London

Tottenham Hotspur stadium dispute firm blaze 'suspicious'

Fire Image copyright Paul Wood
Image caption Firefighters were called to the blaze at Archway Sheet Metal Works at around 05:00 GMT on 25 November

A fire that gutted the offices of a firm involved a development dispute with Tottenham Hotspur has been described by police as suspicious.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at Archway Sheet Metal Works, on Paxton Road, Tottenham, at around 05:00 GMT.

The factory site is just yards from Spurs' White Hart Lane ground .

The family-run firm is situated on the final piece of land the club has been trying to acquire to start the redevelopment of its stadium.

"An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire," a Scotland Yard spokesman said. "At this early stage the fire is being treated as suspicious."

No arrests have been made.

Scotland Yard said the fire had been extinguished but Paxton Road remained closed on Tuesday night.

High Court case

The two sides have failed to reach an agreement over the land in north London after seven years of negotiation.

Earlier this year, the Josif family, owners of the company and the land, challenged a compulsory purchase order - triggering a High Court case and a new delay in the start of the project.

Image copyright Paul Wood
Image caption The site is yards from Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane ground in north London

In 2010, the Premier League club registered an interest in moving to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, after growing frustrated by attempts to redevelop White Hart Lane, but lost out to West Ham United.

The club hope moving to the three-hectare site will help increase revenues and improve competition against Europe's top clubs.

London Fire Brigade said six fire engines and 35 firefighters and officers worked to bring the fire under control and there were no reports of any injuries.

But an Archway member of staff said the fire had resulted in "very bad" damage:

"The top floor and offices are all gone and 50% of the bottom floor was on fire," he said. "We don't know anything at the moment.

"We haven't been allowed to go in and have a look so we are just waiting to see what happens."

The company has previously claimed it has received threats and abusive calls from Tottenham fans.

The club plans to build a 56,000-plus capacity stadium next to the existing White Hart Lane ground, which holds just over 36,000.

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