One of the heads of a group of market traders who are threatened with eviction has accused the council of rushing through a decision to demolish their market.

Victoria Alvarez, a trader at Seven Sisters Indoor Market, criticised council leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor for refusing to engage with traders.

She compared Cllr Ejiofor’s actions to those of his predecessor, Clair Kober, who was ousted following opposition to regeneration schemes.

But Cllr Ejiofor has committed to providing a new market at Wards Corner, as well as a temporary site while work takes place, and the council has secured rent discounts and other support for traders to help with the transition.

Ms Alvarez’s comments came after the council leader pledged to press ahead with development after the Secretary of State approved a compulsory purchase order (CPO) of the site – a move that allows the council to force the existing landowners to sell up.

The CPO ruling means the current site of the market – also known as the Latin Village – can be demolished and replaced by a block of 196 flats and commercial space at Wards Corner.

In an open letter to Cllr Ejiofor, Ms Alvarez asked why the council had decided to go ahead with the plans “before the housing and regeneration and scrutiny panel has had any chance to gather evidence for their review of Wards Corner”.

She added: “It also isn’t clear what you are referring to when you speak of engagement with traders, as you have ignored us and failed to engage with us other than meeting with us once for an hour back in July.”

Ms Alvarez accused the council of “talking over traders’ heads” via the press about its commitments and said the leader was trying to undercut backbench councillors and the scrutiny process “just like Claire Kober did with the HDV (Haringey Development Vehicle)”.

Haringey Council originally entered into a conditional agreement for the redevelopment of the Wards Corner site with private firm Grainger back in 2007.

The developer was granted planning permission for the flats in July 2012 and had already spent £10.7 million on the scheme by 2017.

Cancelling the agreement now would mean the council could face a huge bill for damages – potentially running into millions of pounds.

The council has made a commitment for a new, permanent market at Wards Corner, with rent discounts and other help for traders moving to the site.

In the meantime, a temporary market will be set up at nearby Apex House.

The local authority added that Wards Corner has been through cabinet and was subject to a thorough inquiry, while it held drop-in sessions, sent out newsletters and set up a dedicated email address to keep people informed about the development.

Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, leader of Haringey Council, pointed out that the decision to apply for a CPO was made in 2016 by the previous Labour administration.

He said: “Since my new administration started in May, Cllr Charles Adje (cabinet member for strategic regeneration) and I have met with traders and they have made representations to Haringey’s cabinet.

“We have worked closely with the Future of Seven Sisters steering group, which includes traders, to make sure their aspirations for the temporary and new market are met.

“I want to be really clear about what is proposed at Wards Corner – this is not a plan to remove the market from Seven Sisters. It is a plan to temporarily move the market to a site over the road, in order to build a sustainable new long-term market, deliver new homes and business space.

“When the market moves back to the site, returning traders have a clear list of commitments, including reduced rent and the guarantee of equivalent space made by Grainger.

“Since 2007 the Wards Corner agreement with Grainger has been subject to approvals from cabinet and the CPO has been subject to an inquiry where all aspects of the scheme are closely examined. Discussions about the market’s future did not begin on the day we got the CPO decision.

“We will continue to work with the traders to help them get the market that they want and will offer any further support that we can.”