BARNET Football Club's future remains in the balance after a council planning committee voted to defer its decision on proposals to expand the Underhill stadium.

The plans included the provision of 2,000 covered seats required by the Football League by the end of this football season, if the club is not to face expulsion from the Coca Cola League division two.

The most significant sticking point was the club's insistance on including a new north stand in the proposals that would eat into the gardens of private homes on Westcombe Drive.

The deferral, rather than recommended rejection, means that planning officers will approach the club with a view to renegotiating the proposal in a way that could be acceptable for the council.

While councillors on the planning and environment committee expressed support for many other elements of the plan last night, there was a general sense of disappointment that the north stand had been included in the proposal.

Its inclusion left them little option but to reject or defer the proposal, given the impact its approval could have on the value of houses in Westcombe Drive.

It is unlikely that any revised proposal will come before a further planning committee before Christmas, giving the club little time to meet the requirements of the Football League.