Save Latin Village

Our system of local authorities is a mess. But worse than that it has largely become dysfunctional, often working against the interests of the population it is meant to serve. We seem to have lost the local pride that led to the great municipal developments of the late Victorian era, and which one still sees across the Channel, and councils seem to have morphed into businesses serving their own ends.

The Latin Village which has grown up around Seven Sisters Indoor Market is a thriving and vibrant community, a community asset that any local council should admire and encourage, and be proud of. But Haringey Council want to destroy it.

The block stands on a prime site on top of Seven Sisters Underground Station and on the area’s major road. So the council want to make property developers rich by replacing it with expensive flats and chain stores, profiting investors at the expense of the community. It’s something that you might expect of some sleazy and corrupt administration in a country with a bent administration, and that is exactly what it is, though the council runs under the Labour label. Italian anti-mafia expert Roberto Saviano recently called the UK ‘the most corrupt place on Earth‘, and we have a legal, political and law enforcement system that has developed over the years to protect ruling class interests and the corrupt financial system that powers the City.

It has been a long fight by the community against the council, and back in 2008 they gained the support of the then London Mayor Boris Johnson, who forced the council to think again. They did and came back with the same answer – knock it down, destroy the community and replace it by a bland block with housing for the wealthy and chain shops just like those on any other high rent high street. And big profits for their friends the property developers.

It was a lively afternoon, with speeches and music and dancing. I took a few minutes to go inside the Indoor Market, which I’ve only walked past on the outside before, and was amazed. So many people, so many shops, so much life. But I didn’t want to miss what was happening outside, so I didn’t stop to take pictures, meaning perhaps to go back later, though I’ve not yet done so, though I have since seen some good images and video by others.

The main event of the afternoon was to form a human chain around the block, and while the chain didn’t quite link up all the way round it did get to be around 300 metres long, and had people really stretched out it would have made it. I followed it around and then walked the missing 80 metres along West Green Road, where the line of shops would have made it a little difficult back to the Tottenham High Rd where the chain had begun.

People were still there, still holding out their hands to the next in line, and the afternoon sun was putting their shadows onto the pavement. These looked like those strings of paper men we used to make by folding paper and cutting out the shapes attached by their arms and hang as chains.

The fiesta was still continuing when I left for home, with more music scheduled into the evening. It’s places like the Latin Market and others also under threat from councils and developers that make London a great place to live in – and which London’s mainly Labour councils seem hell-bent on sterilising.

More pictures: Human Chain at Latin Village


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