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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 January, 2005, 11:05 GMT
Firms lose Arsenal stadium fight
Artist impression of Ashburton Grove stadium
Ashburton Grove is seen to be regenerating the area
Small firms in north London have lost a legal challenge forcing them to sell their land to Arsenal Football Club.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's decision to back Islington Council's compulsory purchase order was upheld by the High Court on Tuesday.

The court said the council can use Arsenal's move from Highbury to Ashburton Grove to regenerate the area.

Businessman Raymond Pinn told BBC News they would be talking to advisers and were considering an appeal.

Deprived area

"It's harsh for the company, it's harsh for the other people who submitted the claim, it's harsh for the community.

"We've got to sit down, listen to our advisers and consider an appeal."

The businesses on Queensland Road were represented by the Islington Stadium Communities Alliance.

The case arose after Mr Prescott accepted Islington's view that plans for the new stadium would make "a substantial contribution" to the regeneration of a deprived area.

At an earlier hearing, Mr Prescott was accused of unlawfully using his powers to deprive owners of their property, and infringing their human rights, to benefit a private concern.

Mr Justice Collins said he had "considerable sympathy" for the firms on Queensland Road but dismissed the challenge.

Arsenal FC later said the club was "delighted" with the ruling, with construction of the Emirates Stadium on schedule for opening in August 2006.

Club director Ken Friar said: "This decision will now enable us to further enhance our significant regeneration programme which is already generating many new homes and jobs in the borough of Islington."

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