Tottenham Hotspur has announced their new stadium will now not be ready until mid-March at the earliest, causing further uncertainty to the local community.
Their new ground has been plagued by delays due to problems surrounding its critical safety systems, with the club now drawing up a new schedule of test dates and sign-offs with the contractors and Haringey Council.
Daniel Levy, Tottenham chairman, apologised for the delays and thanked fans for their ‘continued patience.’
‘We shall now seek clarity in respect of building test schedules and test event dates and provide further information on these in the next two to three weeks,’ he added.
Community activist Martin Bell told Environment Journal that the delay could be a ‘positive’ as it gives local community groups more time to negotiate with the council around proposed matchday changes that will see large swathes of the area surrounding the ground closed on match days.
‘If implemented, these proposals would make residents prisoners in their homes on match days,’ he said.
Leaked council memos seen by The Observer last month revealed that the club believe the area around the ground was not an ‘acceptable environment’ for their supporters, and excessive litter will have a negative effect on the clubs’ image.
However, the club, who have so far spent £850m on the stadium, has apparently made it ‘very clear’ that they are not willing to fund extra clean up costs on matchday.
‘The delay could enable Haringey Council to get a better deal for residents and traders, especially if they can make Spurs pay the full cost if the post-match cleaning,’ said Mr Bell.
At the centre of the new stadium’s development is the social housing estate, Love Lane, which is due to be demolished.
The council says the demolition will improve access from the train station to the stadium and provide new housing. But its residents have suffered years of uncertainty, with many decanted from their homes.
Speaking to NewStart last year, Dr Mark Panton criticised the club, saying ‘there’s not been much engagement [with the local community]’ and likened the stadium to a ‘Trojan Horse for much more demolition and development.’