There were chaotic scenes at the opening of the long-awaited public inquiry into the fate of the Croydon Gateway site this morning.

Members of the public and local councillors were left fuming as there were not enough seats for the opening of the official inquiry into who should develop the site.

The inquiry follows a long legal battle between Arrowcroft and rival developers Stanhope and Schroders, the company which owns the land and already has planning permission to develop it.

Croydon Council backs Arrowcroft's plans for a 12,500-seat arena.

At the start of the inquiry this morning, which is expected to last eight weeks, televisual equipment was out of order and dozens of people were left in the foyer of the Jury's Inn hotel straining to hear what was going on.

One resident said: "This is an absolute travesty - this is supposed to be a public inquiry and we cannot hear a word of what is being said."

The inquiry's inspector, Mrs Ava Wood - who has been appointed by the Secretary of State - will consider the council's case to press ahead with a compulsary purchase order of the nine-acre site.

She will also consider representations from members of the public, local companies and councillors.