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Agenda item

Tottenham Hotspur FC Stadium Redevelopment (Northumberland Development Project) - Revising the s106 Agreement to support a viable development scheme

Minutes:

Marc Dorfman, Assistant Director, Planning, Regeneration and Economy, introduced the way in which the applications would be presented. Resolutions for the three reports would be passed at the end of proceedings, after full discussion and deliberation of each item. An addendum sheet had been circulated, which outlined that a new appendix 1 to agenda item 6 had been tabled, and also set out a proposed additional condition to agenda item 8 in respect of the provision of details for disabled access and advised of a correction to agenda item 9, Table 1 Row 3, column 3 where the figure should read 733m² instead of 15,000m² as stated in the original report.

 

Mr Dorfman gave a brief presentation on the details of the site and its location, the existing consented scheme and of the proposed changes represented by the reports before the Committee at this meeting. An outline of the three reports was presented. Mr Dorfman emphasised that the planning authority was obligated to consider issues of viability; that an independent assessment had been undertaken on behalf of the Council in respect of viability of the scheme, and a range of proposals had been brought forward to address the overall viability and deliverability of the scheme. The officer recommendation for all three reports was to grant consent.

 

Terry Knibbs gave a presentation on the proposed revisions to the s106 agreement for the Northumberland Development Project, and advised that these revisions formed a key element of the viability of the scheme overall. It was the officer view that key impacts (identified as highway capacity and parking, improved access to stations, reducing the impact on buses and achieving a mode share target of 77% of journeys not being made by car, the impact of match day crowds and TV reception) would continue to be addressed; alternative funding arrangements would relieve some of the previous funding obligations, non-funding obligations remained in place and were in parts strengthened under the revised agreement.

 

It was proposed that the requirement for 50% affordable homes in the development be deleted. As a result of funding regime changes for affordable housing, the provision of affordable housing would have a negative impact on the viability of the scheme. The Council’s planning policy permitted flexibility in respect of affordable housing provision, subject to viability, and also encouraged developing a broad housing mix. It was noted that Northumberland Park currently had a high proportion of social housing, and that the creation of open market homes in the area would broaden the mix of housing locally.

 

In respect of school place funding, it was recommended that the requirement for this funding be deleted in the revised s106 agreement. On the basis that the homes to be provided under the new outline planning application would all be open market, and the likelihood that the majority of these would be 1 and 2 bedroom units, it was anticipated that the number of children occupying the development would be reduced. It was further reported that separate arrangements were in place to increase primary school capacity.

 

New obligations added under the revised s106 agreement were the use of ‘enabling’ development value to support the Stadium, and the offer of a space to successor body to the PCT or an approved public sector healthcare provider to be used as a healthcare centre.

 

Mr Knibbs reported that Grant Thornton had been commissioned to undertake an independent assessment of the viability of the scheme; they had confirmed the existence of a funding gap in the development as consented and advised that the proposed revisions, including the revision of the s106 agreement, gave a reasonable prospect of a viable and deliverable scheme.

 

Mr Ledden gave a verbal update; further to paragraph 6.5 of the report, Counsel’s advice had now been obtained in respect of state aid regulations, and that under the proposed revisions to the s106 agreement, the question of state aid should not be taken as arising.

 

The Committee asked what obligations in the revised s106 could be enforced in the event that the stadium was built elsewhere. Mr Knibbs advised that the phasing was such that obligations associated with Phase 1 (Northern Development) would be payable were the stadium not built on the site, but that the rest of the obligations were triggered by the letting of the stadium construction contract. It was noted that the club had made clear public announcements around their commitment to staying in Tottenham and it was further noted that there was now an additional s106 obligation requiring THFC to demonstrate how any land / development value at the Southern and Northern developments would contribute towards the stadium delivery.

 

The Committee asked about obligations payable to Enfield, and Mr Knibbs advised that the requirement to enter into an agreement with Enfield to fund a CPZ and highway improvements remained in place under the revised s106. The requirement in respect of a payment to Enfield for schools improvements was proposed to be deleted – Enfield had been consulted in regard to this but had yet to respond. It was confirmed that under the existing s106, this payment was not enforceable. The Committee noted the conclusions made by Grant Thornton, and asked what the risks were that they referred to in their report. Mr Knibbs explained that these related to external funding risks such as the delivery of the naming rights sponsor and bank lending.

