The redevelopment of Tottenham Hotspurs FC’s stadium is an exciting prospect for fans and for local people who are expected to benefit from great improvements to the wider area. As with most major projects though, there have been numerous obstacles to the redevelopment proposals and one still remains in the form of a local business which occupies land adjacent to the stadium.
The family run business, Archway Sheet Metal Works, appealed against a public inquiry’s findings in April 2013 that it should be relocated using a compulsory purchase order (CPO). The final decision regarding the CPO is shortly expected to be made by DCLG Secretary Eric Pickles.
The use of a CPO raises an interesting question as to how a private business such as that controlling Tottenham Hotspur FC can seemingly get a CPO against another private business.
When Can CPOs be Used?
Compulsory purchase orders enable certain bodies to obtain land without the consent of the legal owner. These bodies are usually public bodies such as town councils or local authorities which normally use them for carrying out major infrastructure works such as the proposed HS2 rail link or new roads.
To make a compulsory purchase order, the body in question must be able to show that there is a compelling public interest in taking the land from the legal owner and that it is necessary to do so. The owner must be compensated to put them in the position before the land was purchased under the CPO.
So how did Tottenham Hotspur FC get a CPO against Archway Sheet Metal Works?
The Archway Sheet Metal Works CPO
Although on the surface it may appear as though it was Spurs that got a CPO against the family business, it was in fact the local council.
Haringey Council’s Cabinet agreed to carry out a compulsory purchase order (CPO) of land belonging to Archway Sheet Metal Works in 2012, so that it could hand the land to the club, along with other council owned land, and enable it to build a new 56,000-seater stadium.
Spurs had spent nearly a decade and over £100m buying up land and relocating neighbouring businesses in order to build its new stadium. Archway Sheet Metal Works had refused all of their offers to sell up.
With major redevelopments, it is certainly possible for private organisations to demonstrate a public interest in their plans. One can sympathise with smaller businesses that are affected and they may be able to appeal in certain circumstances, if the public interest is not sufficient for example.
Clearly in this case, the councillors that granted the original CPO and the public enquiry that followed both concluded that the proposals were in the public interest and acquisition of the land was necessary for them to go ahead. The final decision remains to be seen of course but it is expected that DCLG will allow the CPO.