Conflicting reports are currently circulating regarding the renaming of Transport for London underground station White Hart Lane to “Tottenham Hotspur”.
The north London Premier League club first approached TfL more than two years ago, wanting to change the name in time for the opening of their new stadium. Concerns were expressed about the precedent a name change would set for the corporatisation of London’s heritage transport network, leading to a drawn out process and subsequent standoff between the two parties.
Sadiq Khan’s spokeswoman has been quoted as saying that he believes a “unique brand partnership” between TfL and Tottenham Hotspur football club would benefit all involved, although he has been keen to stress that its establishment would follow a public consultation, as well as a full agreement on commercial terms, which the football club are reportedly refusing to bend to. TfL has said it is “in discussions” with Tottenham over the station rebrand which it has been rumoured may set the club back more than £14.7m.
Flying in the face of this and the Mayor’s insistence on due process, is Tottenham’s confidence that an agreement has already been reached, with the club informing potential sponsors and commercial partners that the name will be changed, according to documents reportedly seen by the Guardian.
The Green party co-leader Sian Berry, who plans to stand against Khan in the 2020 London mayoral election, said the renaming would “open up the slippery slope” towards other well-known stations and the network being having their names sold off for commercial purposes or being used for corporate branding purposes.
Sian Berry further said:
“There’s the question of the money, too, of course. If something is worth the money then that’s what should be handed over if this is going to happen,”
“How this has come about will also be of great interest to me and others members of the London assembly. A decision of this nature should be subject to the greatest of scrutiny and should definitely be subject to a public consultation. The public have a right to their say on changes like this, and they should have been consulted.”
An underground station on the Piccadilly line has had the name of Tottenham’s north London rivals, Arsenal, since legendary manager Herbert Chapman changed it from Gillespie Road in 1932 following a campaign.
TfL, created in 2000 as part of the Greater London authority, has developed a policy of not selling the names of heritage stations, but sometimes does so for 24-hour periods for public relations purposes.
A TfL Spokesperson said: “Opportunities of this nature are always thoroughly evaluated before completion to ensure that TfL delivers best value for its stakeholders.”