Traders at a Tottenham market threatened with demolition vented their anger at senior councillors amid chaotic scenes at Haringey Civic Centre.

Council leader Cllr Joseph Ejiofor and other cabinet members faced calls of “shame” and “resign” from a group of traders from Seven Sisters Indoor Market and their supporters during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday (January 21).

Cllr Ejiofor (Labour, Bruce Grove) called the session on the market to a halt early after heckling from the public gallery continued despite calls for calm – and councillors were unable to ask further questions.

The chaotic scenes broke out during discussion of the scrutiny review on Wards Corner, Tottenham, where the building housing Seven Sisters Indoor Market – also known as the Latin Village – is due to be knocked down as part of a regeneration scheme.

Plans to develop the land – which is owned by London Underground and managed by Transport for London (TfL) – date back to 2004, and the current project will see developer Grainger build 196 new homes and retail space on the site.

Cllr Ejiofor has repeatedly pledged to ensure a new Latin Market is included in the redeveloped site, as well as securing extra safeguards for traders, including a temporary market across the road at Apex House while work is carried out.

But the council was heavily criticised when a cross-party panel of councillors published a review of the scheme last October, following an inquiry that gathered evidence from key stakeholders.

The panel raised concerns that the council did not enforce a legal agreement – known as a Section 106 agreement – drawn up to protect traders at the market, despite the inquiry hearing evidence it was being breached.

Their report says a director of the company appointed by Grainger in May 2016 to act as market facilitator and protect traders’ interests – Quarterbridge – also became a director of the market operator, Market Asset Management.

It says this was a conflict of interest – yet the council only recognised it as such in the autumn of 2018.

The council received complaints from some traders alleging they had been bullied and harassed by the director of the two organisations.

But the cabinet’s response to the scrutiny review says the appointment of Quarterbridge did not breach the council’s Section 106 obligations.

Of the scrutiny panel’s 14 recommendations, cabinet members disagreed with eight, partially agreed with three and agreed with three.

At Tuesday’s meeting, a deputation from a traders’ group criticised the response and called on cabinet members to support an alternative “community plan” for the site, which they had drawn up.

Cabinet member for finance and strategic regeneration Cllr Charles Adje (Labour, White Hart Lane) pointed out that London Underground, not the council, is the freeholder of the site, which is run by TfL.

He said: “In terms of the community plan, you have received planning approval recently for that.

“One of the requirements from receiving the approval is for you to engage with the freeholder of the property, which is TfL. I know you come to the council, and the council will assist you in any way it can.”

Cllr Adje added that a report published by an independent consultant showed how traders could have a say in the future running of the market.

But a spokesman for a traders’ group said: “The landowner says to us that because you [the council] have a compulsory purchase [order] on the site, that is nothing to do with them.

“If you want to help us, release the site so we can freely talk to the landowner and get the community plan done.”

Vicky Alvarez, another traders’ representative, claimed they had been “passed from pillar to post” by TfL and the council.

She said: “I wanted to see where the ball is going to end up, in which court. The council say it’s TfL, TfL say it’s the council, so where is the due care for the community?”

Cllr Ejiofor said there was an agreement between Grainger and TfL, and the traders needed to “first and foremost have a conversation with TfL”.

Later in the meeting, Cllr Ruth Gordon (Labour, Tottenham Hale), criticised the cabinet’s response to the scrutiny review.

She said: “The problem is that there is confusion caused by the very fact that the market facilitator – which was something enshrined in the Section 106, our responsibility as planning authority – was confused by being the very same person who was also the market manager.

“That conflict of interest should have been acknowledged and hasn’t been acknowledged by rejecting the recommendations in our report.”

Emma Williamson, the council’s assistant planning director, acknowledged that it was the council’s responsibility but said the issue had been “rectified”.

Cllr Gordon also urged cabinet members to think again on a recommendation calling for talks on the traders’ community plan, saying Grainger had offered to discuss whether elements of the plan could be incorporated into its own proposals.

Cllr Adje said a policy advisory group had been set up that would allow talks between the traders and Grainger to take place.

But a man shouted from the public gallery: “You should be ashamed!”

After the angry heckling continued, Cllr Ejiofor brought the discussion to a close and the cabinet’s response to the scrutiny review was agreed.