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Miller's £70 million Fulham stadium faces legal challenge

Local campaigners have stepped up opposition to the Miller Partnership's £70 million redevelopment of Fulham Football Club's Craven Cottage stadium (above), in a last bid to end the plan.

The Fulham Alliance - the organisation of residents opposed to the scheme - is set to mount two legal challenges to the project that would completely revamp the ground, increasing capacity to 30,000. Even if unsuccessful, the moves will force further delays to the scheme. The group is set to appeal to the House of Lords against John Prescott's decision not to call in the redevelopment. And it will also take the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to the High Court, citing the Human Rights Act over its original decision to grant the project planning permission.

The alliance claims the stadium will have an adverse effect on the community. It argues the proposed 22m-high stadium is 'wholly out of character with the local area' and would damage both residential areas and the stretch of river it overlooks. It is also concerned about increased crowds and resulting congestion. The reinvigorated campaign has forced the club to move back its date for the reoccupation of the stadium from the start of the 2003-04 season to the following year. A ruling from the House of Lords is not expected until November.

Fulham's stadium development manager Peter Randall admitted the Fulham Alliance was proving a tenacious obstruction to the club's plans. 'They have even let it be known that if these legal proceedings fail, they will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights, ' he said.

Local council planning case officer Kevin Batt agreed: 'If the residents won either of these cases, then the whole scheme could be in trouble.'

The Miller Partnership replaced the stadium's original designer, Snell Associates, as the project architect for the scheme (AJ 24.1.02).

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