Arsenal Football Club’s controversial plans to expand the number of music concerts and major events held at the Emirates Stadium have been stymied by a High Court ruling which emphasised the right of local residents to enjoy their peace and quiet.
The club wanted to double the number of authorised music concerts, from three to six annually, and triple the number of major events, from one to three. However, both the London Borough of Islington and a central government planning inspector had refused to ease planning restrictions on the stadium’s use.
Following a public inquiry, the inspector had said that the noise and disturbance of further events at the stadium would impact on the quality of the lives of hundreds of local people who were entitled to a respite outside the football season.
The club argued that the inspector took insufficient account of the economic and cultural benefits of its proposals. However, in dismissing the challenge, the Court noted that it would be wrong to read the inspector’s decision in an ‘overly legalistic way’. It was for the inspector to balance and resolve tensions between various planning policies and he had done so according to law.