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Breaking news: Arsenal lose concert battle with Islington Council

Arsenal's have lost their High Court battle over concerts at the Emirates Arsenal's have lost their High Court battle over concerts at the Emirates

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
11:10 AM

Arsenal have lost a High Court battle over a curb on the number of concerts, like recent Bruce Springsteen and Muse shows, they can hold at the Emirates Stadium.

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The Premier League giant had applied to double the number of gigs from three to six.

Islington Council rejected the application and a planning inspector dismissed the club’s appeal in January this year.

Arsenal argued at the High Court that there was a “clear error” in the decision-making process.

But its case was rejected today by Mr Justice Cranston, who delivered his judgment in London, ruling that there had been no error of law.

Opponents have voiced concerns over noise and rowdy music fans. Concerts featuring Green Day and Coldplay have generated hundreds of thousands of pounds in extra revenue for the club.

Cllr Andy Hull, a ward councillor for Highbury West, said, “We’re delighted the High Court has upheld the council’s decision. Arsenal’s proposal struck the wrong balance between the club’s commercial interests and the interests of the local community.”

The inspector said that if Arsenal could afford to buy a player like midfielder Mesut Ozil for £43million from Real Madrid, it could not plead poverty.

At a recent hearing, Dan Kolinsky, representing the club, argued before Mr Justice Cranston that the inspector’s decision was legally flawed and should not be allowed to stand.

Applying for judicial review, Mr Kolinksy submitted that the inspector had failed to apply the law correctly when he decided the proposal to double the number of concerts “did not accord with the development plan” for the stadium.

Lawyers for the inspector and town hall argued that the inspector followed the correct approach and there was no substance in the club’s challenge.

During the public inquiry run by the inspector, Arsenal chief executive director Ken Friar said the club needed the money from the gigs to perform in the extremely competitive world of football, citing Manchester United’s profits at £100 million compared to Arsenal’s £20 million.

A spokesman for the club said: “We are aware of the decision and are considering our next steps.”

The Gunners could not take their fight to the court of appeal.

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