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Court of Appeal upholds quashing of Arsenal tower permission

A High Court decision to quash planning permission for a 25-storey student tower near Arsenal's football stadium in north London's Upper Holloway has been upheld in the Court of Appeal .

The challenge was brought to the Court of Appeal following a judge's findings last July that the planning inspector who granted the permission to Ashburton Trading, the property arm of Arsenal Football Club, had been wrong to conclude the proposals were in accordance with Islington Council's local policies on tall buildings.

The High Court judge had quashed the permission after finding that the scheme conflicted with a Core Strategy policy which states that buildings over 30 metres high are "generally inappropriate to Islington's predominantly medium to low character" and that proposals for new tall buildings will not be supported.

The Court of Appeal judge said he did not consider that there was "room for the exercise of planning judgement" in determining the meaning of that policy. He said that the policy's express reference to the possibility of exceptions in the Bunhill and Clerkenwell area made it clear that, save in that area, the general rule is to be applied and tall buildings will not be supported.

"If it had been intended to say that there could be exceptions to the general rule throughout the borough, it would have been necessary to say so," he added.

The judge noted that the supporting text to the policy stated that an evidence base assessment had been conducted to determine whether there are any locations for tall buildings in the borough and that it had concluded that there are no locations suitable for additional tall buildings outside the Bunhill and Clerkenwell area.

The application has now been remitted to the secretary of state for reconsideration.

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