Gunners take high court action to host more Emirates concerts
Arsenal today applied at the High Court for a judicial review on the decision not to allow them to increase the number of concerts that can be held at the Emirates each year.
The Gunners had applied to double the number of concerts it can hold per year from three to six, but Islington Council turned down the bid, a decision which was then upheld by a planning inspector in January.
Local residents have raised concerns over noise and rowdy behaviour during previous concerts featuring Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, Muse, Coldplay and others which generate considerable extra revenue for Arsenal.
The move today by Arsenal is the latest in their dispute with Islington Council on what is deemed to be an acceptable number of concerts that can hosted at the venue per year.
The planning inspector said in January 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 Arsenal, told Mr Justice Cranston at the High Court in London the planning 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.
He told the judge: “We say there is a clear error on the face of the decision letter.”
Lawyers for the inspector and Islington Council 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.”