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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 19:16 GMT
Legal challenge over stadium plan
The planned stadium at Falmer
The club submitted its plans for Falmer four years ago
John Prescott's decision to give planning permission for a football stadium on the outskirts of Brighton is to be challenged in the High Court.

Lewes District Council said it decided to proceed with the legal challenge after taking advice from a barrister.

A spokesman said: "The council has never argued that the team should not have a new stadium but believes there are alternative sites available."

He said the decision was against government planning policy.

"John Prescott's decision is to be challenged in the High Court because it conflicts with his own government's planning guidance designed to protect Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty against this sort of development," he said.

Seven year fight

"A number of important planning issues were either overlooked, or were not properly considered."

He said the council had consulted a barrister and taken account of the fact that two planning inspectors recommended against building on the site at Falmer.

The football club was granted permission last month for the 23,000-seater stadium after a seven year battle and two public inquiries.

Fans march in Brighton
Fans have shown their concern by holding protest marches in Brighton
Chairman Dick Knight said the club was over the moon, but campaigners against the plans said they were disappointed and believed it was the "wrong location".

Brighton have been playing home games at Withdean, an athletics stadium in the city, since 1999 and their last permanent home was sold off in 1997.

The club argued that by having to play home games at Withdean, with a capacity of 7,000, it was missing out on huge amounts of ticket revenue.

Brighton and Hove City Council backed the scheme, as did the city's MPs.

But some Falmer residents objected strongly to having a stadium built in their village.

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