Arsenal reveals it will challenge concert plan decision at High Court

Emirates Stadium

Emirates Stadium - Credit: Archant

Arsenal will take its fight to hold more concerts at the Emirates Stadium to the High Court, the club confirmed today.

Islington Council’s decision to reject the Gunners’ plans to double the number of gigs it holds at its Holloway grounds from three to six each year was upheld in January by a government planning inspector, who threw out claims the club needed the extra money to compete at the highest level of football.

But the club is now seeking a judicial review of the ruling and, if it wins, the decision will be quashed and a fresh planning appeal will follow.

The news will come as a blow to the many residents living near to the stadium who have been opposed to the extra gigs from the start, due to the impact on noise and crowds.

Highbury West councillor, Andy Hull, said: “It’s a real shame that Arsenal insist on dragging this sorry saga out. As local ward councillors, we have consistently opposed the proposal for more concerts at the Emirates.

“We believe, as do the majority of Highbury residents, that the club is striking the wrong balance between its commercial interests and the interests of the local community”.

Highbury East councillor, John Gilbert, said: “This means that the club will have to prove the decision was flawed in some way, that the inspector was biased or took account of unrelated evidence.

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“Highbury East Liberal Democrat councillors have supported local residents in opposing Arsenal’s bid all the way. We argued strongly in favour of the council’s initial decision to reject the application. We also gave oral and written evidence to the planning inspector at the public inquiry last year to support his rejection of the appeal.

“We are deeply disappointed that Arsenal have taken this step, but are confident that the decisions were properly taken and that the courts will find in the inspector’s favour.

“This is all likely to take months before it is heard in court though. In the meantime, Highbury residents will have the issue hanging over them just when they thought the plan to double concerts at the Emirates Stadium had reached the end of the road.”