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A MESSAGE FROM YOUR COMMITTEE

As you are all no doubt aware, on Wednesday 27 February the Council is considering the Club's proposal for the new stadium. The meeting starts at 7pm in the Town Hall, The Burroughs, Hendon NW4 and is open to the public.

Please be there to show your support and as it may well attract a large attendance you ought to try and get there early. This is a big night for Barnet FC.

The Committee has been active in campaigning in support of the Club's plan for south Underhill. Members of the committee who are Barnet residents have represented us at three recent Barnet Area Forums. This included that on 20 February when Tony Kleanthous answered questions from residents. This was a great opportunity for clarification of the facts and ending some of the misleading statements around.

We were at the public meeting held by our local MP, Sir Sydney Chapman, and have been lobbying him as well as Brian Coleman, our GLA member and Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London.

Over the weekend we have e-mailed all 20 members of the Planning & Environmental Committee with the letter which for information is copied below.

 
       
  PLEASE SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR BARNET FC.

BE THERE ON WEDNESDAY.

BARNET FC SUPPORTERS' ASSOCIATION

 
       
 

23 February 2002

Planning & Environmental Committee Meeting-27 February-Barnet FC stadium proposal

Councillor XXXX
London Borough of Barnet
Town Hall
The Burroughs
Hendon NW4 4BG

Dear Councillor XXXX

I am writing to you as a representative of the Barnet FC Supporters' Association as I am a member of its committee. We have some 325 members.

We recognise the concerns of a small number of residents within the immediate area of Underhill. We would, however, ask you to consider the wider issues involved.

  • There are no other suitable sites and the Club will seek to relocate if this scheme does not proceed. The Club in conjunction with the Council officers investigated well over 30 alternative sites. Following the rejection of Copthall, Underhill became the only site available.

  • The Club has been forced by the onerous conditions of the Taylor Report to build a larger stadium, capable of holding at least 6000 with 2000 seats. This is the minimum required for entry in the Football League and also membership of the Football Conference from 2004. This is a real threat to the future of the Club.

  • The Club is a key part of the community in Barnet and has a substantial following. The present stadium is not only fails to meet League requirements but is one of the poorest stadiums even by the standards of the Football Conference, let alone the Football League. Fans would welcome better facilities and if you have visited the Underhill stadium you will no doubt appreciate this.

  • The Club was at Underhill before the residents and the establishment of the Green Belt.

  • Existing road and rail facilities provide good access. Buses including 34, 234,107, 307, 263, 326, 84, 383, and 383 serve the area. There is a nearby tube station and the WAGN station at New Barnet is about 1 mile away. There are also good links with the M25 and other roads from the North.

  • The Cricket Club site is "metropolitan open land" and available for sporting facilities. Subject to satisfactory relocation of the Cricket Club, the new stadium would be for sporting use and is different from for example retail or housing development.

  • Problems of fans are almost unknown and we were rated as the fourth best of 92 clubs last season. At the recent Torquay game when thousands of fans were "locked out" there was no trouble.

  • If the club eventually leaves the area there will be a substantial adverse impact on a number of local businesses, such as pubs and catering outlets.

As part of the general debate we would remind you that the capacity proposed for the new stadium is actually lower than the 11,000 capacity that applied to the existing stadium at the time the club entered the Football League. In considering the impact of the plan on the local area in terms of crowds, traffic, noise and general disturbance this is a key factor that needs to be understood by local residents. An enlarged capacity will not necessarily bring about a substantial increase in the crowd and even if it did, probably not to the level seen at times in the past.

We recognise the genuine concerns of the small number of local residents who are directly affected by the scheme, in particular those who look onto the cricket ground. We understand that the Council will ensure that the impact is minimised as part of the development.

If the club is not permitted to use this small area of "Green Belt" at the edge of an existing urban development, it will be forced to leave the Borough after a century as part of the community. This we feel is unacceptable and a view shared by the many Barnet residents who signed the petition seeking a home for the club in the Borough. This is the only site for our home. The site identified is the last chance of ensuring the club has a long-term viable future in Barnet and on behalf of all those interested in local football we call on our councillors to deliver this. In considering this important issue we would urge you to support the proposal, as there appears to be no local alternative.

Yours sincerely

Barnet FC Supporters' Association

 
       
 

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