While I wish I could say that these blogs are my full time work and provide all the cash I need for a rich and healthy lifestyle that would be to tell a quite enormous lie.
When not bleating about non-league football and trading in obscure soccer facts, I work full-time as a reporter for the Tottenham and Wood Green Independent. I enjoy it very much, not least because on my patch is a contender to be the next Premier League champion, albeit an outsider akin to Rocky Balboa or Mark de Mori.
Tottenham Hotspur are a good club on the whole – relatively welcoming to the press, involved in plenty of community activities, and they’re not doing too badly on the pitch either. Off the pitch, they’re having a good year too – they finally acquired planning permission last December for their new stadium, granted by Haringey Council.
Among the proposals green-lit were a 61,000-seater stadium, an extreme sports centre that could be up to 51ft tall, a 22-storey hotel, 585 houses and a “Tottenham Experience”. This includes a club shop, the ticket office, a cinema, museum, and reception for the “Sky Walk” which will allow people to walk on the stadium roof.
All very nice, you may think. Scratch the surface, however, and there are significant problems.
Out of the 585 dwellings being built, there are zero per cent that are affordable. The lack of affordable housing is in stark contrast to the building of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, where 1,500 affordable houses and 536 social houses were built. It is, for a major business in any industry in the year 2016, a complete scandal.
It’s not a good project for the history buffs either. Three listed buildings are to be demolished in order to widen the pavement for “crowd safety”. This was decided to be better than temporary road closures and elevated footways. Among the buildings to be demolished are the Dispensary and the Red House, public houses older than the club.
There are also environmental issues – Haringey’s planning policies call for major developments to provide 20 per cent of their energy needs from renewables like solar panels, but Spurs’ plans will only provide 0.3 per cent, less than one sixtieth of the target. This was waived aside casually by the council, which voted through the plans by eight votes to two.
So the stadium will begin construction in due course. The building of the stadium will take place between 8am and 8pm for seven days a week, incidentally. This was also declared acceptable by the council. I have no idea whether any families living nearby had a say in this time frame.
The new Spurs ground has been universally praised by fans and the media, and I am glad that Spurs are staying in Tottenham. It is a much better solution than upping sticks to the Olympic park – it’s bad enough they will be leaving for at least a season to Wembley, or even Milton Keynes.
Yet for a club that prides itself on being at one with one of London’s most deprived communities, there are a lot of facets to Spurs’ new ground that are shameful.