A winner in the long-running battle to develop the Croydon Gateway will be announced tomorrow - a day later than expected.

Last week communities secretary Hazel Blears' office announced that the decision would be made today.

The Government department has kept to their timetable but say that they have posted the decision to all the parties concerned so that they receive it at the same time.

Stanhope Schroders, which own the land, is expected to emerge victorious with its approved plans for an office-led development including 560 flats and 4.5 acres of public open space.

Its rivals Arrowcroft, backed by the council, want to build a 12,500-seat arena, shops, restaurants and offices on the site.

However, if Arrowcroft win, it will still have to arrange for the purchase of the land from Stanhope Schroders before they can begin any work.

The two companies have been locked in a legal battle over the site adjacent to East Croydon station for almost 10 years.

Arrowcroft claims its arena plans will rival both Wembley and O2. However there have been questions regarding Arrowcroft’s ability to secure funding for the project.

It has also had problems attracting an operator for the arena or to sign up an anchor sports team for the venue.

When he was Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone opposed the Arrowcroft scheme, saying no-one would want to perform in such a small arena.

He said it would face stiff competition from the O2 arena, made even more accessible to Croydon with the extension of the East London line.

The Arrowcroft scheme suffered a blow in the recent resignation of a key backer Phillip Goodwin, the director of planning and transportation at Croydon Council.

The fate of the Warehouse Theatre is also closely tied to the development of the site, which has been derelict for the past 10 years.

Crucially for the struggling Warehouse, Stanhope’s plans also include a theatre built to replace the existing premises in Dingwall Road.

Ken Frost, a campaigner against the arena, said: “My gut feeling is that the decision will go against Arrowcroft because of the recent resignation of Goodwin.

“This will be a victory for the long-suffering citizens of Croydon who have had to put up with that blight on Dingwall Road while the council has tried to ram through the arena scheme.

“It is worth remembering that if they had not insisted on pushing for Arrowcroft, then that site would have been redeveloped by now.

“In the event that the victory is for Stanhope it would be very nice if the senior council officers, both elected and appointed, who pursued the arena scheme handed in their resignations.”

Mike Fisher, Conservative leader of the council, said: “Clearly I hope the decision goes to Arrowcroft.

“We will continue to back them. The question of the viability of an arena is one that has been asked many times.

“If the inspector decides in favour of Arrowcroft that is up to the developer.

“We are in difficult economic times and a tourist attraction like an arena can only be a good thing.”

Shasha Khan, from the Green Party, said: “We find neither of the two developments inspiring.

“The Arrowcroft arena proposal is an overdevelopment too far.

“The Stanhope scheme looks more pragmatic but it is almost the lesser of two evils.

“We have not seen any evidence that much sustainable thought has been put into the development process.”

Tony Newman, leader of the Labour party, said: “I think if we are going to have an arena, a series of questions need to be asked.

“Things have changed since we first considered this 10 years ago.

“We have now got the O2 arena and in the current economic crisis is there still the money to build one?

“Any development must incorporate the modernisation of East Croydon station.”