Saracens Rugby Club has promised to make a positive difference in the area following the release of a council report recommending the approval of their development plans for Copthall Stadium.

A report on the proposal is to go to the Planning and Environment Committee meeting on Friday, February 2, with a recommendation that the erection of a community sports stadium be approved.

More than 6000 letters of support were received during consultation, with 1500 letters of objection also received - 12 authors of which have requested to speak about their concerns at the meeting.

A petition in support of the proposal was submitted by Whetstone Wanderers in August 2011 with 251 signatures and a 35-signature petition against it was received from residents in Sebergham Grove and Sandwick Close on October.

Nigel Wray, chairman of Saracens, said: “The recommendation to approve our planning application by council officers is a very positive step forward and we sincerely hope that councillors at Barnet will also be able to support the plans.

“The recommendation is the result of a thorough analysis of all aspects of the plans and a lot of hard work to develop the best possible scheme.

"Issues have been raised throughout the process, such as Green Belt policy and transportation. We have responded positively by amending our plans, providing further information and introducing robust safeguards."

Main objections to the plan include concerns over preservation of green belt land next to the site, transport, traffic, access and parking inadequacies and impact of the stadium on nearby residents.

Mr Wray maintained that the club has the best interests of the community at heart.

"We are not a normal developer," he said.

"We plan to make Copthall our home. We are therefore committed to working closely with the local community and becoming a part of it. We want and need local support and we will work hard for it. We absolutely promise that.

“We will treat local residents with respect and make a positive difference in the area.

“We are delighted with the amount of support that we have received from throughout the local community. We absolutely promise that we will make Copthall a community asset that we can all be proud of.”

The proposal received loud criticism at a public event hosted by Mayor of London Boris Johnson last week, when questions over its support were met with shouts of “no” and “boo” from the audience.

Cabinet member councillor Brian Coleman, who chaired the event, was among the plan’s objectors and stated clearly: “I entirely oppose the Saracens’ proposal.

“It will fail for the same reasons Barnet Football Club application failed ten years ago."

Coverage from the Times Series on the topic has elicited passionate responses from readers with comments in both opposition and support of the plans.

The redeveloped Copthall stadium would become home to Saracens who would play up to 16 matches per year on a new synthetic pitch.

At all other times the facilities would be available to the local community – it will be free of charge to local schools and will be home to Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers and other athletics clubs, who would benefit from new indoor athletics facilities.

The Saracens Foundation would also be based at Copthall, running outreach programmes for the community.