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Proposal to increase the number of music
STATEMENT OF COMMUNITY CONSULTATION
Prepared for Arsenal FC by
EMIRATES STADIUM - Proposal to increase the number of music concerts
STATEMENT OF COMMUNITY CONSULTATION
As part of its commitment to consulting with the community on its proposals for the Emirates Stadium and the surrounding area, Arsenal FC commissioned Quatro to devise and organise a public consultation programme on its initial proposal to increase the number of music concerts at the Emirates Stadium from three per year to nine per year.
This report sets out the details of the consultation programme; a summary of the main points made by residents and details of how Arsenal FC has responded to the issues raised by residents.
2. The Proposal
The May 2002 planning permission restricted the number of music concert events that can be held at the stadium to a maximum of 3 events a year and this is controlled by a planning condition which states:
“There shall be no more than 6 non-association football single day major events1 (of which a maximum of 3 could be music concert events) in any 12 month period of which total no more than one shall be on a Sunday and not more than one on a Bank Holiday.”
Arsenal FC propose to submit an application to vary this planning condition to extend the number of days that concert (major) events can be held at the Stadium to six per year, to be held over three weekends, starting in 2014.
The initial proposal was to increase the number of concerts to nine, but in response to the public consultation exercises, this proposal has been reduced to six concerts per year.
Arsenal Football Club has successfully held concerts at Emirates Stadium on Friday 30th May 2008 and Saturday 31st May 2008 (Bruce Springsteen), Sunday 7th June 2009 (Capital FM Summertime Ball) and more recently on Friday 1st June, Saturday 2nd June and Monday 4th June 2012 (Coldplay).
In June 2013, the Club plans to hold three further concerts, which will feature Green Day and Muse.
The main points of the proposal are;
Concert events will not exceed 60,000 capacity
Concert events will be held at the end of the football season, generally at the end of May and beginning of June on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
Concert events will end before 11pm (with the music ending at 10.30pm)
Concert noise levels will be kept to the existing permitted levels
Concert events will not be held simultaneously with events large music events in Finsbury Park
Not more than one concert event will be held on a Bank Holiday and no more than three on a Sunday
Sound checking and concert start times will be communicated to all local residents in the form of a newsletter created and distributed by Islington Council, funded by Arsenal
Light spill will be kept to a minimum during clean up after each event. Floodlights will be turned off as soon as it is safe to do so and the final clean will be carried out by existing in house lights
Load-In will take place during normal working hours. Load-Out will occur immediately after the last concert
3. The Coldplay Experience
As a result of the experience gained during the recent Coldplay concerts, in planning future concerts Arsenal will be:
Introducing additional measures to further control the times when sound checks can take place
Restricting the sale of alcohol on the pitch area
Providing more information to residents on when the concerts are taking place
Providing more information to concert goers on their public transport options
4. The Public Consultation Programme
The public consultation programme included the following actions;
Producing a 6-page Newsletter which was delivered to 6,000 homes in the area around the Emirates Stadium. The newsletter included a Freepost Comments Card and email address for comments, together with a direct line phone number to the Quatro team and a link to the Arsenal website where a copy of the newsletter was also available, as well as a facility for making comments (http://www.arsenal.com/residentsconsultation)
A copy of the Newsletter was also emailed to all Islington Councillors and Members of Parliament and to nearly 1,000 people on the Club’s database of those residents who had made enquiries in the past about events at the Emirates Stadium.
A press release was issued to the local media to ensure wide coverage of the public consultation programme. The local press coverage included;
Presentation to the Highbury West and Highbury East Ward Partnership meetings on 16th and 25th October 2012. There were about 40 residents at each of these meetings.
5. Highbury West Ward Partnership Meeting - Tuesday 16th October 2012
Present; Councillors Theresa De Bono (Chair), Andy Hull and Richard Greening, together with members of the Highbury Community Association, Friends of Gillespie Park, Finsbury Park Mosque, Old Stadium Residents’ Association and residents living in the ward.
