A LEGAL wrangle is set to see Tottenham Hotspur rendered homeless after the club was yesterday forced to tear up plans over the proposed timing of a move to its new stadium.
The news comes as a bitter blow to the north London side which had hoped to be fully installed in a fresh 56,250-capacity home at Northumberland Park by the start of the 2017/18 campaign.
Spurs’ stadium project appeared on course in July when a compulsory purchase order of the land earmarked for the complex, which is adjacent to White Hart Lane and includes the ground on which their current stadium stands, was confirmed by the Secretary of State.
The order allowed work to begin but seven years after the plans for a new stadium were revealed, negotiations with one remaining landowner are still no closer to reaching a mutually satisfactory conclusion.
The club must now appear in the High Court after Archway Sheet Metal Works Ltd, owned by the Josif Family who have staunchly opposed the plans since their inception, exercised a right to appeal the order.
This High Court challenge has resulted in a changed construction programme which means the Premier League club are likely to have to play their home games away from White Hart Lane, Tottenham’s home since 1899, for a season.
“Given the lengthy period of time taken to reach the CPO decision in the first place, we would like to advise supporters that it is highly unlikely we shall be able to open the new stadium at the start of the 2017/18 season,” read a statement on the official Tottenham Hotspur website.
“The club has revised its construction programme in order to take the shortest possible time to construct. This now, therefore, involves the club moving away from the Lane during construction for a period of one season, to start at the beginning of a season in order to comply with Premier League rules.”
Despite losing out to West Ham in a bid to move to Stratford, the Olympic Stadium – which will become the Hammers’ permanent home ahead of the 2016/17 campaign – has been mooted as a possible solution.
By the time Spurs require temporary residence, West Ham will be in situ as an established tenant which might present a potential stumbling block for co-habitation, with Wembley and Stadium MK – which is situated nearly 50 miles from White Hart Lane – also said to be under consideration as viable alternatives.
“Clearly all possible options have pros and cons and we are aware that we shall not be able to find one which will please all parties,” continued the statement on the club’s website.
“We shall, however, seek to find the optimum solution for the club and our supporters and we shall be sharing our deliberations with our supporters at an appropriate time.”