THE needs of ethnic minority communities were ignored by Haringey Council in approving a luxury development in Tottenham, a Judge ruled as he quashed planning permission.

Lord Justice Pill said the council had failed to take equality considerations into account and had not considered the impact the redevelopment would have on the different cultures living in an area of social inequality.

The landmark judgement, revealed on Tuesday, signifies a major victory for community campaigners who have been fiercely opposed to the regeneration plans for Wards Corner, at the junction of Seven Sisters Road and High Road, Tottenham, since 2007.

In July 2009, they requested a Judicial Review which upheld Haringey Council's decision to grant planning permission to developers Grainger Plc who intended to flatten the area including a former Edwardian department store found on the site to make way for high end housing and chain stores.

The bustling Latin American market and other small businesses selling specialist foods to ethnic minority residents, in West Green Road, could have forced out of the area because of high rents. Houses prices would have also been out of the price range of the average Tottenham residents.

The proposals prompted residents, small business owners and conservationists to form the Wards Corner Community (WCC) coalition to protect the area's character and diversity.

Following the July court defeat, the WCC lodged an appeal — heard on May 5, 2010 — and were finally able to celebrate after a three-year battle.

Giving his judgement, Lord Justice Pill said: "There was sufficient potential impact on equality of opportunity between persons of different racial groups, and on good relations between such groups, to require that the impact of the decision on those aspects of social and economic life be considered.

"There was no analysis of the material before the council in the context of the council’s equality duty. I would allow the appeal and quash the permission."

The ruling sets a precedent that local authorities must assess impact in race equality terms before authorising major developments.

Janet Harris, the WCC member who brought the challenge, backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: "I am delighted with the outcome of the case.

"Developments of this kind erode the social fabric of communities like mine in Tottenham. If they are not checked, people will eventually look around and wonder why the place where they live is no longer special and vibrant."

Haringey Council backed the proposals by development firm Grainger from its early stages in 2007, touting the build as the regeneration Seven Sisters badly needs. It must now start the process again.

In a statement it said: "Judicial opinion was clearly divided over this issue. Our case had been upheld in the High Court but the Court of Appeal came to another view. We had no intention of not complying with the law and are grateful for this clarification.

"We welcome the court’s recognition of the desire in the borough for regeneration of the area. We note that, apart from some considerations, the Court of Appeal concluded that the council followed a thorough and fair procedure."

David Schmitz, Liberal Democrat councillor for Harringay ward who has given legal advice to the WCC during their three-year campaign attacked the council for not showing "due regard" to the people of Tottenham.

He said: "Ward’s Corner is a place where people from all over the world live together in harmony and run businesses that serve the whole community. If the Council's decision had stood, all of that would have been swept aside."