Spurs set for £8.5m Mayoral boost

Bus stop outside ground of Tottenham Hotspur FCThe London Mayor's office is to make a financial contribution to help persuade Tottenham Hotspur to stay in the borough of Haringey as a key part of the regeneration of the area. The news came on a day in which the club won the right to challenge the award of Stratford's Olympic Stadium to West Ham.
City Hall confirmed that "constructive negotiations" with the club and Haringey Council had taken place and said "we are hopeful a deal can be reached on building a new stadium on the current site". It is thought that some £8.5m will be made available immediately, possibly with more to follow.

That money looks likely to go towards meeting the section 106 costs of the scheme. Under this piece of legislation, any public building project needs to meet the associated costs of infrastructure, ranging from road and traffic management to education and housing requirements.

Planning costs

Since Spurs published plans to rebuild the current stadium and develop the surrounding area, the s106 costs have been the subject if intense negotiation. The club has given the impression that it thinks the costs have been ramped up to take advantage of the stadium project, while the local council has emphasised that s106 costs are a statutory part of any such project.

The club's bid for the Olympic Stadium in Stratford was believed to have been prompted in part by the fact that the Olympic Stadium would already have ben built and so there would be no s106 costs for the club. Reports last night were indicating that the council had relaxed some planning requirements.

The news came on a day in which Spurs and Leyton Orient won the right to a judicial review of the decision to award the Olympic Stadium to West Ham. The hearing will take place on 18 Oct after the judge ruled that there was "an arguable case" to be presented.

Olympic games

The Mayor's office is stressing that the cash offer is not tied into a deal which would see Spurs drop the legal challenge. But that challenge is known to have angered both local and central government, who will be anxious to resolve any issues around the stadium before the Olympics begins.

Indications are that the end game is underway, with all sides anxious to keep as strong a hand as possible while nailing down the detail. Much will rest on the regeneration aspects of the project, especially as the Mayor will be conscious of the political sensitivity of being seen simply to provide public money to a private company.

That's going to be an issue too for the club, with any community benefits claimed for the project sure to be closely scrutinised. This has always been a delicate balancing act between public and private cost and gain, with all parties playing a long game. But there are potential benefits for all.

Mayoral money

While the Mayoral money is not contingent on the dropping of the court action, it's hard to see how Spurs can keep pursuing a move to Stratford once resources have been given to a development in Tottenham. And for final planning permission to be granted, there must be a firm commitment.

Spurs will want to recoup some of the costs of the Stratford bid, and if they can cause problems for rivals West Ham that won't be unappealing. But if the club does drop the challenge and finally get on with the Tottenham stadium project, there will still be some very important outstanding questions.

Not least among those is what happens to Leyton Orient, whose challenge is based on what it sees as the threat to its very existence posed by another club on its doorstep? This story still has some way to run.

* (Declaration of interest: I am one of a small group of Spurs fans discussing a Community Share initiative with the club).

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