Much has been written of late about the Club's stadium plans, which, due to agreed and commercial confidentiality, the Club has not been able to correct in some cases or clarify in others. It may be helpful however to update Club stakeholders on the current position with what we are able to say at this stage.
The Club is progressing the Northumberland Development Project in order to achieve full planning permission and other necessary consents. The applications have been referred to the Mayor of London, the Secretary of State and English Heritage for their approval.
We have made no secret about the fact that the cost of consent will be extremely high. The revisions to the plans, to meet stakeholder approval, has added in excess of £50m to a development that could well cost in the region of £450m to bring to fruition. Had we not made these changes to retain historic buildings then English Heritage indicated that they would have no option but to advise that the application be called in and that permission would be refused. The reduction in the residential element as part of these changes has also impacted on the level of enabling development which would have contributed to the scheme.
We have spent a substantial amount acquiring land for the site assembly and we still do not own all of the land required to proceed with the development, making a Compulsory Purchase Order process likely.
The application also includes S106 and S278 costs in the region of £17m, relating to requests for contributions from Council departments and Transport for London as part of the planning consent.
Meanwhile this development has not attracted a penny of public money.
This is a development with the potential to kickstart regeneration in one of the most deprived boroughs in London, where land values are poor and yet no regeneration monies are available to it. This is in contrast to the stadia developments of Arsenal and Wembley which were both awarded public sector assistance. These developments required substantial public sector intervention and assistance and would not have progressed without the injection of public sector money.
The Club fully appreciates the sentiments expressed recently by David Lammy MP in respect of our position in Tottenham - we too recognise the historic, economic and emotional aspects of this. We would therefore hope that, rather than seek to criticise the Club at this undetermined stage and make inaccurate and unfounded assumptions about our financial intentions with the Club, he would now be seeking to do everything in his power to attract public sector support for the Borough.
Whatever the outcome on our stadium expansion plans we are committed to the regeneration of Tottenham, but it is wrong to suggest that we should bear this burden alone.
Mr Lammy expressed his opinion to me that he would rather keep us in Tottenham even if it means we are unable to redevelop White Hart Lane. We do not find this acceptable nor do we think our fans, who want to see the Club grow, be able to buy season tickets and see success on the pitch, will find it either.
As we said previously, it was only prudent and good sense that we should consider all options for a new stadium development. Given the importance of this to the future wellbeing of the Club and the above factors, the Club registered an interest to bid for the Olympic Stadium site, where a bidder is sought to deliver a commercially sustainable legacy post the 2012 Olympics. There is no doubt that this is a possible option for us and, indeed, many will recall that it was our original option five years ago.
Much has been commented on us being a North London club potentially looking to move to East London - the Olympic site is in fact less than 5 miles from our current stadium and will be served by the best possible transport infrastructure in London. Our fans stem from all around the country, notably around the M25 and Home Counties and travel an average of 40 miles to home matches and we regularly welcome fans from all over the world.
I am a fan of our Club too. We have 34,000 people on the paid-for waiting list for season tickets - a number which grows daily - and it is indisputable that we now need an increased capacity stadium in order to continue to move the Club forward and compete at the highest levels. Any new stadium option must necessarily be one which is feasible in both land acquisition and financing terms.
On a point of clarity - this is not about ‘chasing profit' - this process is entirely about seeking that which is deliverable.
We remain committed to our principles - to deliver a world class stadium with the best fan experience in Europe, secure foundations to underpin the future playing success of the Club and the best funded Foundation in the Premier League for all our communities.
Common and commercial sense dictates that we, as management of the Club, must look at what is in these long-term interests and the financial security of the Club. It is in no-one's interest to pursue an option which could ultimately undermine this.
We shall consult our fans as we move forward in order to deliver them the most atmospheric stadium in Europe, with increased capacity and great access. Our preferred option will be the one that allows us to deliver that for our supporters.
On a final note, I would ask fans to support us at this stage whilst we, with the best interests of the Club at heart, explore all the options.