Plans ‘axed to promote racial mix’

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Judges at the Court of Appeal have rejected a planning application in north London that would have seen the demolition of homes and an indoor market because it did not consider the needs of residents from all ethnic groups.

The Wards Corner site above Seven Sisters tube station in Tottenham is predominantly used by local independent traders with a mix of Turkish, Cypriot, Colombian and Afro Caribbeans.

Studies showed rents would have increased threefold at the site if the redevelopment had gone ahead – putting many of the traders out of business.

Campaigners fighting to save the site said it was the first case to decide that local authorities must assess the impact in race equality terms before authorising major developments.

Lord Justice Pill, giving the ruling of the Court of Appeal, said the London Borough of Haringey had given approval in 2008 to the plan to regenerate the site.

He said: "The site incorporates an indoor market comprising 36 units of which 64% of traders are from Latin America or are Spanish speaking."

Ms Janet Harris, who set up the Tottenham Civic Society in 2006, challenged the planning permission at the appeal court on the grounds that the council had failed to comply with a term of the Race Relations Act that the council must promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different race groups.

Lord Justice Pill said he had reached his conclusion to allow the appeal "with some regret" because of the desire by the council to regenerate the area but the law required that the impact on different racial groups must be taken into account.