Pickles approves land deal for Tottenham stadium scheme

Out-Law News | 14 Jul 2014 | 5:12 pm | 1 min. read

Secretary of state for communities and local government (SoS) Eric Pickles has approved a land acquisition order that will allow Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (THFC) to proceed with the final two phases of its plan for the redevelopment of the site of its stadium in north London.

Haringey Council granted planning permission for THFC's plans for the redevelopment of the site of its White Hart Lane football stadium in September 2010 and approved revisions to the scheme in February 2012. Proposals include the demolition of the stadium and several buildings and their replacement with a new 56,250 seat stadium, 200 homes and a 150 room hotel. A food-store, a club shop and an enlarged public square are also included in the proposals.

The Council made a compulsory purchase order in July 2012 to enable the acquisition of land for the scheme. Following objections from several parties whose land would be acquired under the order, a public inquiry was held by planning inspector David Nicholson in March and April 2013.

The inspector recommended that the order should not be confirmed by the SoS. The inspector said that, although the scheme would bring economic benefits and the harm caused by the loss of historic buildings would be offset by improvements to the character of the area, the benefits were reliant on new infrastructure which would be paid for with public money. In the inspector's view, the need for public funding meant that the benefits of the scheme did not outweigh the interference with human rights caused by allowing land to be purchased against the will of landowners.

Pickles said in his decision letter (7-page / 129 KB PDF) on 11 July: "[The SoS] disagrees with the inspector in his view that reliance on public funding to deliver the scheme would negate the benefits to the well-being of the areas and that the source of funding should be given more weight than the overall benefits to the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area that will be realised by the confirmation of this order."

"The proposed purpose of the order, including the redevelopment and regeneration of the area, will significantly contribute to the achievement of the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the area," wrote Pickles, "and ... this is so notwithstanding the contribution from the public purse."

Despite agreeing with the inspector that an undertaking by THFC to deliver 100 affordable dwellings under the scheme, in order to meet local requirements for 50% of new housing to be affordable, was "deficient", Pickles considered that the scheme was generally in accordance with the local planning framework.

Confirming the order, the SoS was satisfied that "there is a compelling case in the public interest to justify sufficiently the interference with the human rights of those with an interest in the land affected".