 

The Committee asked how it would be possible to enforce obligations to ensure that a minimum of 77% of spectators travelled by non-car means to the ground for the main part of their journey, and for local labour; Mr Knibbs advised that there was an obligation on the club to undertake an annual travel survey, and that they would only be relieved of obligations in respect of this issue once the target had been met for 5 consecutive seasons. In respect of local labour, the club would be required to report regularly to the Council on how it was approaching this and the Council would also set out detailed expectations with regard to what the club should be doing, It was clarified that “local labour” in this case specifically referred to Tottenham.

 

The Committee asked about the annual monitoring contribution for travel plans, THPT plan, LAMP and Open Space Management Plan; it was reported that the Council was coordinating existing monitoring resources in order to reduce costs. The Committee asked about the community events under non-funding obligations, whether the number indicated was a minimum or maximum and also who would control the nature of such events. Mr Knibbs advised that the revised s106 agreement would increase the number of community events from a minimum of 6 per year to a minimum of 12 per year. These events would be organised by the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and the programme drawn up in consultation with the Council each year.

 

The Committee asked about the proposed deletion of the education contribution, and noted that, whilst there were arrangements in place to increase primary provision in the area, the children living at the site could be of any age. Mr Knibbs advised that, whilst the focus to date had been on primary capacity, the Southern development was not due for occupation until 2017/18 and further proposals would be brought forward on the basis of an annual review. In the context of the other benefits the scheme would bring, and the estimated reduction in the number of children occupying the site as a result of the other changes to the s106, it was felt that the loss of the education contribution was acceptable.

 

Mr Michael Clayden, Northumberland Park School, addressed the Committee with some concerns regarding the development, although made clear that overall he and the school were very supportive of the wider benefits to the local area that the scheme would bring. Mr Clayden sought reassurances that previous proposals for a service road from Park Lane, safe and attractive access across the new stadium site except during matches, the rebuilding of the full length of the school’s boundary wall at the club’s expense to maintain security and the layout of the north east quadrant of the space around the stadium such that it could be used as an extension to the school’s supervised informal play facilities would not be adversely impacted on by the revised applications being considered at this meeting. Mr Clayden asked that provisions in respect of all of these issues be added to the conditions of any approval. In respect of the proposals for parts of the site to be used for education purposes, Mr Clayden requested that there should be a requirement for arrangements regarding the management of the control and conduct of pupils leaving their place of education and in the immediate vicinity to be jointly planned with existing education providers on the site, and that access to any new education provision be designed to minimise adverse interaction. Finally, Mr Clayden sought a condition requiring urgent provision of suitable controlled crossing arrangements in Tottenham High Road, taking account of the students attending the school in the interim period during construction and in the long term.

 

Cllr Alan Strickland, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Social Inclusion, addressed the Committee in support of the recommendations of the report. Cllr Strickland advised that the scheme was a critical element of the future of Tottenham and needed to be brought forward. The economic downturn had negatively affected the viability of the scheme as consented, and the options for now delivering the scheme were either to wait until economic conditions improved, or look at how to address the issues – the importance of this scheme for the wider area made it clear that waiting was not an option. The recommendations set out in the report in respect of the s106 were the culmination of a long period of negotiations regarding viability and the Committee was asked to approve the report.

 

The Committee asked whether it was possible to link the concessions in obligations such that they were conditional on the stadium being delivered, and also whether, were it possible for a quid pro quo such as shares in the club being offered, such an arrangement would be welcomed. Cllr Strickland advised that the proposed phasing of the development addressed the issue of making concessions conditional on the building of the stadium. He emphasised that what was on offer was a £400m regeneration project and that lengthy negotiations with the Council, club and GLA had taken place at which various options had been considered and what was put forward was strongly felt to be the best of the options. 

