Date: 1st June 2018 at 5:10pm
Written by:

Traders like Daniel were overcharged 1000% by so-called Market Facilitator – appointed by Haringey Council & TfL. Our lawyer describes him as the anti-thesis of a Market Facilitator.

Traders affected by these extortionate rates were all Colombian.

Public bodies have a duty to prevent discrimination under Section 149 of the 2010 Equalities Act.. Its unfortunate that it takes legal action for these duties to be taken seriously.

We have just under £4k to raise. Please post a link to Facebook asking your friends to pledge support for this Crowdjustice campaign.

Without your support we’re stuffed x

Over to Victoria…

I am Victoria Alvarez a Colombian trader at the Latin Village: Pueblito Paisa in Seven Sisters Market, above Seven Sisters tube station at Wards Corner. This was once North London’s classiest department store, but since the 1980’s it has had a new life, as a thriving market and collection of shops where every day is a joyful celebration of London’s diversity. At its centre are restaurants and small service businesses mainly run by Latin American traders like me. This is the heart of London’s Latin American Community. For us, it is place where we can make a living, call home and experience Latin culture. Everyone in London is warmly welcome – you just need to take the Victoria Line to enjoy Latin America. But all of this is now in danger.

Our case

Wards Corner is marked for redevelopment by Grainger PLC which plans to build chain stores and luxury flats (but no social housing). Our community objected during the planning process and, thanks to our supporters, was heard loud and clear at the recent Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) inquiry. We and local residents also won a test case to make equality part of the decision-making process. And we also won important concessions in a section 106 planning agreement between the local council, Haringey, and Grainger.

That agreement is supposed to protect the market now, relocate it temporarily and give it a secure future in the new development. But it is simply not being honoured. Those who have complained about that are now facing reprisals. Latinos are being discriminated against. Market traders are being told they must give up their units.

What are we trying to achieve?

We want the market, what it offers and represents, and our families and businesses to have a future here. Every trader should have an opportunity to be part of that future. None should be picked off and forced to leave.

But all of our achievements are under threat. At this rate there will not be a market to save as in a sense the demolition process has already started – that’s why we urgently need your support to take legal action to safeguard the market’s future.”

How much we are raising and why?

We are raising £7500 so Bindmans solicitors can fight our case by:

  • legally challenging the discrimination and harassment being faced by Latino traders;
  • challenging Transport for London, which owns the market, over its failure to prevent abuses of power by Grainger’s representative; and
  • advise us on whether we can directly enforce the section 106 agreement or market lease ourselves in the Courts, so Grainger, Mayor and the Council will keep their promises to preserve the market.

What is the next step in the case?

We urgently need our solicitors to:

  • negotiate, or have formal mediations, to stop the proposed evictions taking place; and
  • raise our concerns about the current market management with TFL, Haringey Council and the Mayor.

Case background

Since the test case (R (Harris) v LB Haringey), equality of opportunity and non-discrimination was supposed to be at the centre of every decision about the market. And the future of the market and its long-standing traders was supposed to be protected in law by the section 106 agreement between the Council and Grainger. In fact, Grainger is legally obliged to appoint a ‘market facilitator’ to champion our interests.

But instead, the market is being managed by Grainger’s representative unprofessionally, aggressively and destructively:

  • Some traders have already been forced to give up some of their units – this has happened to me.
  • One of us, Fabian, has been told he should leave the restaurant he has run for over a decade. Fabian is one of the victims of the 7/7 terrorist London bombings which left him with disabilities. This happened just a few days after he gave evidence to the CPO inquiry about the market being under attack.
  • Fabian, and other Latin traders (but not traders of other races) have also been targeted for utilities charge increases of 100% up to 300% . But we are only supposed to be paying the basic costs.
  • Portuguese speaking trader Paula Rocha’s licence has been terminated and the management is trying to evict her elderly mother Helena from her mezzanine floor and pass it on to another business. Helena is suffering health problems through all the stress and humiliation caused.
  • There have nasty, personalised insults directed towards many of us and language with racial undertones and sexist expletives.

Fabian has filed a legal case to challenge the discrimination, harassment and victimisation he faces – but he needs support take it forward.

Whenever these things happen, we are reminded of the fact that Grainger never wanted the market as part of its development and that its representative told that he could make 90% of us leave straightaway.

We do not want conflict. Many of us are former refugees and have escaped traumatic experiences and want to get on with our lives in peace.

We are willing to work with Grainger, but as partners, not as victims of harassment.

So we need to take urgent legal action to end the hostility and protect the market’s future. Right now we need a legal defence fund to enable our solicitors and barristers take the legal action outlined above.

We are doing everything we can and have even petitioned the UN. We hope we can count on you to support us. Please donate what you can towards the legal defence fund. When you do, you will be helping to preserve something special, unique and irreplaceable: not just a market, but a community; not just a community, but a Latin American experience, right here in London, that you, your friends and family can come and share with us right now – and hopefully in the future too.

Here’s a taste of what your donation will help protect.

Thanks for your support 

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