The landowners of the Croydon Gateway site have said they plan to start work on the development later this year despite Croydon Council trying to secure a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the land.

Stanhope Plc told the Croydon Guardian this week that as soon as minor conditions are approved by the council later this year, building work will begin.

It is understood that the Arrowcroft scheme is the council's preferred project. However, Stanhope Schroders own part of the Gateway site and the two firms are locked in a legal battle to gain control of the prime development space close to East Croydon station.

Charles Walford from Stanhope Plc said: "The intention is to start on the development later this year. Croydon Council have started the CPO process but this will have to be referred to the Secretary of State and a decision will be made next year.

"However we have everything we need to start - we own the land, we have finance, we have occupier interest and we have planning permission granted from the council."

The brownfield site next to East Croydon station has remained derelict since the battle began between the two companies many years ago.

Stanhope and Schroders' interest in the land dates back to the 1990s when plans were submitted under the name of Croydon Gateway Development Company, none of which included plans for an arena.

Mr Walford said despite their plans for a small arena on the site Arrowcroft's 12,500-seat arena would not be appropriate for the site or viable in Croydon'.

However, Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for finance and regeneration said: "For Stanhope to say that they are starting work on the site in September looks like they are trying to hold the CPO to ransom.

"The council has always tried to have constructive dialaogue with both Stanhope and Shroeder and Arrowcroft but Stanhope seem determined to hold us back."

Stanhope's plans for the site also include 1million sq ft of offices, 560 flats and 4.5 acres of public open space and plans have also included a new Warehouse Theatre built to replace the existing premises in Dingwall Road.

Mr Walford added: "If the CPO is approved next year after we have started work then it will be an inconvenience but by that time there is nothing to stop us. Depending on the council approving these last few conditions work will begin between September and December."

The CPO inquiry for the land is due to start on September 17.