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Barnet FC 11-7 Opposition

Barnet FC's future looks a lot rosier after Barnet Council's planning committee passed the stadium application by eleven votes to seven.

The meeting eventually started at eight o'clock after a previous application had been heard. Two speakers spoke against the proposal first, and were spoon fed questions by councillors, such as "Do you think this new ground will increase traffic in the area?"

Then it was the turn of David Davis, from the BFCSA committee, to speak. He gave a worthy speech supporting the application - then fielded questions from the councillors.

Standing at the back, behind Miranda Dunn (from the local green party) who kept shuffling her papers, together with the fact that the speakers' microphone stopped working at this point, made it difficult to hear what was being said. However, he seemed to answer these with no problem.

Then a thunderous applause rang out as the second speaker in support of the application, one Tony Kleanthous, was invited to speak. Sounding nervous, he gave his five minute speech and was then subjected to many questions.

Again, it was difficult to hear everything being said - at one point he had to explain, once again, why the stadium cannot be built in the existing footprint. Eventually, he was able to retire to his seat to more rousing applause. The councillors then debated various points until Brian Coleman took the initiative and motioned that the meeting go before the full chamber, at a date to be arranged.

This motion was not carried, much to his chagrin. A rush for last orders possibly on his mind? However, he did not have to wait for much longer as another councillor motioned that they vote there and then, with no further discussion.

This motion was carried, and everyone present leaned forward in anticipation. It was like a penalty in extra time - the feeling in the pit of my stomach was like a ball of lead. The "Votes For" was taken first (I think!). "Eleven," said the chairman, "those against?".

There were twenty councillors, but my A-Level maths failed me and I anxiously looked at the raised hands. It didn't look quite as many - and this was confirmed by the chairman, "Seven against".

I started clapping, others started cheering - Miranda Dunn started having a go at some bloke standing near me (I think it was Alan Williams, the council leader). I filed out into the corridor, not quite believing what had just happened.

Of course, this decision will probably be called in, appealled against, or whatever due process calls for. But we go into the second leg a goal up - tonight, victory was sweet!


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