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Sep 28, 2011

Mayor: Riots show Spurs must stay put

Tottenham have been implored to continue with plans to build a new stadium in their heartland in the north of the capital by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Johnson and Haringey Council have tabled a take it-or-leave-it offer of £17 million to assist with the project that would see a major regeneration of the area around White Hart Lane.

But Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy responded by saying there is a long way to go before the club commit themselves to the development of an area that was blighted by the recent London riots.

Levy previously said the idea was no longer viable and launched plans to take over the Olympic Stadium after London host the Games in 2012, but West Ham were handed the lease earlier this year.

Johnson said he believes Spurs have a duty to stay within their community. He said: "Tottenham Hotspur has long been an integral part of the community and by staying true to its roots the club now has the power to revolutionise an area of the capital that has been neglected for far too long.

"Last month's riots were a telling reminder of just how important it is for Spurs to press ahead with the development at Northumberland Park and to help kick-start a much wider regeneration project that would create jobs and give Tottenham the economic boost it deserves.

"The club knows there is no more money available from the public purse and I sincerely hope that they accept the offer we have made. It is not just in the best interests of Tottenham Hotspur and the fans of this great London club, but of the wider north London community.''

Spurs have spent £85 million of their own money on the project so far, and are reluctant to undertake the project without more discussions with local and central government.

Levy said in a statement: "It would be wholly irresponsible of us to announce we were proceeding with the scheme without the appropriate agreements and support firmly in place. Discussions are continuing with all the relevant stakeholders and we shall, as always, keep our supporters updated.''

Levy is worried the riots in Tottenham will make the planned regeneration of the area, one of the most deprived in the capital, less appealing. He added: "We are the major employer and economic driver in the area and are now the only major private sector business here that is looking to invest and play its part in the regeneration of an area which has suffered from decades of under-investment.

"Given recent events, Tottenham needs our concerted efforts to reverse the decline of decades and create a community with hope and prospects of future prosperity. Both local and national government now recognise the important role our new stadium development can play in kick-starting this.

"The proposed stadium scheme and wider area development has the potential to lever hundreds of millions of pounds worth of much-needed regenerative development to Tottenham.

"But we cannot be expected to do this single-handedly. We have seen land values fall again post the recent riots and this is a further concern for the club as it considers the nature of the investment. The overall scheme requires a complex package of financing of which the correct level and nature of public support is critical.''

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