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Barnet FC chairman Tony Kleanthous pledges to be 'good neighbours' to Harrow community
The chairman of Barnet FC has expressed his “delight” at Harrow Council’s decision to approve the club’s move to the borough.
Tony Kleanthous, who has led the club’s move away from Underhill – its home of 105 years – to The Hive Football Centre in Prince Edward Playing Fields, said he was thankful to councillors for showing “tremendous support” for the plan at a meeting last night.
The club must now complete the 5,176-seater stadium at the venue and fulfil existing planning conditions so it can start the 2013/14 season at the new ground. It has been given an initial ten-year lease to play league matches there.
In a statement, Mr Kleanthous said: “Now that we know our immediate future is secure in the area we will continue to make sure that we do our utmost to respect the views of local residents and be the good neighbours that everyone knows us to be at Underhill.
“We will also begin consultation with our fantastic supporters to ensure that we fully encapsulate their views in any stadium development.
“We have nearly completed the £4million second phase of renovations and improvements to the site this summer, which includes the fitness centre, conferencing facilities, restaurant and bar.
“These are now all open and available for use by the local community. By including the completion of the stadium to this, it will bring investment at The Hive up to £20m by this time next year.”
Homeowners in the area showed their anger at last night’s meeting, after labelling the council’s consultation “a total farce” amidst concerns over parking chaos on match days and the introduction of a controlled parking zone (CPZ).
The council has promised to set up a scrutiny body made of representatives from the club, council and community to monitor the impact of the move and address concerns.