Transforming Tottenham

Monday 3 March 2014

Tottenham is aiming to transform itself into what could be London’s first ‘21st century suburb’, armed with over £1 billion of private and public investment, the planning expertise of figures who masterminded the Olympics and the determination of the London mayor.

Those were some of the key points to emerge in a breakfast talk about the regeneration area last week at the NLA.

Haringey council chief executive Nick Walkley said that Tottenham is ‘a real place with energy and dynamism’ that he wants to build on, utilising a strong partnership that has grown between the council, government and regional players. The vision for the place, said Walkley, includes some 10,000 new homes and 5,000 new jobs, along with the opportunity to deliver around 1msqft of commercial space. ‘It’s a great place, and London’s next great space’, said Walkley. ‘This is a now project, not a tomorrow project.’

Important schemes in the area include John McAslan and Partners’ move to open a new N17 design studio, which will be a permanent architectural presence on the high road with apprenticeship opportunities for local people, while there will also be a low carbon lab for the University of Durham, and a fashion academy. These, said Walkley, all benefit from Tottenham’s accessibility, with Tottenham Hale just 12 minutes from central London. They will also help the housing push and aid Tottenham becoming ‘the destination of choice for those being squeezed out of other areas.’

Neale Coleman, the mayoral advisor for Tottenham and the Olympic legacy, said that programmes will have to tackle problems such as high levels of youth unemployment and deprivation, but that the mayor had asked him to take over because he wanted a senior adviser to spend ‘serious time working with Haringey, making sure we deliver for people in Tottenham. ‘I want to emphasise what a big priority this is for the mayor’, he said. London needs around 50,000 new homes to be built each year, added Coleman, and a lot of those could and should be in Tottenham, but it was crucial that they are high quality.

Robert Evans of Argent, who is the independent chair of the landowners group in the area agreed, adding that ‘good design and placemaking adds real value’ and that, since Tottenham isn’t part of the overheated market, there are opportunities to invest.

And finally Jerome Frost, director of planning at Arup, said a conceptual spatial framework will help guide opportunities for change in five key areas, over around five square miles. Tottenham figures in a ‘golden triangle’ with Cambridge to the north, the west end and City outperforming all other global capitals and the Olympic Park spreading London’s benefits to the east. This, along with Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium development and ‘leisure hub’ has led Frost and his colleagues to think of Tottenham as ‘the first 21stcentury suburb, ‘a fantastic opportunity to rethink a place’ that has lost its character, but through building on its merits rather than creating ‘a shiny new thing.’. ‘You really begin to think that Tottenham’s moment has come’, said Frost.

David Taylor, Editor, New London Quarterly

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Transforming Tottenham


Since August 2011 Tottenham has become one of London’s most positive regeneration stories with a £1bn private / public investment programme.