Fire ravages building next to White Hart Lane owned by stadium opponents

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A fire has set the first two floors alight of a building across the street from White Hart Lane, home to Tottenham Hotspur, but there’s more to the story than just that.

The London Fire Brigade confirmed they responded just after 5am London time, and had the fire at Archway Sheet Metal Works on Paxton Road in London under control, requiring six firetrucks and 35 firefighters.

“Half of the ground floor and the whole of the first floor were alight, but the fire is now under control,” a spokesman with the department said. “Crews will remain at the scene this morning damping down remaining hot spots. There are no reports of any injuries. Fire engines from Tottenham, Edmonton and Stoke Newington fire stations are at the scene.”

The story is noteworthy for more than just the business’s proximity to the stadium. With the club looking to revamp its ground and possibly build a new one, the building stands on the last piece of land the club would need to acquire to begin work, and the two sides have been locked in  unsuccessful negotiations for upwards of seven years. Most recently, the Josif family, owners of Archway, filed a case in England’s High Court to challenge a compulsory purchase order which would allow Spurs to acquire the land without the permission of the current owners similar to eminent domain in the United States.

Naturally, the owners of the company are reportedly suspecting arson as the cause of the blaze, although nothing is clear at this point. The Fire Brigade said it is investigating the incident.

It’s also unclear what the state of the building is in after crews finally controlled the fire, but the Telegraph used the phrase “burnt down” in their story of the incident, and the picture on their story looks bad, so things aren’t looking so hot for Archway.

The club is hoping to finish the job before the 2017-18 season when its lease at White Hart Lane runs out, but because of the delays with Archway, that is unlikely to happen, meaning they would have to play elsewhere in the meantime. The club is hoping to build a new ground next to the current one, with an increase in capacity of around 20,000.

With the club describing “amicable and successful” negotiations with upwards of 70 businesses to move forward with the expansion, Archway remained the last major obstacle in the current step of the process.