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Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium gets the all clear - but Pickles still has reservations

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Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium gets the all clear - but Pickles still has reservations

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Central Government, Communities, Housing

Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium gets the all clear - but Pickles still has reservations Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium gets the all clear - but Pickles still has reservations

Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium was held up by Eric Pickles because he was not satisfied with the level of affordable housing offered by the club as part of a revised package of community benefits, it has been revealed.

The Communities Secretary finally approved a compulsory purchase order for Archway Sheet Metal Works Limited on Friday enabling the 56,000-seat stadium to go ahead.

But in a letter to Haringey Council, the Department for Communities and Local Government said the secretary of state still has concerns over the club's "deficient" offer of 100 affordable homes as part of the club's revised 'unilateral undertaking' (UU) for the wider regeneration of the area, made in January.

The letter states: "The secretary of state considers that the UU of January 2014 is unacceptably vague, key terms are not adequately defined and it is likely to be unenforceable. It is regrettable that having explored the possibility of getting the original s106 package reinstated, which would have delivered significant benefits and put the balance beyond doubt in favour of confirmation, no such package has been received.

"In the absence of such a package the secretary of state has very carefully considered the fine balance as to whether or not there is a compelling case in the public interest to confirm the order."

However, it later added: "The secretary of state considers that the proposed purpose of the order, including the redevelopment and regeneration of the area, will significantly contribute to the achievement of the promotion or improvement of the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the area, and that this is so notwithstanding the contribution from the public purse. The secretary of state considers that the potential financial viability of the scheme has been demonstrated, and that no adequate alternatives exist in terms of achieving the purpose of the proposal."

But it goes on: "The secretary of state considers that the 2014 unilateral undertaking is deficient. The secretary of state considers that the purpose for which the land is being acquired fits in with the adopted planning framework for the area, and the planning context generally, save in respect of affordable housing.

"The secretary of state has concluded 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."

A borough-wide requirement of 50% affordable housing is included in Haringey's local plan. However this was waived to make the Tottenham stadium plans financially viable. But, the viability status of the project later changed and the level of affordable housing wasn't adjusted to reflect this.

The letter states: "The Inspector found that the council was entitled to omit the affordable housing requirement as otherwise the scheme as a whole would not be viable.

"This was on the basis of viability which subsequently changed and viability was no longer at issue. As a result of this change in relation to viability the secretary of state is of the view that the proposal does not accord with the requirement [of the local plan] and to this limited extent in his view the proposal does not accord with the planning framework."

Haringey Council said in a statement: “We note the secretary of state’s decision and will now be taking the time to study his comments in greater detail.”

Commenting on the decision, Tottenham Hotspur FC said: "The club is pleased to announce that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has confirmed the compulsory purchase order made by Haringey Council in respect of the remaining land required for the Northumberland Development Project. This is a very significant step in the CPO process.

"The club has used the intervening period productively and has refined detailed design of the stadium in order to ensure it is future-proofed and optimised."

The redevelopment proposals have had far reaching support from local MPs, the London Mayor’s champion for Tottenham and the chairman of the Independent Tottenham Taskforce.

They all consider the project important for bringing much needed private investment into one of the most disadvantaged areas of London.

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