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Last Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Access to Arsenal 'a nightmare'
Arsenal's Emirates Stadium
The new ground has a 60,000-seat capacity
Transport problems around Arsenal's new stadium remain "a complete nightmare" despite assurances from the football club, residents have said.

Residents complained of overcrowding, parking problems and poor Tube links to the Emirates Stadium in north London at an Arsenal community liaison meeting.

The Highbury Community Association said: "On match days you can't move in or out before or after a match."

But Arsenal said access to the venue was "in line with expectations".

Resident and business groups, Islington Council, police and transport officials attended Thursday's community liaison meeting.

The club moved to the 60,000-seat Ashburton Grove venue last summer, and supporters have complained that it can take up to an hour to get away after matches.

'Same disruption'

Martin Jones, chairman of the Highbury Fields Association, also said: "Signs near the venue point out that there are parking restrictions on match days. But you need to know exactly when those match days are to avoid receiving a fine."

Residents also complained of match-day overcrowding at the main Tube stops for the stadium - Arsenal, Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington.

After the meeting Trevor Wilson, of the Highbury Community Association, said: "Nothing has changed since the beginning of the season. We have the same amount of disruption with cars and people running around."

Islington Council has commissioned research into match-day congestion around the stadium, which it will publish after the current football season ends in May.

It is important to remember that this is only the first season at the new stadium
Kevin O'Leary,
Islington Council

The council would not publish its early findings, but an Arsenal spokesman said they were "in line with expectations".

Kevin O'Leary, Islington Council's director of environment and regeneration, said: "It is important to remember that this is only the first season at the new stadium, and a great deal of monitoring, assessment and compromise is taking place."

He said the council would continue to work with Arsenal, the police and Transport for London (TfL) to make match days "as efficient as possible for everyone involved".

A TfL spokesman said: "On match days, we run extra trains and have extra staff on hand to move passengers through the four stations serving Emirates stadium as quickly as possible.

"However, with large numbers of fans all arriving at the Tube stations serving the stadium at the same time, there will be some delays."

He said TfL had allocated more than 50m to improve transport in the area, including looking at ways of increasing capacity at Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington Tube stations.


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