Present for Arsenal FC; Ken Friar, Jon Murch and Paul Dimoldenberg
Following a presentation of the Concerts proposal and an outline of the pre-application consultation, the following questions were asked and issues were raised;
Will the increased number of concerts increase the rateable value of the Emirates Stadium and therefore the amount paid in rates by Arsenal?
Questions were raised about the extent of the catchment area for Arsenal’s pre-application public consultation. A number of residents (in Highbury Park and in the old Stadium) said they had not received the consultation newsletter. It was suggested that the Council’s statutory consultation should include all those within the match day CPZ. It was also suggested that Arsenal should display the Concerts proposal information at Underground stations that would be affected so that underground users, particularly older residents, are made aware of the proposal.
It was suggested that, in order that Gillespie Park could remain open during the proposed Concerts, the Club should station stewards at the gates to control access.
Concerns were raised about the impact of concerts in late May/early June on young people living in the area who are studying for the GCSEs and A levels over the same period. It was suggested that the Club liaise with local secondary schools on this matter.
It was suggested that the proposed concerts should also include a community element and/or a quieter ‘non-rock’ element, as a way of contributing to the local community.
It was suggested that the club should organise a lottery for “100 free tickets” for local residents/local groups as a way ‘giving something back”
A representative from Finsbury Park Mosque wanted to the Club to work closer with his organisation to offer opportunities to young people. He was asked to contact Alan Sefton who runs the Arsenal in the Community programme and was given Alan’s details.
General concerns were raised about Arsenal’s contribution to the community. The meeting was told of the Arsenal in the Community programme which has been operating for over 25 years and organises a wide range of sporting, educational and community events across Islington every day involving many thousands of local young people.
6. Highbury East Ward Partnership Meeting - Thursday 25th October 2012
Present: Councillor John Gilbert (Chair), Councillor Julie Horten and about 40 people.
Present for Arsenal FC; Ken Friar, Jon Murch and Gary Pleasants
Following the presentation there were a number of statements/questions from residents. Key points that were raised included:
Arsenal says they want to make better use of the stadium that is empty for most of the year. However, despite wanting to increase the number of concerts it still will be unused for 327 days.
Local residents refer to the summer months as the ‘off season’. Not happy with nine concerts on three consecutive weekends. Disrupts their ability to move around the area, use public transport etc.
A resident who lived 1km from the stadium said he had no details of who to contact at the Club or Council about any issues with the Coldplay concert
Concern that Coldplay might not be typical of the bands playing at the stadium and that there could more ‘hard core’ performers with more unruly fans and that Arsenal would not have any control over this.
Socio economic benefits. Questions were asked about who would benefit locally, how will the benefits be quantified. There were claims that local residents don’t use local shops and services on match days, therefore a number of local businesses actually suffer not gain. It was also asked if those preparing the report will be consulting/speaking with local businesses? Can local people contribute to the report?
Questions were raised about the cost of football and the concerts to local tax payers. How much does the policing of a football match cost the local tax payer? How much does it cost the council in terms of refuse collection etc? (Arsenal pays £3.5m in business rates)
Stewarding arrangements – what can the club do to steward crowds more effectively outside the ground to stop people going where they shouldn’t.
Comments were made about Arsenal’s commercial revenues dwarfing its charitable donations (£1.5m pa). Questions were asked about how much money Arsenal spends in the community. How much money will it make from the music concerts?
What are the benefits for local people of staging more concerts?
What will Arsenal do if the application is rejected – appeal?
What other non-commercial uses has the Club considered for the stadium – to make it more sustainable?
May and June are periods when young people are studying for exams – the concerts will be disruptive and potentially harm their chances of success
Has the Club consulted local education stakeholders?
During the original planning application for the stadium the club re-assured local people that it would not have any more than three concerts. Why has this changed now?
Residents would like the planning officers to attend Forum when the application has been submitted.