 

Mr Ledden advised the Committee that the acceptance of shares in the club in lieu of planning obligations may raise issues of bias, as the use of planning powers for economic gain. In respect of the issue around making concessions conditional on the construction of the stadium, Mr Ledden advised that the proposed housing development was on the site of the existing stadium, and therefore a replacement stadium would need to have been delivered in order to build the housing. Mr Ledden advised the Committee not to pursue the issue of shares or of making concessions on obligations conditional on delivery of the stadium.

 

The Committee asked whether other regeneration projects in the area were waiting on the delivery of the Northumberland Development Project, in response to which Cllr Strickland reported that it was expected that there would be a ripple effect, bringing wider regeneration benefits. The Committee asked whether there had been a scaling back in the plans for the stadium development to match the reduction in obligations which was now being sought. Cllr Strickland advised that there had been a significant joint exercise between the Council and the club on how to improve viability.

 

Cllr Bevan, Cabinet Member for Housing, addressed the Committee in support of the recommendations of the report and the planning applications later on the agenda. Cllr Bevan thanked the design panel for their input and advised that the existing Council policy on housing reflected a need for a greater mix of housing, which would be achieved by the proposed revision to the s106 agreement. In respect of affordable housing provision, Council policy was flexible and took financial viability into account, which was the case in respect of this proposal. Cllr Bevan advised that there had been a complete change in the way social housing was funded by Government since the previous consent. Lyn Garner, Director of Place and Sustainability, confirmed that previously HCA funding for affordable housing was £130k per unit, but this had now reduced for certain types of development to £25k per unit, and for developments such as this, no funding at all would be received for affordable housing, the cost of which had to be supported entirely by the development itself. In response to a question regarding increased rents, it was confirmed that this would be permissible but such a decision would be subject to the Council’s housing policy; at the present time, the Council was not minded to accept rents at this level.

 

The Committee took a 10-minute break at 8.30pm and reconvened at 8.40pm.

 

A number of local residents addressed the Committee in support of the development. Derek Lewis, a local resident, local businessman and representative of the Tottenham Traders Partnership reported that he and the Tottenham Traders Partnership fully supported the development in its entirety and that delivery of the scheme needed to start as soon as possible.

 

Burk Gravis, Haringey Sports Development Trust, advised that he worked with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and that the benefits of having the club on board included the obvious physical regeneration but also employment opportunities for local young people, which was vital. Mr Gravis advised that all the Foundation’s events were fully risk assessed and well-managed, and that the programmes brought money back to Haringey. As well as delivering one of the three best stadiums in London, this development would have the benefit of providing a wide range of beneficial activities outside of match days.

 

Martin Laheen, local resident and community volunteer, expressed support for the positive impacts the scheme would have in respect of local employment and the work of the Foundation, and advised the Committee to support all of the recommendations. Mr Laheen emphasised that it was important for the local community to be kept informed throughout the process.

 

Nicky Price, Tottenham Carnival, urged the Committee to enable the development to move forward as this was essential for Tottenham and Haringey as a whole. Mr Price advised that local businesses were already closing down and that if progress were not made now, there would be further negative impacts on local people. The scheme would bring business and investment to the area and would enable Tottenham to prosper.

 

Donna Cullen and Paul Phillips addressed the Committee on behalf of the applicants, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Ms Cullen, an Executive Director, expressed to the Committee the club’s absolute commitment to the Northumberland Development Project and the significant investment by the club in the project to date. This scheme was felt to be the most important of the regeneration projects in Tottenham; there was a need to increase confidence in the area and get a sense that things were happening, in order to stimulate investment. Ms Cullen advised that she was also a trustee of the Foundation, and that it was hoped that the Committee would see the Foundation’s work as a sign of the club’s commitment  to the local community; the facilities proposed in the development would enable the work of the Foundation to flourish. Ms Cullen noted that any major scheme required public sector support, and that the club was delighted to have reached a proposed scheme which, if approved at tonight’s meeting, would enable the whole project to move forward. There was a real opportunity to make progress.

