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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - KICK IN THE TEETH

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LGC's news story on the Arsenal FC stadium development correctly reports the widespread opposition of businesses an...
LGC's news story on the Arsenal FC stadium development correctly reports the widespread opposition of businesses and the local community to these ambitious proposals (LGC, 4 June). But readers may wish to understand that this is not mere obduracy and nimbyism.

The remaining businesses cannot agree terms because what the developer has offered is simply insufficient to permit them to relocate, in spite of a s106 agreement requiring Arsenal FC to make all reasonable endeavours to enable them to do so.

Community objectors successfully argued at the compulsory purchase order public inquiry that this is a strictly commercial development to which the 'regeneration' tag was attached to cover some staggering liberties being taken with the planning system and to satisfy the politicians.

Among other damning observations, the inspector concluded: 'The level of regenerative benefit that is likely to accrue overall is disappointingly low, given the opportunity presented by the council's willingness to relax its longstanding restrictions on the types of development that would be acceptable at these highly sustainable locations.'

It is not enough that some improvements should occur on such strategic sites. The public interest requires that the best use be made of them.

By ignoring his inspector's advice not to confirm the CPOs, deputy prime minister John Prescott is setting an unfortunate precedent. Developers and unscrupulous councils may seek to exploit this in future, unless the decision to confirm the CPOs is overturned in the courts.

Robert Scott

Co-ordinator, Islington Stadium Communities Alliance

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