7. Discussions with Highbury West Ward Councillors
Councillors representing Highbury West Ward sent Arsenal a number of suggestions as to how the Club might provide a range of community benefits as part of planning application. These included;
Provide more access to rooms and facilities in the Emirates for community groups' use
Replenish the Arsenal Community Chest fund for local community groups that has now run out
Park coaches under the stadium on match days, using the undercroft for its original purpose
Secure more community/free access to Fitness First in Highbury Square
Upgrade Holloway Road tube, as promised
Tackle limousines cluttering up the streets of Highbury on match days
Tackle use of fake blue disabled badges on match days
Build more affordable housing for local families rather than expensive housing for students from outside the borough
More Arsenal FC 1st Team player visits to local community groups
Ensure all Arsenal FC's staff and contractors are paid at least the London Living Wage
Refurbish kick-about areas on local estates
Provide stewards to keep Gillespie Park open on concert days
Put on a concert entirely for the local community
Give out more free tickets to matches and concerts to local community members, perhaps by lottery
Prevent people urinating in their gardens on match days
8. Representations from Jeremy Corbyn MP
Jeremy Corbyn MP has made the following comments;
“Jeremy has asked me to let you know that he welcomes Arsenal’s proposals to make concerts more acceptable to local people. However, he believes that increasing the number to nine would be excessive and unacceptable to the local community – this has been clear from the all the feedback we have received. Jeremy hopes Arsenal will think again about this one.”
9. Individual responses
A total of 160 responses were received from individual residents, comprising;
86 via Freepost
63 via email
11 via the Arsenal website
Of those, 35 (22%) were in support of the proposals and 125 (78%) were opposed.
9.1. Those in support made the following typical comments;
“I don't have a problem with this; It brings in revenue to the local businesses and 9 concerts per year isn't really going to make any major difference along with the restrictions proposed. It's a stadium - it's not as if it should only be used for football. As long as locals are given the option to buy a ticket then I don't have any problem with this” Resident, Witherington Road “I wish Arsenal every success with these proposals. It will be good to see the stadium used to full capacity. I hope it will bring extra business to the local small shops as well as employment to Islington young residents.” Resident, Jackson Road “I think you should have more concerts since it would be very good for people visiting the area and local businesses.” Resident, Holloway Road “I think that additional concerts at the Emirates will be a great thing. They would bring more people to the area and to local businesses and bring a vibrancy to the area which it currently needs. I live on the Drayton Park end of Bryantwood Rd and have no problems whatsoever with the current concerts and soccer crowds. The heavy police presence means that the crowds are good natured and well controlled and surely the concert promoters will be responsible for any rubbish clean up that arises from the additional concerts. I personally cannot wait for more concerts” Resident, Drayton Park
A local amenity for residents “During the Coldplay concerts this year we didn't feel impacted adversley at all. Yes we could hear the concert and sound checks but it didn’t disturb or disrupt us. We
feel the club is extremely good for the local community and would have no objections to them increasing the number of concerns each year. We especially like the fact they have reserved some Green Day tickets for local residents. If we have to put up with the crowds it’s at least nice to have a chance to be a part of it too.” Resident, Avenell Road “I think concerts at the Emirates Stadium are a very good idea, they have been well organised and not disruptive. It's great to have a concert venue on your doorstep.” Resident, Highbury Hill “We would love more concerts at Emirates. Many, many more please!” Resident, Drayton Park “I have no objections to Arsenal hosting more concerts. I think it will benefit the surrounding community & involving youths with music has proven benefits.” Resident, Aubert Park “Very happy with your proposal” Resident, Highbury Hill “I think it's a great idea. I live near the stadium and think it will have minor impact on the residents during the concerts. As a resident, it would be nice to have offers for the concerts.” Resident, Witherington Road “Completely support idea of additional events at the Emirates Stadium, provided these will be preference tickets available for local residents.” Resident, Drayton Park
9.2. Those opposed made the following typical comments;
The vast majority of those opposed to the proposals described their concerns that the proposal would have on residential amenity;
Impact on residential amenity
“The off-season period is a brief respite from regular crowds and this would be far worse than the football crowds. It ruins the residential nature of the neighbourhood and prevents visitors from coming for three weekends. My fear was always that this would happen and this is surely pure greed. The season tickets are already the most expensive in the UK and now the Arsenal are putting an extra burden on the local community”
Resident, Highbury Hill
“We have two children under two. We are very much opposed to any more concerts taking place at the stadium - the Coldplay concerts were incredibly loud and very disruptive, in a different league to the football matches and the time of day just terrible if you have small kids. “
Resident, Highbury Hill
“Although we attended the Coldplay concert this year, we made sure we were out for the other two nights they were playing as the noise is so intrusive that it's impossible to stay in. Even the sound checks are loud and disruptive. While this disruption is annoying over three nights, increasing the number of concerts beyond this would make it intolerable.”