 

Mr Phillips assured the Committee that the original proposals in respect of fencing for the boundary with Northumberland Park school remain unchanged, and that the club had no concerns in respect of the proposals for the shared space being used by the school subject to a management plan. With regards to safety for pupils accessing the site, it was reported that there were proposals for pelican crossings at the two raised podia to improve the current situation, and that it was confirmed that travel plans were in place to address issues of road safety for the interim period during construction of the scheme. In response to questions regarding savings being made by the club to match proposed concessions in planning obligations, Mr Phillips assured the Committee that they looked at every aspect of their design process to identify savings on an ongoing basis. The proposed revised application for the Southern development was felt to be more sensitive and offer an improved aspect onto Park Lane, and both applications presented an opportunity to increase commercial, job-creating floor space and to improve the viability of the scheme. 

 

Mr Phillips advised that the development would be a catalyst for greater change in the area, creating a snowball effect, with more homes and jobs being created in Tottenham. It was reported that the revised s106 agreement was a vital public sector ingredient which would enable the delivery of private investment to move the project forward. The Committee were asked to approve the recommendations before them.

 

The Committee asked about the way in which the space above the supermarket would be used, and also how the space offered to the PCT or its successor would be used in the event that it was not taken up by a healthcare provider. With regards to the proposed education use of the space above the supermarket, Mr Phillips reported that this was an area of 50,000 sq feet with 2 courtyards and had been designed to be a very flexible space; discussions had taken place regarding using the space for school use, a 6th form provision and University Technical College – the key was the flexibility of the space, which could facilitate a range of uses. In respect of the health centre, it was advised that it was not anticipated that this would be ready for occupation for 5-6 years, in which time it was hoped that the opportunity to fund health services at this location would be possible, but would depend on circumstances at that time. Again, it was reported that this would be a very flexible space able to accommodate a range of potential uses, were a health provider not forthcoming. In the period before this aspect of the scheme was delivered, work would take place to identify appropriate occupiers of the site.

 

The Committee asked whether the proposed revisions to the s106 took into account the possibility that other aspects affecting the viability of the scheme, such as naming rights, might exceed expectations. Mr Phillips responded that the s106 agreement was just a part of a wider exercise around viability; while the naming rights figure could be higher or lower than expected, the construction and development costs could also increase or decrease, with a probability that costs would increase. The club needed to work to balance the various increases and decreases in costs and funds throughout the term of the project as best it could. Given this, the Committee asked about the significance of the reduction in s106 obligations, when this saving may well be offset by rising costs elsewhere, in response to which Mr Phillips advised that it was not possible to look at one particular element of the development in isolation, it was necessary to challenge every cost across the project, regardless of its size, in order to maintain control and viability of the scheme.

 

The Committee asked whether the current economic climate meant that favourable agreements could be reached with contractors. Mr Phillips advised that this was the case, and wherever opportunities to realise savings had arisen, these had been taken. On a day to day basis the club was working to manage every aspect of the costs of the scheme.

 

The Committee asked for reassurance that the proposed changes did not have an impact on the club’s arrangements with regards to protection against terrorism, and that these remained robust. It was reported that in developing the original proposals the club had liaised with the police and reviewed all elements of the scheme with specialist terrorism officers; recommendations made by the police had been incorporated into the design. The Committee was assured that none of the new proposals diminished the previous work on terrorism undertaken by the club and police.

 

The Committee asked for the club’s response to the suggestion that share capital be transferred to the Foundation to reflect the planning obligations, and also the suggestion that the affordable housing obligation be reinstated, were the stadium not delivered. Mr Phillips responded that, were the stadium not delivered in Tottenham, this would leave a 17-acre development site; in this case, a completely new scheme was likely to come forward to maximise the potential of the entire site. The Committee was advised that the issue of shares could not be considered as this was not a planning matter.

 

In response to a question from the Committee regarding the durability of the proposed landscaping and street furniture, Mr Phillips advised that there had been no reduction in development quality to meet cost targets, and that the high quality of every element of design was maintained under the current proposals. It was reported that matches were categorised according to risk and the level of police resource required; in recent years there had been very little evidence of damage caused by football crowds and it was anticipated that the provision of high quality facilities would encourage people to respect their surroundings even more.

 

 

 

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