Brighton victory in stadium fight

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The Independent Online

After a four-year planning battle, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has ruled that the 23,000-seat stadium can be constructed at Falmer. The decision ends months of doubt for fans who, since 1999, have had to watch their club play at the Withdean Stadium, a temporary ground in Brighton with just 7,000 seats.

The club and supporters claimed the Withdean was limiting the team's potential to earn ticket revenue.

Brighton and Hove City Council, which had granted planning permission for the Falmer stadium in June 2002, welcomed Mr Prescott's ruling.

The council leader, Ken Bodfish, said: "It's the most fantastic news. I'm so happy for the fans and the city.

Falmer residents and Lewes District Council opposed the plans, claiming that the village and an area of "outstanding natural beauty" on the Downs would be spoilt.

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