The sale of public land to a professional football club has sparked a heated debate between the council and the region’s MP.

Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, hit out at Harrow Council over a “lack of transparency” regarding the lease of land to Barnet Football Club at The Hive, in Canons Park.

He believes that the land, which was previously bought by the council, was undervalued at £2 million.

However, Cllr Keith Ferry, deputy leader at Harrow Council, responded by declaring the assertions “dead wrong” and defended the development.

The Hive, which compromises a 5,000-capacity stadium, training facilities and a number of other amenities open to the public, opened in 2009.

Barnet’s move to the site was ratified by the Football League in 2013 and Cllr Ferry noted how the significant investment had dramatically improved the area.

But Mr Blackman argued that residents were not considered when the move was granted by the council.

He added that such action, in his eyes selling off public land “on the cheap”, has the potential to set a precedent when it comes to local authorities’ use of taxpayers’ money.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “Local authorities have a responsibility to tax payers to care for public assets in a diligent manner.

“In this instance, London Borough of Harrow has, in my opinion, failed. Residents were not advised of the sale and the use of multiple private companies should alert persons as to transparency of local government.

“I suspect this has happened elsewhere in the UK; where a local authority sells off publicly owned land cheap, to cover their own financial mismanagement.

“Residents in the immediate proximity to the site are unhappy and Harrow residents should be angered at how the council has sold off land they – council tax payers – stumped up the cash to purchase initially, at what I consider well below market rate for a site of this size in Greater London.”

Cllr Ferry pointed out that the development at The Hive has been of great benefit to the community, providing jobs and opportunities for those nearby.

He said: “Mr Blackman is dead wrong in his inaccurate criticism of this Council’s work on the Hive.

“Perhaps he would have preferred that we left it in the derelict state that Wealdstone FC’s partners left the Hive in, more than a decade ago?

“Mr Blackman is quick to defend the community use of the site and of the playing fields – well, neither would exist without Barnet’s lease of the site and our partnership with the club.

“It is Barnet FC’s investment which provided not only the stadium and football centre of excellence but also the sports complex, catering and conference facilities – and all the jobs and opportunities for young people that come with it.”

He added that the public had been consulted on the matter; that thousands of households were invited to a pair of full-day public consultations about Barnet’s use of the site, local residents’ associations and councillors were canvassed on the issue and the decision went to a public session of the council’s cabinet.