Barnet Football Club's long search for a new home took a step forward after Barnet Council unveiled a proposal to build a stadium in Montrose Park, Burnt Oak.

Council leader Brian Salinger said he believed that the council-owned park in Montrose Avenue is the only option in the borough available to the club, which has seen previous attempts to build a new stadium at Underhill in Barnet and Copthall in Mill Hill, thwarted.

Dennis Signy, spokesman for Barnet FC, said that it was too early to say whether this was the solution, but that the club was looking forward to receiving a feasibility study for us to assess exactly what is on offer'.

"It is not easy to give a snap reply to the suggestion that Montrose playing fields is a possible site for a new stadium," he added.

Previous searches for stadium sites had been fruitless, but planning officers were asked to look again, and discovered that Montrose Park was not on Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land, and, therefore, was a viable site.

Mr Salinger believes that between one-third to a half of the 11-acre site could be used for the new stadium, which could be situated at the back of the park, near the Tube tracks.

With good transport links Colindale and Burnt Oak Tube stations are nearby and the opportunity to combine the development with the regeneration of Colindale, Mayor of London Ken Livingstone's criteria for stadium planning applications are fulfilled.

And concerns that the site lies in the flood plain of the Silk Stream should not pose a problem, according to the council leader.

"I recognise the importance of a thriving football club for the community," said Mr Salinger. "I think we may have come up with what may be an answer.

"We have not found anywhere else that would satisfy the criteria, particularly around Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land issues. It is a suitable location, and could be part of the Colindale regeneration."

The move has received backing from Pattie Skeats, secretary of Burnt Oak Traders' Association and organiser of the Watling Festival, which is held in the park.

She believes that there is enough space in the park for a stadium, and that the community, especially teenagers, could benefit from having the club in Burnt Oak, but she warned that development on the land may be restricted by covenants.

"Nobody wants to lose Barnet Football Club," she said. "They would be welcome in this part of the borough."

Labour deputy leader Councillor Danish Chopra, who is a ward councillor for Colindale, branded the proposal as off the cuff', and said that he would need to see more information before supporting or dismissing the plan.

Duncan Macdonald, Liberal Democrat candidate for next month's High Barnet by-election, expressed great reservations' about the move, because of problems with access into the park, parking facilities, and lack of transport links between Barnet and Burnt Oak.

"Barnet Football Club should stay in the Chipping Barnet area and preferably in Underhill," he said.

The council has now asked KSS Design Group to come up with a design for the stadium.