Saturday, 6 December 2014

Demolition City: Tottenham Hotspur, Love Lane, White Hart Lane new Stadium, Haringey Council

Demolition City: What will a new stadium for Spurs mean for Tottenham residents? 

Love hurts down the Lane

By Paul Coleman

"Being a Spurs fan doesn't mean I agree with what the club are doing"
- Vincent Gillespie, lifelong Tottenham Hotspur fan.
Photo: © Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, 2014
(Saturday, 6 December)

Vincent Gillespie stands outside his beloved Tottenham Hotspur in dazzling sunshine.
Gillespie sports a traditional wool scarf, decked in the football club’s navy blue and white colours.
Gillespie, aged 66, born in Tottenham - and a resident of the nearby Chestnut Estate - has supported his local north London football club as a season ticket-holder for over 50 years.
This dedicated Spurs supporter is one of 36,000 fans about to fill the famous club’s 115-year-old White Hart Lane stadium.
As a Spurs fan, Gillespie hopes that Spurs will beat rivals, Crystal Palace, in this afternoon's English Premiership clash.
But, as a Tottenham-born resident, Gillespie believes Tottenham Hotspur Football Club - the business - is “a disgrace”.
“Both the club and the local authority – Haringey Council – don’t give a damn about the people who've lived in Tottenham all of their lives,” says Gillespie.

'Major sport-led regeneration'
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2014

'Sport-led regeneration'
So, before clicking through the stadium turnstile, Gillespie adds his voice to those of a small band of local residents.
They’re gathered on the pavement outside a local library over the road from the stadium.
Their mission is to try and win the match-day hearts and minds of thousands of passing Spurs fans. 
They want the fans to support their protest against plans by Spurs and Haringey that will likely demolish and redevelop hundreds of council homes (publicly subsidised housing).
Tottenham Hotspur’s current owners and Haringey’s existing political leaders believe the club’s new 56,000-capacity ‘world class stadium’ – to be built on a site acquired adjacent to the club’s longstanding home – will bring ‘new jobs, new shops and new homes’ to this part of Tottenham.
Haringey and Spurs herald the new stadium and its plans for the surrounding High Road West and Northumberland Park areas as ‘major sport-led regeneration for Tottenham’.
The new stadium might not be ready until at least mid-2018.
Nobody from Tottenham Hotspur Football Club was available for comment.

Love Lane 
Indeed, many local residents, like Gillespie, originally supported the club’s expansion plans.
But, like many other local residents, Gillespie now believes that Spurs’ stadium ‘regeneration’ plan threatens hundreds of council tenants and leaseholders, local shops and businesses.
For instance, a new fans’ walkway from White Hart Lane railway station to the new stadium could mean the demolition and redevelopment of 300 publicly subsidised homes on the Love Lane council housing estate.
Campaigners under the banner of ‘Haringey Defend Council Housing’ say the walkway would also destroy the library, a medical centre, and 120 businesses on the nearby Peacock Estate.
HDCH says another 1,000 homes on the Northumberland Park estate to the east of Spurs’ ground might also face demolition.

Part of the Love Lane estate that stands in the path of a new Spurs walkway.
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2014

In September 2014, Haringey Council state in a press release that 'all secure council tenants on the Love Lane Estate would be guaranteed a new home in the new development'.
The Council says it will aim 'to phase the work so residents only have to make one move -with their neighbours - into their new home'.
Councillor Alan Strickland, Haringey's Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration says: "I share residents' passion to use this once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our community for the better, and I hope that as many people as possible have their say.'
Earlier, in March 2014, Love Lane residents had urged Haringey to provide them with a 'fair share of the benefits of the redevelopment, adequate compensation, affordable choices, and for residents to be treated sensitively and to be taken seriously'.

But no development partner for Love Lane has yet been announced - and HDCH supporters ardently fear Spurs wider regeneration plans will replace council homes with luxury apartments totally unaffordable for most local people.
They say regeneration will mean that local people, who have lived in their traditional Tottenham neighbourhood for generations, will face eviction or compulsory purchase, dispossession, displacement and the break-up of their long-standing family, social and community networks.
In short, Gillespie and other residents see a future blighted by uncertainty, financial stress and misery.

Lose homes
“The Council should have put resources into this area years ago," says Gillespie. "Not just  now, because the football club wants new facilities.
"They don’t give a damn about the people who’ve lived in Tottenham all their lives.
"Being a Tottenham fan doesn't mean I agree with what the club is doing. 
Gillespie, a former councillor himself, hopes other Spurs fans will think beyond just being a Spurs supporter.
"I hope Spurs fans will think about the Tottenham people who could lose their homes."

A full version of this story will be published in due course on London Intelligence.

© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, December 2014

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