Croydon Council has initiated the compulsory purchase of land around the contested Croydon Gateway site.

It served the CPO to Stanhope and Schroders, significant owners of land around the scheme, this afternoon.

The pair have proposed to develop a 1.6m sq ft (148,643 sq m) scheme on the site, which has been granted planning approval by the Secretary of State.

Croydon has a development agreement with Arrowcroft to develop an alternative scheme, which would include a large arena as requested by the council.

Arrowcroft has challenged the Secretary of State’s decision to grant permission to Stanhope and Schroders’s scheme in the high court, and a decision is expected at the end of February.

David Camp, chief executive of Stanhope, said: ‘We have always stated that we want to work collaboratively with the council to deliver this scheme and it is a shame that they do not regard our success in assembling the site and securing planning consent as an asset for the town.

‘Immediately before Christmas we put, with council encouragement, some bold and imaginative proposals for the land to the north of Lansdowne Road as an alternative to residential use. We are still awaiting their response.’