High Court rules against increase in number of Emirates concerts
High Court rules against increase in number of Emirates concerts

Arsenal today lost a High Court battle with Islington Council on the number of concerts that can be held at the Emirates each year.

Arsenal had applied to double the number of gigs from three to six, but Islington Council rejected the application and a planning inspector dismissed an appeal in January this year..

At today’s High Court hearing, Arsenal argued that there was a “clear error” in the decision-making process.

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

Islington Council and local groups have raised concerns over noise and rowdy music fans. Concerts featuring Green Day and Coldplay have generated hundreds of thousands of pounds in extra revenue for Arsenal.

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.”

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

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 Islington Council 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 Arsenal said: “We are aware of the decision and are considering our next steps.”