Croydon issues compulsory purchase order at Gateway site in increasingly bitter battle with developer

Croydon Council struck developer Stanhope a heavy blow this week by serving a CPO notice on the Gateway site in East Croydon.

In a statement, the council said the CPO was essential to allow developer Arrowcroft, the council’s partner for the development of the site, to go-ahead with its proposed arena-led, mixed-use scheme.

The CPO is the latest move in an on-going and vicious battle between Croydon Council and Stanhope.

Most of the 13-acre site is owned by a Stanhope/Schroder consortium that wants to develop the site with residential, offices and a public park.

Croydon Council wants to put an arena on the site and prefers a proposal from Arrowcroft, which replaces the urban park with a stadium.

But Stanhope says a large arena is not commercially viable and refuses to incorporate one into its plans.

The council has been threatening compulsory purchase for the past 12 months in the hope that it might force a compromise between the two sides, but without success.

Stanhope says it will resist any attempts to buy the land.

Schroders reacted angrily to the Council decision. William Hill, Head of Property at Schroders said “I do not know whether to laugh or cry. This must be a first. A CPO brought by a Council to stop the immediate regeneration of derelict land by a willing, able and fully funded developer with construction scheduled to start in a matter of weeks.”

David Camp, chief executive of Stanhope, and development partner of Schroders said that the CPO would at least put the Arrowcroft arena proposals under the spotlight.

He said “As baffling as this all may seem, the benefit of the CPO starting is at long last the Arrowcroft arena proposals will be subject to some impartial and proper scrutiny.”

“Over five years on from the submission of the arena scheme for planning we still do not know who the arena operator is, where the funding for the scheme is coming from and the basis of the viability assessment carried out."