The watershed moment of Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium is here. After five and a half hours of deliberation, in a meeting that stretched out past midnight, the Haringey Council Planning Committee granted Spurs planning permission to move forward with their new stadium's development. Spurs' application was favored by an 8 to 2 margin and now the decision will be sent to the Mayor of London for final approval, a true formality at this point. While the decision is widely held as a positive for both the club and its surrounding neighborhood, the application wasn't without its fair share of naysayers and critics. Below are some complaints lodged during the meeting, as reported by This Is Local London:
Martin Ball, who lives in Bruce Grove, called the development a "monstrous economic pillage".
He said: "I am very proud that Tottenham Hotspur is staying in the borough, but it has metamorphosed into an abuse of people's rights. People will be living in the shadow of a silver monolith."
Paul Burnham, secretary of Haringey Defend Council Housing, said: "That out of 585 dwellings, there are zero per cent that are affordable, is an absolute scandal. This is part of a social cleansing plan directed at a poor community. You are going to make some very unhappy people even more unhappy."
Cllr. Joseph Ejiofor, who spoke while wearing a coat bearing the Spurs club crest, said: "It should not be a case of redevelopment at any cost. It is completely unacceptable that the club comes here and offers nothing. You cannot pass this with no social housing, it is just wrong."
These complaints piggy pack on the outrage voiced earlier this month about the proposed demolition of three Victorian Era Heritage Houses. Yet like those houses, which will be removed to widen the pavement surrounding the stadium for greater crowd safety, the development will go on regardless of public objection.
The core grievances seem to revolve around two factors. The first is the way the stadium is going to reshape the local neighborhood – which buildings will be destroyed, what businesses will be replaced or threatened, and how the aesthetics of the area will shift. The second factor centers around the creation of affordable public housing as part of the Northumberland Development Project.
While sensitivity is necessary to the longtime residents – these are their homes, their shops, and their livelihoods – it is difficult to argue that Spurs new stadium isn't a coup for the overall scope of the neighborhood. Individuals may feel burned by Tottenham Hotspur, but the community and collective likely won't. Further, this is change and this is technology. They happen, often for the better, and they don't wait for every single person to be onboard before they usher in a new era.
In terms of the affordable public housing initiative that seems to be falling by the wayside, well this is bad news anyway one spins it. Tottenham is not the epicenter of wealth in London and its residents tend to be on the lower end of the economic rung. It is inexcusable that Spurs have not met the proposed quotas of apartments and residences that will be accessible to the locality. This stance desperately needs to change. The club will bring both a cosmetic makeover and commerce to the neighborhood, they need to follow through and provide accessible housing to those most in need.
Yet an 8-2 vote, on any level of public governance, is a resounding victory for the initiative and an overwhelming amount of support for the project. Here are some positive things that people had to say at the forum, from the same This Is Local London article:
However there were members of the public who spoke in favour of the proposals, including Tony Brennan of Haringey Irish Centre.
He said: "We need capital to survive. Having a worldwide brand like Tottenham Hotspur nearby, their pulling power is a great benefit. It would make a huge difference to have extra match days and concerts in the new stadium."
Cllr. Joe Goldberg said in support of the development: "I think Spurs should be congratulated overall. What we have here is a proper leisure destination. It think it is achievable that the development could be the greatest place in Britain."
Donna Cullen, a trustee of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, said: "There are no jobs lost, just a lot of jobs created. The numbers are substantial. Where businesses had to move, it happened amicably and very politely."
"This is a great opportunity to bring about positive change. We want to be here for decades."
The development will create 890 new jobs in the construction, and between 820 and 1,030 additional jobs as part of the redevelopment. It was promised that these jobs would be "made available to Haringey residents in the first instance."
Tottenham's new stadium is projected to bring in 2 million visitors per year and create a £19.45 million annual boost to the local economy. Quite frankly, it is hard to argue with those numbers. Spurs are a truly worldwide brand that is growing exponentially. In twenty years the above figures might be conservative. Football has no boundaries and the phenomenon that is obsessively supporting a club, specifically a Premier League club with the stature of Tottenham Hotspur, is spreading across the globe like wildfire. And this burn will continue for years to come. That the venue will also hosts concerts and that close to 2,000 immediate jobs, offered first to Haringey residents, will be created for the stadium's construction and local redevelopment, are more examples of why this incredibly favorable news for the area.
Let the new era of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club begin.