Resident, Highbury Hill
“During the three days of Coldplay concerts I had to struggle to get home to my house on each evening as my return coincided with the crowds coming out. Having to ask police to allow me through does not feel like I am living in the free world. On the last of the three evenings the police man actually tried to stop me going towards my home and actually said “we have lost control of the crowd” I had to push past him to get into my home I think a lot more work needs to be done on these events and certainly the residents should not be subject to such restrictions for no benefit.”
Resident, Tinniswood Close.
“We are unhappy about the proposal for more concerts in summer as they will have a substantial impact on our lives. Generally, football matches are well policed but that was not the case with the Coldplay concerts earlier this year; we had youth urinating outside our house, something that has not occurred before or after football matches. I suspect that the culture is different and there are fewer sanctions against anti-social behaviour. More privately employed stewards are not the answer; they lack police powers of arrest and are not adequately trained to replace the police. Events at the Emirates increase the pressure on parking in our street, making it more difficult for friends or family to visit; bearable one day ever other weekend but not for three consecutive weekends. Usage of Arsenal Station is made more difficult for us, friends and family and we have to go against heavy pedestrian traffic to get to local shops or vary our routines. In summer we are more likely to be sitting outside or to have doors and windows open, so will suffer more from the noise generated by concerts, which is much more continuous than cheering at football matches. For these reasons I am opposed to Arsenal's proposals, which I hope the council will refuse.” Resident, Elfort Road
Timing of the proposed concerts coincides with GCSE/A level examinations
“I am very strongly opposed to any more concerts being held at the stadium - the end of May, beginning of June is exactly the time when secondary school and
university students are in their exam period and concerts produce prolonged and totally unacceptable levels of noise and disturbance. To hold more concerts would be extraordinarily inconsiderate.”
Resident, Highbury Hill
Impact on public transport
“I am a local resident and live approximately 5 minutes away from the Emirates. My journeys to and from my home are frequently disrupted when the stadium is in use and cannot access local road or use tube stations such as Holloway Road when I need to. I am also prevented from using the full services of local supermarkets and cannot purchase alcohol in bottles during entrance and exit periods of the stadium. I am against the current proposal to increase the use of the stadium, as I feel it causes excessive disruption to the everyday lives of local residents.”
Resident, Courtney Court, Courtney Road
“I already suffer from match days and the existing concerts. Before, during and after matches I am unable to move freely, use my local transport facilities, invite friends to visit, go to the shops/ pubs etc. or do what I want at home. I have to make special arrangements and frankly cannot treat my house as my own. Concerts are even worse, in that they take up a greater amount of time than a match. Not only is there severe disruption as described above but there is the noise not only of the actual concert but the sound checks beforehand. It is so loud that it completely dominates the area. I cannot use my garden, have friends over, sit and read. Last summer, during the Coldplay concerts I had to go and stay at a friend’s after the first one. Social disturbance is as bad if not worse than on match days and transport problems, congestion on the Holloway Road and in the stations of course also pertain. The whole adds up to a total loss of amenity.”
Resident, Bryantwood Road
10. Responding to the issues raised
10.1. The most significant response to the issues raised by residents has been to revise the number of additional music concerts requested from six a year to an additional three a year.
10.2. In addition, the Club will be increasing the management measures in order, for example, to restrict sound check timings and to monitor the concert events during 2013 and, if required, to update the management plans already in place.