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Barnet FC switch would 'raise the profile' of Harrow
Harrow Council’s deputy leader says letting Barnet FC move to the borough would bring “tremendous social and economic benefits”.
Councillor Thaya Idaikkadar says the local economy would receive a huge boost if the cabinet votes for Barnet FC's request to play their home matches at The Hive Football Centre.
The council's cabinet will meet on Thursday to discuss the proposed move to the site at Prince Edward Playing Fields in Canons Park.
The club announced earlier this year it would play one more years at its Underhill Stadium in Barnet, its home of 105 years, but has been involved in a long-running dispute with Barnet Council over the lease on the land, which is coming to an end.
The lease of a neighbouring cricket club which provides fans with access to the southern side of the stadium expires in December, and without a lease supporters will be unable to access that part of the stadium.
Barnet Council denies responsibility for the club's decision to leave Underhill.
Speculation has been rife for years that the team wanted to move to the The Hive Football Centre, which is undergoing a £4million renovation, but it requires the permission of Harrow Council to do so for the beginning of the 2013/14 season.
Cllr Idaikkadar said: “Barnet Football Club could bring tremendous social and economic benefits to the community. It would offer access to the club facilities and link its services to schools, colleges, and community groups.
“Football clubs are aware of their responsibility to the community. They promote sport and good health, encourage residents to become members and provide local preference schemes for tickets to attend games.
“They bring employment and training opportunities to the community and generate income from match days which raises the profile of the borough.”
Council officers have recommended the club is given initial approval to play matches in the playing fields for ten years, until the end of the 2022/23 season, although there is a 125-year agreement between the council and club already in place to use the land for training purposes.
But residents’ groups have raised concerns about huge increases in traffic to the area, especially Camrose Avenue, insufficient parking spaces and the introduction of controlled match-day parking, litter and noise.