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Warring Croydon Gateway schemes to go head-to-head at single inquiry

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The long-running battle between the two schemes competing for the hugely contentious Croydon Gateway site is set to culminate with a dramatic planning inquiry later this year, it has emerged.

The projects, one by Foster and Partners and one by Michael Aukett Architects, have been competing for the site for over three years.

The AJ has learned that this massively expensive legal and planning battle will come to an end when just one inspector decides which of the two schemes, for Stanhope and Arrowcroft respectively, will finally be allowed to go ahead.

Whichever scheme wins out, it will see the wholesale transformation of a massive swathe of central Croydon adjacent to the main railway station.

The council has a long-standing agreement to back Arrowcroft's proposal, because it includes plans for an arena - a facility many local councillors are determined to see built.

But Stanhope owns a large proportion of the proposed site and has been pushing forward with its own plans, which do not include an arena, despite hostile opposition from councillors and planners.

The row was one of the major triggers for the 2004 investigation in to conflicts of interests at CABE, after a Croydon councillor complained that the design watchdog, then chaired by Stanhope boss Stuart Lipton, had backed Stanhope and Foster's proposals.

A date for the dual inquiry is yet to be set.

by Ed Dorrell

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