A developer which owns the Croydon Gateway site has labelled the council's plans for an arena as a "pipe dream".

Stanhope Schroders told the Croydon Guardian this week that rival Arrowcroft's scheme for the site - which Stanhope has renamed Ruskin Square - was, after five years of trying, still "on the conceptual drawing board".

The firm also accused Arrowcroft of not being able to attract an operator to either help with the design of an arena or to run it if it were ever built.

Last week Arrowcroft said its arena would rival others at Wembley and Greenwich but the plans have attracted criticism over many years.

William Hill, the director of property at Schroders, said: "The council's pipe dream of an arena on the Gateway site is no nearer being realised and remains just that - a pipe dream.

"Arrowcroft have not been able to attract an operator - either to input into the design of the arena, which remains full of flaws and inconsistencies, or to agree to operate it if it were ever to be built."

The inquiry into the plans also heard last week that Arrowcroft has been unable to sign up an anchor sports team for the arena, which can help to generate large sums of money in advertising and merchandising.

This was confirmed by Bridget Rosewell, the economist responsible for the analysis of Arrowcroft's business plan.

She said: "I am confident that an ice hockey team will want to come to the arena at Croydon but as yet that has not been confirmed because of the uncertainty of the plans. However, I do not believe that the income levels will be greatly affected by the lack of an anchor team."

Stanhope have also criticised what they believe are major design flaws in Arrowcroft's development including the lack of affordable housing and that the scheme is built around a Tesco superstore.

A spokesman said: "Like a cuckoo in a nest, the arena would squeeze out the provision of much needed affordable homes and children's play space on the Gateway site in its need to feed off a large new superstore, together with densely developed offices and high rise luxury flats in order to cross-subsidise the arena plan."

The eight-week inquiry into the Gateway scheme began in September after a long-running battle between the two rival developers.

Stanhope own the land and has planning permission but Croydon Council backs Arrowcroft.

Mr Hill added: "The whole thing has been very badly thought through. In the meantime we will be pressing ahead with our world class Ruskin Square regeneration scheme, kick starting the long-awaited regeneration of Croydon town centre at last."

A spokesman for Arrowcroft said: "We feel that over the last two weeks the inspector has heard plenty of evidence that disproves all of this. Arrowcroft feels that Stanhope are clutching at straws and persist in what they say despite the fact that leading experts have stood up to support the business plan."