There was an interesting article over the weekend in The Guardian about the regeneration of Tottenham. However, here are some actual quotes from the article. “Great things are promised” “Those involved talk of “pulling together”, of ‘cross-party consensus’, of borough, mayor and national government transcending their traditional differences in order to get something done.”
That’s all well and good, but it is missing a basic point. As obvious as it sounds, just because there are plans for regeneration it doesn’t mean that they will happen. Here is a link to the plans for the new Spurs Football Stadium…… from 2008.
Still the work on the stadium has not started 7 years later. Here is a link to a publication from Haringey Council in 2010 outlining the redevelopment of the area, including
a) a new housing development called “Hale Waterside”, of “300 homes, 50% affordable”, which has been given a time frame of “2013-2014”. As far as we can see, they still have not even done a proper survey on the land, and we are now in 2015 (see Ref 21)
b) Ashley Road Depot development, with “306 houses, 50% affordable”. A time frame of 2013-2014 is given, but a thorough Google search shows no evidence of any development on these plans. (see Ref 19)
In fact, of the 26 plans outlined by the council, I can count on less than one hand the ones that have actually made any progress at all on what was proposed. 0.
So The Guardian is using the fact that there are plans for the area as a positive, but what good are plans if they never come to fruition? Plans are not going to put a roof over someone’s head, nor will plans bring the jobs that will put food on the table. Only a combination of good plans and an execution of those plans will do that, and neither of them seem to have happened. If the plans have not made any progress they must have either been flawed from the start, or they were good plans that have not been followed, and neither of them scenarios help the local people of N17. Alternatively they could be plans that were made, and then changed. In which case, plans that are going to be changed later are not plans at all: they are proposals.
In the article it says, “The Spurs project also required the removal of 72 businesses from the site with the help of compulsory purchase orders, of which 71 went quietly. The last, called Archway Steel, fought a long legal challenge during which they also endured hate mail and a suspected arson attack, one might guess from very disgruntled fans.” So…… hang on: the football club paid off the other 71 businesses, racking up larges costs in doing so while knowing full well that if they did not get the last business out of the way that the money paid to all of those other businesses would count for nothing, putting themselves at an incredibly vulnerable position. Then they sell Gareth Bale and Luka Modric to Real Madrid for over £110,000,000, making it clear they have plenty of cash to spend if they wanted to, and they are shocked that the owner of the last business tries to use his negotiating position to squeeze every last penny out of them? Whilst I agree that the lack of progress in getting the stadium built has massively hurt the area, and cost many jobs too, the owner of that last business probably just realises (correctly) that this could be his one chance at a huge payday, a chance to give his children and and his children’s children a huge advantage in life, knowing that Tottenham have invested too much to back out now, and that they have no other choice other than to pay much more than originally agreed. Selfish? Yes. Good business? Of course.
Here is a link to the plans for the nearby housing estate next to Tottenham Hale station. While the development has had a positive effect on the area, there is a marked discrepancy between what they planned, and what has happened.
In summary, these plans for the area mean little unless they are actually going to be well thought out and executed properly to the scale outlined. Sadly, the two organisations that will play the biggest role in the whole area’s redevelopment, Haringey Council and Tottenham Hotspur FC, don’t seem to have done that to the extent that one would expect from them. By all means, if these plans actually happen then great, the area will do well out of it, and we hope that they do happen. But I can’t help but feel that we have been here before, with plans of progress and massive press releases with great promises, followed by a lack of completion on such projects. What we need is less plans, and more action on the plans that actually exists. Less talk, and more action. When projects get completed, then and only then should press attention be given to them. Until then, more of the focus needs to be on the delivery of such plans, not the unveiling of them.