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Embarassed planning chief admits Harrow Council officers failed to follow process over Barnet FC's Hive stadium application
Planning officers were left red faced last night after it emerged they had failed to follow procedure when considering Barnet FC’s application for The Hive.
In a twist at the meeting of Harrow Borough Council’s planning committee deferred a decision on an application for alterations to the Hive football stadium following advice from planning director Stephen Kelly.
The advice came after it was found council planning officers had not carried out a key part of the planning process to establish whether or not an environmental impact assessment was required.
Mr Kelly told councillors: “I am embarrassed to have to come with you at this late stage with this news but it is an important part of the process we have failed to undertake.”
Chairman of the planning committee Councillor Will Stoodley said: “I feel we have been messed about and residents have been messed about with this.”
He also sought assurances from the director for planning that when the application comes before the committee again these issues would be resolved.
The recommendation to defer the decision came as a shock to the committee and also councillors and members of the public who had attended the meeting to hear the decision.
Many living near the stadium had concerns over noise, traffic and the impact on parking on match days.
Cllr Marilyn Ashton, who was due to speak at the meeting against the proposals, said: “This is a scandal. There is something seriously wrong with this application and this is a very serious issue.”
According to documents, planning officers recommended the committee refuse the plans due to lack of information from Barnet FC about the impact of light from the new higher floodlights.
Then during the past week councillors were informed the recommendation would change to deferral, but by the time of the meeting last night the committee was again told to refuse the application.
Councillor Sachin Shah said: “This whole process is a complete shambles. To be in a situation where councillors were given three recommendations for the plans within 24 hours is ridiculous.
“It’s just disgraceful and no one wins out of this situation. This important thing now is that we get this situation sorted and the committee can make a decision so people know where they stand either way.”
It is not clear when the application will come before the committee again, but a decision could be made on the plans in September.
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