Spurs vs Archway Sheet Metal – no premier league fixture
16 February 2015 by Leon Pascal
On 17-18 February 2015, Mr Justice Dove will hear a High Court appeal brought by Archway Sheet Metal Works, the business standing as the remaining obstacle to Tottenham Hotspur’s £400m stadium redevelopment plans.
Despite spending £100m over the last ten years buying up the majority of the necessary land and amicably relocating more than 70 other businesses affected by the proposed development of the 56,000-seater stadium, Tottenham Hotspur have been unable to reach an agreement with Archway Sheet Metal Works in relation to their 25,000 sq. ft. site on Paxton Road, opposite the club’s current White Hart Lane ground.
Haringey Council did obtain a Compulsory Purchase Order (“CPO”) on behalf of Tottenham Hotspur in relation to the land occupied by Archway Sheet Metal Works in 2012; however it is this CPO that is now being challenged by Archway Sheet Metal Works at the High Court in February.
What is a CPO?
A CPO enables the acquiring authority to compulsorily purchase land to carry out a function which Parliament has decided is in the public interest. The party from whom the land is acquired is generally entitled to compensation.
The greatest users of compulsory purchase powers are Local Authorities and the Highways Agency and they are frequently used in relation to major infrastructure works such as the HS2 rail link. The body seeking to obtain a CPO must be able to show that it is in the public interest in taking the land from the legal owner and that it is necessary to do so.
Is it in the public interest to acquire the Archway Sheet Metal Works site?
Although it is clearly in the interest of Tottenham Hotspur to purchase the site that does not necessarily mean that it is also in the public’s interest, notwithstanding the fact that Tottenham Hotspur is a considerably larger private organisation than the small, family-owned Archway Sheet Metal Works.
It is, of course, easier for large private organisations to demonstrate that their proposals are in the public interest for example in this case by reference to the jobs created in relation to the building project itself and the long-term benefit to local businesses by virtue of the greater number of people visiting the new stadium. It is understood that new homes will be constructed on the current White Hart Lane site which, given the current housing shortage in London and the south-east, is also likely to be a convincing argument that the project as a whole is in the public interest.
The High Court proceedings
In light of the above it seems more likely than not that the High Court will decide in favour of Tottenham Hotspur, allowing the CPO to stand and forcing Archway Sheet Metal Works to relocate, paving the way for works to begin on the new stadium.
Archway Sheet Metal Works have indicated, however, that should the CPO not be withdrawn they would consider applying for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, the final court of appeal for civil cases in the UK. If a subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court is allowed, Tottenham Hotspur’s project would be delayed yet further and any remaining hopes of completing the new stadium in time for the kick-off of the 2018/19 Premier League season would almost certainly be over.
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