By STEPHEN MOORE
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
CAMPAIGNERS battling to convince Spurs to stay in Tottenham have been given a boost with news that London Mayor Boris Johnson wants to help kick-start regeneration and investment.
City Hall hopes to set up a “development corporation” in the area, giving it full say over planning decisions and helping encourage new private investment and entrepreneurs.
Politicians across the board have welcomed the move and hope it could help convince Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy to keep the club at White Hart Lane if more private investment emerges.
But Mr Levy said the new Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) is not enough of a guarantee for Spurs, whose continued presence in Tottenham is accepted as crucial to its recovery.
David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, was last week snubbed by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who declared Newham as London’s first enterprise zone despite Mr Lammy’s pleas on behalf of Tottenham.
An enterprise zone would bring further, longer-lasting benefits to businesses, including super-fast broadband.
Mr Lammy said: “I welcome the MDC for N17, but surely Tottenham deserved an enterprise zone? North London has lost out to East London once again.
“The Government seems utterly convinced that poverty and unemployment exist only in the East End. They don’t. The highest rate of unemployment in the capital is in Tottenham, where four out of five children are born into poverty. The Government need to recognise our case for investment and regeneration.”
Mr Lammy pledged to keep lobbying Mr Osborne to declare an enterprise zone for Tottenham in the next round of announcements this summer.
Councillor Claire Kober, Haringey Council leader, called the MDC “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.
She said: “We’ll be talking urgently to the Mayor’s office about how this can be achieved on the ground; how we can deliver business growth, along with better health and education facilities – plus improved transport links, leisure and cultural opportunities.”
She added she was “keen to see” Spurs’ huge redevelopment plan realised.
But, while he welcomed the MDC announcement, chairman Mr Levy said Spurs “firmly believe” that “greater” financial incentives than those offered are needed “in order to attract and retain businesses, enable viable developments and to create employment in an area which has low land values and the highest number of job seekers in London”.
On Spurs’ stadium plans, he added: “We continue to review our position and to investigate all possible options.”
The Liberal Democrats warned this regeneration attempt for Tottenham “must be better” than previous ones under the council’s leadership - but the Mayor, rather than Haringey Council, will ultimately be responsible for the MDC’s work.