It has been boring people in Croydon for years but now the council's man in charge of the Gateway scheme has succumbed to the tedium of the long-running legal battle.

Councillor Tim Pollard, the town hall's cabinet member for finance and regeneration, arrived at the inquiry bright eyed and bushy tailed last Wednesday but within half an hour his eyes began rolling and soon his head was slumped on to his chest.

Despite this being one of the most important issues the council has had to face since it won the election last year, it seems it was not exciting enough to keep Coun Pollard awake.

When asked about his apparent 40 winks Coun Pollard said he was "stunned" at the suggestion he had fallen asleep.

"I certainly did not fall asleep," he insisted, "I had my eyes closed at a couple of points but unfortunately I was conscious throughout. There was some fairly technical evidence given at the inquiry but I was just listening rather than looking."

Coun Pollard assured the Croydon Guardian that even though his eyes were shut he was still aware of what was going on.

He added: "I will make sure I don't close my eyes again but I find that I follow it just as easily with my eyes shut as I do open."

Ken Frost, a critic of the Arrowcroft scheme and founder of Croydon Against the Arena, said: "This somnolent councillor is symbolic of this council's attitude to the arena since being elected, sleepwalking us to disaster."

William Hill, chief executive of Shroders - one half of owners of the land Stanhope and Schroders - was speaking to the inquiry at the time.

He suggested that Arrowcroft's arena scheme was "like a car with an empty tank of petrol and a driver who has not yet passed his driving test".

Mr Hill said a lack of funding and the fact Arrowcroft had never built an arena before would lead to the development's early demise.

  • What do you think? Are you bored by the Gateway saga? Post your comments below.