Small business owners in Tottenham fear a huge regeneration scheme could push them out of the area and destroy their livelihoods.

Local enterprises, some of which have been run by the same family for generations, say their futures are at risk from the £1 billion High Road West development – a plan to build thousands of homes on sites opposite Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Slamming the plans as “gentrification”, they claim alternative proposals, which would allow them to stay in the area, have not been properly considered.


The Love Lane Estate, which faces demolition

The Love Lane Estate, which faces demolition


High Road West, a scheme drawn up by Haringey Council and development partner Lendlease, is set to provide almost 3,000 homes, including more than 500 for council rent. But it would also involve demolishing existing homes and business space, including the 297-home Love Lane Estate, Peacock Industrial Estate, and street-fronting terraces housing shops, takeaways and cafes.

The proposals, which drew more than 250 objections from residents and businesses, were deferred by the council’s planning committee in March following last-minute opposition from Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, and a decision on whether to approve the scheme is not now expected until June.

According to the council’s own planning report, the development would have an impact on 85 business spaces and 690 jobs. The council says it is “committed to working with businesses to find suitable relocation options”.


Alex Tryfonos outside Chick-King in High Road

Alex Tryfonos outside Chick-King in High Road


Alex Tryfonos runs Chick-King in Tottenham High Road, which has been in his family since 1981 but is now slated for demolition under the regeneration scheme.

“We were told whatever happens, everything will be demolished,” he said. “There is no compromise. I have lived in the area for over 40 years, my parents still live here and my sister still lives here.

“We were the local economy of this borough for so many years. Now, all of a sudden, we are not the local economy anymore.

“It’s quite difficult to comprehend what we are going through. We could lose our businesses and our livelihoods.”

The business owners, who are members of a consortium known as Tottenham Biz, are strongly opposed to the plan to replace existing freehold properties on the development sites with leasehold units. They are demanding like-for-like replacements on a freehold basis, but say this has not been offered to them.


Devrim Tangul outside Tottenham Hot Spuds Cafe in White Hart Lane

Devrim Tangul outside Tottenham Hot Spuds Cafe in White Hart Lane


Devrim Tangul has owned Tottenham Hot Spuds Cafe in White Hart Lane for more than 15 years and says the site has been used as a business for six decades.

“We don’t want to go, and that is it,” he said. At the end of the day, this land here […] does not belong to the council, it belongs to other people. It is freehold. How can you effectively take a freehold and give it back as a leasehold?

“I’ve got a 16-year-old son and eleven-year-old daughter. My son comes and helps me during the school holidays and on Saturdays. He is learning something here. He grew up in this shop. My daughter loves coming and helping us.

“This is our bread and butter. My daughter says ‘when I get a little bit older, I am going to work in the shop, and I’ll cook better than you’.”

Describing the scheme as about “nothing else but profit”, Devrim said the council had threatened to use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to buy up land to allow it to go ahead, and accused the authority of “bullying” business owners.


The Peacock Industrial Estate

The Peacock Industrial Estate


Peacock Industrial Estate, which lies to the north of White Hart Lane, is home to more than 50 businesses, including joiners, electrical repair shops and small construction firms.

Faruk Tepeyurt is a partner at award-winning firm Solmaz. “If they force us to move, we would close down our joinery business,” he said. “At the moment we are ten people, and the joinery will be gone. We have been here 19 years. This is a good location for us.”

The council spent more than £6million buying a property in Shaftesbury Road, in neighbouring Enfield, to house businesses relocating from the industrial estate. But a report by the authority states that the building could only accommodate up to six units, and there are more than 30 units on the estate.


Faruk Tepeyurt (second from left) and staff At Solmaz, in ther Peacock Industrial Estate

Faruk Tepeyurt (second from left) and staff At Solmaz, in ther Peacock Industrial Estate


Faruk said the Shaftesbury Road building contained asbestos and was in need of extensive refurbishment that could cost up to £3m.

“We submitted alternative plans,” he said. “We were going to provide new industrial units and 232 residential homes on our own land, and new landscaping, but they [the council] said no. They belittled us.

“We held a meeting with planning officers, and they said ‘you can’t do it’. We have written to the council saying, if you want us to improve the landscape, we will improve the landscape. We are happy to sit down with you and improve the landscape.”

Alex criticised consultations held by the council, claiming all the options on offer had involved demolition. He also said lottery funding had been used to refurbish businesses in the area but had not been allocated to those set to be demolished.

“Their minds were made up,” he said. “Their agenda was made up years ago [on] exactly what they would demolish and get rid of, because our shops are right in front of the new football ground, and they did not want a council estate to be right in front of the new football ground.

“We had a beautiful community [at Love Lane Estate] and the council portray it as a crime-ridden estate,” Alex added. “I don’t recall a single incident on that estate.

“We don’t have a problem as long as we get like-for-like on a freehold basis. We’re not asking for anything more than we own, just a replacement for what we have.

“Regeneration should be about the existing community, not for some developer to come and get the land to make money. We are not about profit and moneymaking. We want to make a living.”

A spokesperson for Lendlease said: “We’re working with the local community, and providing support for Haringey Council, on a scheme that will help re-energise this proud and historic area of London by delivering vital new and affordable housing, jobs and open space.”

A Haringey Council spokesperson said: “The council is committed to working with businesses to find suitable relocation options that meet their individual requirements and aspirations. In the first instance we are looking at a small row of shops, most of which are already leasehold properties. We are helping to support them in moving to appropriate premises.

“Detailed discussions with businesses north of White Hart Lane have yet to take place, and we look forward to working with them in the future.

“We recently balloted our residents, who voted ‘yes’ to progress with the High Road West scheme. This will deliver 500 affordable, high-quality council homes along with a major regeneration of the area, including a new health centre, library, open spaces and employment opportunities that will benefit a large number of people in the local area.”