I am pleased to see that Stanhope intend to start work on the Gateway site later this year, thereby sticking a metaphorical two fingers up at the council's compulsory purchase order (CPO).
According to the Croydon Guardian, Stanhope will start work as soon as minor conditions are approved by the council.
Charles Walford from Stanhope Plc said:
"However we have everything we need to start - we own the land, we have finance, we have occupier interest and we have planning permission granted from the council."
Rather amusingly, Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for finance and regeneration whined:
"The council has always tried to have constructive dialogue with both Stanhope and Schroder and Arrowcroft but Stanhope seem determined to hold us back."
Can this be same the same council that doesn't want Stanhpope to build on the land?
Is this not the same council that has signed a contract with rival developer Arrowcroft?
Is this not the same council that is trying to impose a CPO on Stanhope's legitimate ownership of the land?
Is this not the same council (albeit under the guise of a Labour administration) that are referred to in the minutes of the Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions (1 November 2004). Where it was made very clear that the committee believed that the then Labour administration had a conflict of interest?
The minutes also note that the then Labour administration made the dispute between themselves and Stanhope personal. Sir Paul Beresford is quoted as saying:
"I just happen to have been given the Croydon Gateway report that you gave to your Labour group. It is quite abusive, it is personally abusive. I find it quite extraordinary...
It is the report that went to the Labour group on 5 February this year and it says:
'These so-called blue-chip developers have acted like irritable children when their toy has been snatched from them, whining and screaming to the press and anyone else who will listen.' Then it goes on to name a number of individuals, including Sir Stuart, but naming him with a rather abusive phrase, which I will not use, and others that have resisted or not agreed with you also get abusive names applied to them?..
Calling one of the individuals, that I have not named, 'Mr Slime' and another one 'Mr Dud'..
You are in a position where, certainly by the paper, you have got some personal difficulties with individuals, you want an Arena on the schemes and really you want Arrowcroft to do the development, so that, in essence, anyone else putting in an application, including the people that own the land, is wasting their time?.."
Therefore how can Councillor Pollard claim that the council have tried to have a "constructive" dialogue with Stanhope?
The council have done their very best to block Stanhope, and to remove them from the site and public consciousness.
Good luck to Stanhope, by commencing work on the site they will all but nullify the absurd CPO and stick a very well deserved two fingers up to the council who have failed the citizens of Croydon.
Let us develop the site now, and build a better brighter future for Croydon (with or without the council).