Arsenal’s 25-storey Holloway skyscraper plan rejected

A computer generated image showing how the tower will appear

A computer generated image showing how the tower will appear - Credit: Archant

Inspector says 78m tower would be too tall for area

Full-time may have been called on a four-year planning battle between Arsenal and Islington Council after a planning inspector rejected the Gunners’ bid to build a 25-storey skyscraper.

The inspector said that the 78m tower – which would provide 450 student bedrooms just up the road from the club’s Emirates Stadium in Hornsey Road, Holloway – would have a negative impact on “the character and appearance of the surrounding area”.

The original proposals for the building, which would be 35 metres taller than Arsenal’s stadium, were rejected by Islington Council in August 2011 after strong opposition from local group Stadium Neighbours Action Group (SNAP) – only to be overturned by an inspector in October 2012.

The town hall then launched a challenge in the High Court which saw a judge throw out the inspectors’ decision, leading to a four-day hearing in March this year before the decision on June 1.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said: “We are pleased the planning inspector has backed the council’s decision to reject this development.

“We have said all along that this plan, for a poorly-designed tower that would have been nearly twice as tall as the largest buildings nearby, was not the right building for this site.”

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Arsenal had argued that, because other buildings such as the Emirates Stadium and Ashburton Triangle breached the council’s 30m height limit for the area, to reject the tower on this basis would be inconsistent.

However, planning inspector Graham Dudley found that: “While being over the 30m limit, tallness is relative; just because one or more buildings is classed as a tall building, say being 40m high, does not then justify another building substantially taller.”

A spokesman for Arsenal said: “We will review our options on this development and update in due course.”