Monday 6 November 2017

Spurs as both a Property Developer and Corporate Welfare client

I spotted the following blog on  Tottenham Hotspur's ventures into property development and given their stay at Wembley Stadium and our own experience of property developers thought readers might be interested, particularly where there are issues in common.  Thanks to Haringey Defend Council Housing LINK for permission to repost this article:

In a dramatic move, Tottenham Hotspur FC have announced plans for a new property development on land that Haringey Council promised on 9 October to the developer Lendlease.
Spurs say they want to build 330 new homes and a new public square Here is their promotional website: LINK

While Spurs and Lendlease scrap over development sites West of the Spurs Ground, Spurs are losing out over service charges and access to land on the East side of their Stadium, under a separate Lendlease development.

Lendlease were awarded the High Road West site at a Haringey Council Cabinet meeting on 9 October. The Love Lane council estate is to be demolished, and 2,500 high-value new homes built in the area. Lendlease are also the developer on the Eastern side, via the Haringey Development Vehicle.

Cllr Alan Strickland, Haringey’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Regeneration, promised at a recent Cabinet Meeting to buy Spurs’ land at High Road West, using compulsory purchase orders if necessary.  Will that promise now be carried through, we wonder?

This is the second time that Spurs has appeared as a property developer in its own right in North Tottenham, while continuing to demand ‘Corporate Welfare’ for its new Stadium.
Spurs have a major interest in the Northumberland Park school and the housing estates on the East side of the football stadium, where they are not getting their own way at all.

Their problem is that they expect Corporate Welfare: facilities for free, with added public subsidy.

The Club has a 99 year lease on a makeshift outside broadcast facility in the grounds of Dukes’ Aldridge Academy school , formerly the Northumberland Park Community School.

Spurs has aspirations for a proper, dedicated outside broadcast media facility, and also a Fan Zone, where those without tickets can watch the game on supersize outdoor display screens, and buy food and drink, etc.

Haringey Council, via the proposed HDV, which is to be half-owned and 100% managed by the developer Lendlease, proposes to move the school from behind the Spurs Ground. It is proposed to decant residents from council housing at Haynes Close, Charles Bradlaugh House and Robert Burns House, then demolish those blocks, and then build a new school there (p 1024 of cabinet papers for 3 July 2017, Public Appendices, Items 9 & 10: LINK

This is all to help Spurs out, but would take several years at least. Spurs might be thwarted, even then. A Fan Zone is currently proposed at a new Paxton Square which ‘can provide a robust and flexible paved area that would operate as a fan zone during stadium matches or events’ (p 877).

But this is a tiny area, just a few yards across, pinched between the back of the stadium and new high rise housing blocks, which could be 20 or more stories high (see image on p 1020).  It is more like a Paxton postage stamp. It is not dedicated to Spurs, but would be a public square with other suggested uses as well as the fan zone.  Presumably, makeshift barriers would be needed on match days, and its capacity would be inadequate for Spurs’ needs.

Spurs’ hoped-for Outside Broadcast Space is just an ‘Optionality’ which is ‘associated with the regeneration of Northumberland Park’… ‘The HDV will work with Tottenham Hotspur FC to find a suitable design solution for their outside broadcast space requirements. During the 100 day launch programme HDV will and consider alternative design solutions [sic].’

Nothing too definite, nothing at all on the indicative ground plans, and nothing until after the HDV has been launched.  While the HDV plans to build housing blocks right up to the back of the new Stadium.

For Spurs to have the Fan zone and the outside broadcast space they wanted, some of the developer’s proposed high rise housing could not be built, in a ‘neighbourhood that will target young professionals and creatives who are seeking a vibrant and active place to own or rent in a higher density environment’ (p 875); and p 1024 suggests that new housing built on the school playing fields would include 140 homes for tenants and resident leaseholders moving from Haynes Close/Charles Bradlaugh/Robert Burns.

Spurs wants facilities which would deny to the developer some of their potentially most lucrative residential sites.

Spurs may also have to pay hefty service charges for extra security, refuse and crowd management costs in the public realm on match days (p 945). 

These charges are  something really new – although locals have long complained bitterly about the hidden costs and inconveniences of the Spurs games. 

Spurs have erred badly by  designing a stadium which does not have the external broadcast and external fan zone facilities which they actually need.

    What next?

Maybe Spurs are using their development plan in the West as a bargaining ploy to get what they want in the East.  Maybe they do really want to build in the West. 

But either way, it is the community that will lose out from housing demolitions, and from house price and rent increases, that will drive local people from the area.

    Spurs as both a Property Developer and Corporate Welfare client  

Spurs are already acting as a property developer at the 500 White Hart Lane scheme, which gained planning consent on the casting vote of the Chair of the Committee Cllr Natan Doron (who is a leading Spurs supporter) on 12/09/16 for 144 dwellings, as well as employment and retail spaces. LINK

This Freedom of Information Request deals with Public subsidy to Spurs LINK

We know that Spurs asked Haringey Council and the GLA for £30.5 million towards the cost of the podium at the front of the new stadium, and in April this year this money was seemingly about to be made available from dedicated housing funds: LINK

The Council has denied that the money was ever paid: LINK

Leaving unanswered questions: LINK

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