THE BATTLE for the Olympic Stadium has been thrown open again after Tottenham succeeded with an appeal for a judicial review of the decision to award the venue to West Ham.
A High Court judge yesterday ruled Tottenham and Leyton Orient, who are co-applicants, had an “arguable” case for a review, which could annul the original decision and is set to be heard in October.
Spurs succeeded at the second time of asking, having had a request for a review rejected earlier this year.
The north Londoners could yet drop their legal challenge altogether and return to their original aim of building a new stadium next to their existing ground, White Hart Lane.
But they would need assurances of public sector funding to help meet the costs of significant local infrastructure improvements that chairman Daniel Levy says has added £200m to the bill. Tottenham are understood to be in advanced negotiations with Mayor of London Boris Johnson over a cash injection from his office. However Johnson is only likely to offer around £8m, which in itself would not come close to off-setting the cost of remaining in the Tottenham area.
The club has also made an application for a Regional Growth Fund to help with building a new 56,000-seater stadium in nearby Northumberland Park.
In a further twist, West Ham claim Tottenham offered to back down if the Hammers withdrew a complaint to police about Spurs allegedly using a private investigator to probe their bid and staff. West Ham added that they rejected the offer.
West Ham were unanimously voted the preferred bidder ahead of Tottenham by the Olympic Park Legacy Company in February.
ON THE face of it, Tottenham’s success in the High Court flies in the face of suggestions they are about to drop their legal battle for the Olympic Stadium. However, what it also does is markedly strengthen their hand in negotiations with the Mayor’s office and local and central government over funding for a new stadium in Haringey. The longer they pursue the case, the more it threatens to embarrass politicians, councillors and the OPLC, who must all be desperate for this saga to go away. Don’t be surprised if Spurs do drop the case – but only when they are happier with the level of help from the public sector.