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CABE attacks Spurs stadium redevelopment plans


The government’s design watchdog has heavily criticised proposals to build shops and homes around a new 56,000-seat stadium for Tottenham Hotspur in North London

A ‘disappointed’ CABE said it could ‘not support the planning application’ for the massive Northumberland Development Project and, although supportive of the KSS-designed centrepiece stadium, was unhappy with the wider masterplan drawn up by MAKE and the landscape design by Martha Schwartz Partners.

The design review letter reads: ‘We are concerned that an overall masterplan for the site is not evident: the three components – the stadium, supermarket, and housing – feel like very separate projects without convincing spatial relationships between them.’

The commission felt particularly strongly about the proposed housing around the stadium, the massing of which it branded ‘eccentric and counterintuitive’ and worried about ‘overshadowing between the blocks [which] might compromise the new flats.’ It added: ‘We have serious reservations about the appropriateness of the architectural treatment and materials of the blocks to the north and south of the stadium.’

CABE also attacked the ‘basic box form’ of the planned supermarket, which it said was not ‘sufficiently ambitious’ and demanded that the roof should be more ‘carefully considered.’

The approach to the public realm was also criticised : ‘We have sympathy for the arguments for demolition of the listed and locally listed buildings that currently sit within the footprint of the arrival space and welcome the proposed programme of activities for the square. However, we cannot support demolition until the team has demonstrated that the design of the public open space that will replace the existing buildings works on every level and that the PPG 15 case has been made.’

However, according to a spokeswoman for the Premier League Football Club, which is backing the development, it is unlikely CABE’s comment will radically alter the design of the scheme. She said: ‘The ultimate answer is we think we have the right scheme for the area – a proposal, which has been worked on for years.’

Ken Shuttleworth, the founder of Make Architects, added: ‘We have enjoyed the dialogue with CABE and thank them for their comments on the scheme. Our role is to weigh up all the various views and we believe we have produced the right scheme.’

He concluded: ‘There are always a range of views on any project and our job is to ensure balance. We strongly believe our design is appropriate for the future needs of the wider Tottenham area and of the Club, and will create a long-lasting amenity which would benefit the whole community.’

To read the full design review, click here


A comment from Will Palin of conservation group SAVE Britain’s Heritage:

‘CABE has identified the obvious – namely that, stadium apart, the development proposals are a mess – poorly thought-through, no convincing masterplan, no understanding of how the site relates to its surroundings nor how the individual elements relate to one another. This is basically an out-of-town stadium plonked on an urban site.

‘We do not have sympathy for the arguments for demolition as we believe they are weak and flawed, however, it is good that CABE has recognised that until the whole south-west corner is reviewed and a convincing PP15 case made, demolition should not be considered. SAVE has always maintained that ‘an arrival’ space would be improved and enhanced by the retention of the historic buildings on the west side and the opening-up of the stadium to the south – giving a sense of context and enclosure. We have demonstrated this with our alternative scheme commissioned from Huw Thomas.’

Previous story (27.10.09)

MAKE and KSS submit Spurs stadium plans

Tottenham Hotspur’s proposed new 56,250-seat home in North London has taken a major step forward today

Masterplanners MAKE, together with arena designers KSS and landscape designers Martha Schwartz Partners have submitted a planning application for the massive Northumberland Development Project backed by the Premier League club.

The stadium will replace the club’s existing 36,000-seat White Hart Lane stadium with a new 63-row, single-tier stand, which could open as early as the 2012-13 season.

The scheme, which was lodged with Haringey Council, will also feature a new hotel, housing, club shop and supermarket.

Stadium architect David Keirle of KSS, said: ‘Throughout the whole design process we have continued to refine the designs to maximise stadium atmosphere, including a reduction in the space allocated to corporate areas in order to deliver the new single-tier stand. 

‘The acoustics will be excellent, with the bowl design helping to reflect sound back onto the pitch while the stadium architecture itself responds to the Spurs identity, using flowing lines and a gracefully undulating roof to create a visually stunning building.

He added: ‘It will be an exceptional place to watch football and a fantastic addition to this part of the High Road.’

A ‘tighter’ revised scheme was unveiled earlier this year.

Postscript 25.11.09

Tottenham Hotspur have put forward the club’s as-yet unbuilt stadium as a venue to host the 2018 World Cup - the first London club to do so.

Club officials have refused to disclose the price of the new stadium, although many expect a similar figure to the £400 million Arsenal spent on the Emirates project.

London United, the body that decides on the final roster of stadia, expects Arsenal and Wembley officials to join the bid in the next few days.



A new stadium with a 56,250 capacity. Spectators will ‘find themselves closer to the pitch’ than at any other major stadium in the UK

‘Vibrant’ public space around the arena, open and accessible at all times.

A public square, located on the High Road and including two amphitheatres for community events and activities.

A 150-bedroom hotel with restaurant, plus a café opening out onto the public square

Offices for the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation

A club museum together with a 2,000m² club shop.

A 8,000m² supermarket with parking

434 homes ‘providing a choice of high-quality living’, including 40 per cent affordable housing.

Significant improvements to the High Road, including investment in the architecturally significant listed terrace to the North


Readers' comments (2)

  • I love the single tiered stand - imagine the sound rolling off of that. I am a bit dissapointed at the club not pushing through the 60k capacity mark and would have thought for a club the size of Spurs that would have been a key briefing point...

    Anyway, even more delighted that they are staying on the same site and not relocating to a greenfield site.

    Think the proposal look awesome.

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  • This comment by CABE as ever doesn't demonstrate any understanding of PPG15 and the wider historic environment issues. It really must change its spots.

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