|The following article has been reproduced by kind permission of The Non-League Paper.com.|
|BARNET LAUNCH ATTACK|
Barnet Football Club this week accused Conservative activists of distributing a poster "riddled with inaccuracies and untrue statements" to whip up opposition to their proposed new stadium to the south of Underhill.
The poster, advertising a meeting by Chipping Barnet Tory MP Sir Sydney Chapman at Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet, on February 1, is headed "No to building on the Green Belt".
The Barnet chairman says he is disappointed that Sir Sydney, who had told him he would support the football club's bid for a new stadium to stay in the borough, is continuing his Green Belt stance in this particular instance knowing that the club has no alternative site in the borough.
Dennis Signy, Barnet's PR consultant, accused Conservatives officials in Underhill ward of "whipping up fervour by peddling untrue statements" and called on Sir Sydney, in the interests of fair play, to correct the inaccuracies before the meeting.
"He might also wish to point out that the present Underhill ground, where football was played for many years before the nearby houses were built, is also designated Green Belt land.
The chairman and Signy list some of the inaccuracies in the poster:-
"The stadium will be rebuilt on 15 acres of Green Belt land" - the correct figure is SEVEN acres.
"A 10,000 capacity stadium" - the figure is 9212.
"Twenty concession shop units" - these are catering units inside the stadium for the sale of food and beverages to supporters.
"Some of the present stands at Underhill will be refurbished or rebuilt" - there will be NO rebuilding or refurbishment. In fact, all stands and terraces will be removed, other than the main stand which will stay to accommodate changing facilities and family spectators.
Signy points that the area in question is currently private land, not public, and in the new proposal there would be half an acre more of public amenity space than at present.
The poster refers to the height of the proposed stands as 40 feet, about four storeys high. What is not made clear is that this is on one side because of the slope across the site and the overall height of the stadium is consistent with that of the existing housing adjacent to the stadium at approximately 26 feet, about two storeys.
Kleanthous added: "I am sure that Sir Sydney, as an honourable gentleman, would not wish to use distorted facts so that some people can use the issue to jump on a political bandwagon. This is a planning issue with the future of the football club at stake and not a vote catching exercise for the local elections".
Barnet FC also dispute as "100 per cent inaccurate" a statement in a second poster sent out to advertise a forum meeting at Whetstone last week which said that residents "would pay for the privilege to park outside their own homes" in a controlled parking zone over a 2km area around the stadium.
The initial zone would be in the immediate vicinity of the ground, replacing the current informal parking arrangements, and the area of CPZ would only increase after consultation with residents upon the club achieving a significant average increase in attendance. Parking for residents would be free.
Kleanthous said: "We have provided assurances that the project will not commence until we have successfully negotiated the relocation of Barnet Cricket Club, St John Ambulance and the Scouts Group. We have also agreed with the Council the scope of the CPZ, as well as further improvements to public transport and pedestrian access.
"The new stadium will increase the amount of open space for the public to enjoy and a number of measures, including the preservation of the children's playground and extensive landscaping, have also been agreed in order to ensure that neighbours anxieties are fully addressed".