WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Don’t grovel to Arsenal over clear-up

06 October, 2017

FC Köln fans at Highbury Fields

• I WAS appalled to hear Town Hall leader Richard Watts’ fawning statement of gratitude to Arsenal for condescending to contribute to the cost of cleaning up the mess left in Highbury after the FC Köln game by visitors to the stadium (Arsenal fork out £5k for clean-up, September 29).

The sum amounts to perhaps six-hours’ worth of a top player’s wages, although Arsenal “would not say if they would cover the cost of future clean-ups”. This is the very least they should be doing, as would be expected of any industrial/commercial operation polluting the neighbourhood. Failure to do so should be heavily penalised.

It should not be for residents to pick up the bill. We are already obliged to suffer in silence as we are subjected to random match-day disruption, road closures, noise and light pollution from the stadium and helicopters – and, not least, providing residents’ parking space for blue-badge holders attending matches, an uncanny number of whom seem to own top-of-the-range vehicles.

Arsenal and the council have consistently refused to address the blue-badge parking issue in any meaningful way since the stadium opened more than 10 years ago.

Rather than grovelling with gratitude, the Town Hall leader should be actively using what powers he has to persuade Arsenal to recognise their responsibilities and abandon their default attitude to the community, which is, let’s be honest, contempt.

JOHN KEANE
Highbury Hill, N5

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