Local campaigners in Seven Sisters hailed a “huge victory in the fight for a fairer city” after a developer pulled out of a controversial regeneration scheme.

Private landlord Grainger has ditched plans to demolish buildings at Wards Corner and build 196 new homes, citing “legal challenges” and “significant delays” to the scheme.

Its plans have long been opposed by traders’ groups at Seven Sisters Indoor Market – also known as the Latin Village – who feared it would put their livelihoods and culture at risk.

Grainger’s decision could pave the way for an alternative ‘community plan’ to restore the market to go ahead – a proposal that has already won backing from new Haringey Council leader Cllr Peray Ahmet.

Following Grainger’s announcement, campaign group Save Latin Village tweeted: “This is a huge victory in the fight for a fairer city.”

Vicky Alvarez, chair of Seven Sisters Market Traders Association, described the news as a “significant victory for all those fighting gentrification in London” and urged Transport for London (TfL), the Greater London Authority and Mayor of London to get behind the community plan.

Plans to regenerate the land at Wards Corner – which is part-owned by London Underground and managed by TfL – date back to 2004. Grainger won permission for a housing scheme at the site in 2008, but the decision was later quashed by the Court of Appeal.

In 2012, the firm secured permission for a revised scheme to build 196 rental homes – none of which would be classed affordable – at the site. 

But five years later, a group of United Nations human rights experts warned the council’s plans to forcibly buy up land to allow the scheme to go ahead would have “a disproportionate impact on people belonging to minorities and their right to equal participation in economic, social and cultural rights”.

As part of a legal agreement with the council, Grainger had pledged to provide space in the development for a new market and a temporary market in a nearby building during construction work. But earlier this year, the developer told traders that work to open the temporary market were being held up because of “viability challenges”.

On Thursday, 5th August, the firm announced the Wards Corner project would not go ahead, claiming this was due to “the drawn-out nature of implementing the scheme owing to numerous legal challenges from a small but vocal minority, the complexity of the site, and the changing economic environment”.

The community plan, drawn up by market tenants, residents and businesses, already has planning permission. It would provide 1,700 square metres of retail and café space, including a new market, 400sqm of small business office space and 200sqm of community space, including a childcare centre.

Cllr Ahmet said: “Having met with the West Green Road/Seven Sisters Development Trust, we are supportive of the trust’s community plan to bring the existing historic building back to life for the next generation, with Seven Sisters market, popularly known as the Latin Village, at its heart, and we are looking forward to seeing the next iteration of the plans.

“As TfL are the owners of the market, we urge them to work with the trust to co-produce a solution for the long-term future of the market.”

A TfL spokesperson said it was continuing to focus its efforts on supporting traders, including carrying out essential works on site. It said it had also provided direct financial assistance to traders and was working on options for a temporary market, although no decisions had been made on the community plan.

Graeme Craig, TfL’s director of commercial development, said: “We know how much the market means to the small businesses based there and the local community, and we want to see traders being able to operate safely again as soon as possible.”