Wards corner community coalition wcc tottenham london
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Wards Corner Community Coalition (WCC) Tottenham, London. Wards Corner – The site. A vibrant but poor area of London which despite the lack of money has managed to become the centre for many ethnic groups, including the Latin American population in London.

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Wards Corner Community Coalition (WCC) Tottenham, London

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Wards corner community coalition wcc tottenham london

Wards Corner Community Coalition


Tottenham, London

Wards corner the site

Wards Corner – The site

  • A vibrant but poor area of London which despite the lack of money has managed to become the centre for many ethnic groups, including the Latin American population in London.

  • As a result Tottenham has a unique sense of community

  • Although the site and its people have been deliberately neglected, residents and traders are very committed to it, investing their time, energy and money

  • Town Centre

  • Huge Transport interchange

  • Within a Conservation area

  • Unique, diverse, culturally-rich

  • Mimi-UN

  • Huge Potential

2003 2007 setting the scene

2003 – 2007: Setting the Scene

  • 2003: Haringey Council and New Deal for Communities (NDC) produced a development brief for Wards Corner and chose to partner with developers Grainger PLC

  • June 2007: After no real community consultation/participation Grainger revealed very worked up plans

Wards corner community coalition wcc tottenham london

Community’s Reaction

  • The community was not impressed, in fact they were they were outraged by the plans!

    • No Consultation

    • Huge disparity between the community’s vision and Council/Developer’s vision

    • Nobody could identify in anyway with the development

    • Plans were about delivering profits and not about developing the community

    • The Council were working against rather than with the community

Wards corner community coalition wcc tottenham london

Origins of the Alternative Plan

  • As the Council had blocked its ears to the community, market traders and local Residents Associations got together and decided that the community“needed to make the case for themselves and create a campaign based around a clear and bold vision statement” and would “Need to have a proven Plan B”

  • The Resident Associations and market traders invited several local trader and civic groups to contribute to a ‘wish-list’ for the site

    10 Residents Associations, the Haringey Federation of Residents Associations (HFRA), Tottenham Civic Society (TCS), Conservation Area Advisory Committee (CAAC), Pedro Achata Trust, Pueblito Paisa, the Tottenham Traders Association, Tottenham & Wood Green Friends of the Earth, Sustainable Haringey, Living Streets, Seven Sisters Permaculture.

  • An architect was commissioned...using the ‘wish-list’ an Alternative Plan began to take shape

3 rd oct 2007 a significant moment

3rd Oct 2007: A Significant Moment

  • A public meeting was called by the traders and voluntary groups where an outline ‘Alternative Plan’ was presented to the Council, NDC and the community

    • Presentations were also made by several local trader/civic groups

      • 150 people attended

  • Subsequent to this meeting it became apparent the Council were not going to support the aspirations of the Community and two realisations emerged:

  • People collectively felt ignored and irrelevant.  We wanted a different way of working to achieve the shared desire to improve Tottenham 

  • Although our groups – trade, resident, civic, historic buildings, sustainability - had their individual focus  their vision and concerns were related

    The WCC was born out of this realisation

Wards corner community coalition wcc tottenham london

Joining the Dots...Forming the WCC

  • Tottenham is fortunate – it has many self-organising groups (RA, Civic and Trader) all of who are passionate about their locality

    • Have a great ethos of self-organising, self-empowerment, great automany from Council

  • The WCC connects, develops and empowers individual Grassroots groups

    • Great pool of support

    • Allows us to build resources locally and autonomously from local authority

Wards corner community coalition wcc

Wards Corner Community Coalition (WCC)

diverse, diffuse, non-hierarchical , flexible, immediate, considerate, non-political, multi-layered, inclusive, adaptable, seek-consensus, evolving, friendly, open, community, active, activists, informal, formal, self-empowered, self-empowering, empathetic, self-organising, self-educating, connected, resourceful, dreamers, rationalists, planners, organisers, artists, fundraisers, traders, bakers, cynical, autonomous, radical, conservative, transparent, cooperative, confusing, sharing, humble, arrogant, fearless,, conspiratorial, fearful, enduring, non-party political, passionate, committed, self-reliant, cohesive, environmentalists......

  • The WCC is a network of networks

  • We represent different voices and positions underpinned by shared goals and principles – holds us together

  • ...even after 2 years with all these different qualities we still manage to meet at least once a week

Wcc no leaders no appointed officers

WCC: No Leaders, No Appointed Officers

So how do we work?!

  • We do not have a structure, leaders, appointed officers ...people do not occupy a fixed position

  • People do tasks as needed

  • We do not have a traditional structure or way of working - this affords us flexibility and the ability to adapt

From irrelevant to relevant

From Irrelevant to Relevant

We are demonstrating that all the things that are not possible in Council/Developer’s model is possible in an alternative model


  • Model of development was demolition and total new-build with no regard for community

  • Rigid and incapable of factoring in the community’s voices in a meaningful way

    Our Reaction:

  • We arose and work in direct opposition to the existing model that the Council/Developer operates by, which is not inclusive, open or respectful

  • Explains why we were not working or behave in the same rigid structure as they are

  • We have gone beyond just fighting an unwanted development, we are fighting for a new way of doing things, a new model – by being proactive, not just reactive



The WCC has been networking with grassroots organisations, national organisations and unaffiliated people who all share our philosophy and principals by:

Weekly open meetings

Utilizing all local community facilities and resources

Utilizing established networks and resources

One-on-one conversations

Having a presence at all community events

London Mayoral and local Council hustings


Public Meetings


Hosting Cultural music events


The wcc wiki site

The WCC Wiki-site

  • Repository of our inputs and ideas and story - A permanent record of WCC

  • Transparent - available for all

  • Fantastic tool for communication – local and global

  • No webmaster...editing is collaborative, allows people to take ownership of the creative process

Networking community engagement support

Networking…Community Engagement/Support

Public Meeting – Feb 08

>350 people attended

Wards Corner Hug - July 08

>500 people attended

Fundraisers, Community Festivals, Workshops, Judicial Review,Press etc.

....Always well attended and supported

...Community engaged with in several ways, Input fed into the Alternative Plan

...Great show of community ‘togetherness’

Developing the alternative plan glasshouse workshop

Developing the Alternative Plan: Glasshouse Workshop

  • Glasshouse: Championing a collaborative process

  • We invited Haringey Council, the NDC and Grainger along with key Tottenham stakeholder groups to participate in two days of training with East Architects and the Glass-House in community-led design for regeneration.

  • This was an opportunity to clear all the cobwebs, wipe the slate clean, look at the site with fresh eyes and work together to realise our different aspirations by approaching options with an unfettered mind.

  • Although the Council and NDC were a no-show, it was a successful workshop

The future developing the alternative plan 19 th september 2009

The Future: Developing the Alternative Plan 19th September 2009

  • The alternative plan progresses and the community’s voices are still wanted . . .

  • Three architects have volunteered their time to map what people have to say about their current relationship to the site and what they desire for the future. 

  • This will feed into the ongoing process building up a community design statement that can be translated into spacial plans.

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