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Harrow Council 'sorry to hear' of complaints over Barnet FC consultation
The deputy leader of Harrow Council has apologised after a residents’ association labelled consultation on Barnet FC’s move to the borough “a farce”.
Councillor Thaya Idaikkadar, cabinet member for major contracts, said he wanted the community to “embrace” the club’s proposal to play home matches at The Hive Football Centre, in Prince Edward Playing Fields, from next year.
Yesterday, Shirley Sackwild, secretary of Canons Park Residents’ Association, said the council’s consultation on the decision had been “a total farce”, with some homes not receiving leaflets and drop-in sessions not providing enough information.
The council’s cabinet will decide on Thursday whether the switch from Underhill Stadium in Barnet – the club’s home of 105 years – will be given the go ahead, and council officers have recommended it be approved.
Cllr Idaikkadar said: “We are sorry to hear some residents do not feel adequately informed of these proposals but we would like to reassure the local community that we are listening to them carefully.
“We will not make a final decision until their concerns are addressed and we have taken on board the feedback provided during the consultation which included letters circulated to 2,500 households in the immediate area and drop-in sessions.”
He added that residents had been given a chance to meet representatives from the club and council to discuss the plans.
Homeowners in the area have complained that the agreement would cause parking chaos on match days, with a controlled parking zone (CPZ) being introduced, while there are also concerns over noise and litter.
Council officers have recommended that the club is given initial approval to play matches in the playing fields for ten years, until the end of the 2022/23 season, although there is a 125-year agreement between the council and club already in place to use the land for training purposes.
The council’s report says the economic benefits of bringing the club to the borough are wide-ranging – from giving the community access to the facilities to bringing match-day income to local businesses from fans who attend games.