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Foster and Aukett to go head-to-head again in Croydon

The bitter dispute over the future of the Croydon Gateway site looks likely to flare up into another public row this summer.

It looks increasingly likely that the two opposing sides - developer Arrowcroft with Michael Aukett, who are up against Stanhope with Foster and Partners - will go head-to-head in another public inquiry.

This hearing looks increasingly likely to see Stanhope - the majority landowner on the site and the holder of a planning permission for a mixed-use project - objecting to a Croydon Council-backed Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the land.

The council is backing the Arrowcroft/Aukett proposals for the site, mainly because as well as a large mixed-use element, they also include plans for an arena.

The row over the site has rumbled on for over five years, with both sides winning planning permission for the rundown and neglected site.

However, the Arrowcroft scheme has now been called in. And early indications suggest that the planning inquiry for these proposals could be held simultaneously to the CPO inquiry.

The stand-off has become increasingly frustrating for observers as the 4.5ha site is considered a key development for the London suburb's regeneration.

But the council has claimed that this hold-up will finally come to an end after this summer's double inquiry.

Croydon's cabinet member for regeneration Tim Pollard said: 'The council has long considered it is vitally important to take a proactive role to ensure the potential of the gateway site to contribute to Croydon's wellbeing is realised.

'Only something different and special will have the regenerative effects that Croydon deserves.

'The Arrowcroft scheme, with a multi-functional arena, will provide the step change the town needs and in turn will help foster a renewed identity for the town, a sense of pride among borough residents, and generate further new investment,' he added.

by Ed Dorrell

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