Tottenham get green light to develop White Hart Lane from Boris Johnson
TOTTENHAM Hotspur's plans to redevelop their White Hart Lane stadium have been given the green light by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
GREEN LIGHT: Tottenham are given the go-ahead to redevelop their existing White Hart Lane stadium despite a bid to move to the Olympic Stadium
Johnson has approved the plans for the £460m Northumberland Development Project (NDP) ensuring Spurs overcome the final hurdle in rebuilding their 111-year-old home on an adjacent site.
Johnson said in a letter to Haringey Council: "I am content to allow Haringey Council to determine the case itself, subject to any action that the Secretary of State may take, and do not therefore wish to direct refusal or to take over the application for my own determination."
With plans for redevelopment at an advanced stage, Tottenham's bid to move into the Olympic Stadium in Stratford has been questioned amid suggestions it's a mere bargaining tool to push through the NDP.
But according to the club that will not put the brakes on their bid to move into the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and non-executive director Sir Keith Mills confirming the north London club are still keeping their options open.
The cost of redeveloping their current stadium has escalated in recent months and poor transport links, combined with the relatively cheaper option of the Olympic Stadium ensures Spurs' intentions to move to Stratford are genuine.
Mills, who is also London 2012 deputy chairman, believes West Ham - Spurs' rivals to move into the Olympic Stadium - remain favourites, provided their bid ‘stacks up economically'.
West Ham, whose bid is backed by Newham Council, intend to keep the athletics track in the stadium whereas Spurs, backed by AEG, do not.
The post-2012 tenant must honour an athletics legacy, pledged by Lord Coe and the 2012 bid team to the International Olympic Committee upon securing the Games, but that does not mean the track must stay in its current state.
Spurs could improve the warm-up track adjacent to the Olympic Stadium or redevelop the out-dated athletics stadium in Crystal Palace - the home of the London leg of the IAAF Diamond League meet.
Johnson's green light, which can still be reversed by the government, will come as good news to Tottenham fans, a large proportion of which are opposed to moving to Stratford.
Spurs supporters have started an anti-Stratford campaign under the banner ‘We Are N17' and have acquired the support of more than 2,100 fans to date, including Tottenham MP David Lammy.
Johnson's approval for the White Hart Lane development project is also unsurprising - given that Haringey Council have already approved it - but the Mayor of London is in favour of Spurs' move to Stratford, according to Lammy.
Lammy believes that both Johnson and Mills want Tottenham to move to the Olympic Stadium for financial reasons and both have influential voices in Olympic circles.
Mills is London 2012 deputy chairman and Johnson sits on the board of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, the organisation responsible for deciding the future of the stadium.
The OPLC intend to sign with the post 2012 tenant by the end of the financial year while Mills believes a provisional winner will be decided by Christmas.