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Last Updated: Friday, 3 September 2004, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Albion inquiry set for New Year
The planned new stadium
The club applied for permission to build the stadium in 2001
A public inquiry into Brighton and Hove Albion's stadium plans will not reopen until the New Year, the club has said.

The football club wants to build a 22,000-seater ground on land at Falmer - a plan opposed by villagers.

In July, John Prescott said a public inquiry should be reopened to look at eight possible sites for the stadium, including the Falmer option

On Friday, the club said the first available date for the inquiry to reopen would be 11 January 2005.

We hope this will be the final leg of what is a long and drawn out process
Martin Perry, Brighton and Hove Albion chief executive

Martin Perry, Albion chief executive, said: "It is what we expected - around four months for the inquiry process.

"We hope this will be the final leg of what is a long and drawn out process.

"This timetable gives us sufficient time to prepare all the information we need to present our case.

"Importantly we should have a decision before the next general election."

A pre-inquiry meeting has been planned for the end of September, a Brighton and Hove Albion spokesman said.

Ground sold-off

Submissions from interested parties would then need to be lodged with the Planning Inspectorate by mid-November followed by a six-week consultation period.

Brighton and Hove Albion have been without a stadium since their former home - the Goldstone Ground - closed in 1997 and was then sold off.

Supporters want the stadium at land at Falmer but residents of the village have vehemently opposed the plans.

The deputy prime minister had been due to rule on whether the ground could be built in Falmer after a public inquiry, but he opted to re-open the inquiry to investigate other sites for the stadium.

The eight sites which are to be considered in the fresh inquiry are: Brighton Station; Brighton Greyhound Stadium; Shoreham Harbour; Sheepcote Valley; Toad's Hole Valley; Waterhall; the Withdean stadium and Falmer.

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