibility to do as part of the regeneration programme is make sure we have policies in place that encourage the delivery of affordable housing and encourage business retention. Planning policy requirements for the borough is 40% affordable housing. It’s about working with developers on individual sites and to try and get as much affordable housing on site as possible. We recently published our housing strategy which reaffirms that requirement. An example on how that’s delivered in practice – Apex House is delivering affordable housing. We worked closely on the section 106 agreement to make sure that affordable housing benefits local people. It’s about us making sure there’s nomination rights for our tenants and local people.
The other thing we are looking at is working with existing local businesses so the shopfront improvement project [on West Green Road and the High Road] is a really good example. It’s recognising that we do have a lot of great existing businesses in Tottenham and putting a bit of investment into those. Holcombe market is the same kind of thing; it’s been trading as a market in Dave Hog’s family for over 100 years so it’s about recognising the contribution that makes to Tottenham and putting investment into that.
There’s no one answer to it but it’s about making sure that across the piece we are doing as much as we can when projects come forward to deliver affordable housing.