October 1 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Arsenal’s bid to host more concerts like the recent sell-out Bruce Springsteen and Green Day gigs has reached the high court.
The latest chapter in long-running saga between the club and Islington Council has seen the FA Cup holders claim there was a “clear error” in the decision to curb the number of shows they can host.
The Gunners had applied to up the number of concerts it can hold per year from three to six, but the town hall turned down the bid, a decision which was then upheld by a planning inspector in January.
Many people who live in the area have voiced concerns over noise and rowdy music fans during previous gigs featuring Muse, Coldplay and others which generated hundreds of thousands of pounds of extra revenue for the Premier League giants.
The inspector said that if Arsenal could afford to buy a player like midfielder Mesut Özil for £43million from Real Madrid in the summer, it could not plead poverty.
But today Dan Kolinsky, representing the club, told Mr Justice Cranston at the High Court in London the inspector’s decision was legally flawed and should not be allowed to stand.
Applying for judicial review, Mr Kolinksy submitted 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.
He told the judge: “We say there is a clear error on the face of the decision letter.”
Lawyers for the inspector and Islington are arguing the inspector followed the correct approach and there is no substance in the club’s challenge.
Cllr Andy Hull, who represents Highbury West ward, said: “We refused the application because it struck the wrong balance between the club’s commercial interests and the interests of the local community.
He added: “I hope the judge at the High Court gives them short shrift. Rather than wasting everyone’s time and effort with endless appeals about these gigs, Arsenal should engage constructively with us on a range of pressing local issues, from where to park fans’ coaches to how to pay their match-day staff a Living Wage.”