Barnet FC has been told it needs to be "realistic" about returning to the borough after its chosen site was described as "highly unlikely to be acceptable".

Barnet FC's chairman, Tony Kleanthous, this week announced his plans to move the Bees from their current home at The Hive in Canons Park, Edgware, back to South Underhill.

But Barnet Council has voiced concerns about the proposed location for a new stadium as the site is on greenbelt land.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: "We’re working to put Barnet on the capital’s sporting map and are home to Saracens rugby club and The 108, Europe’s first indoor baseball park.

"While it would be good to welcome Barnet FC back to their home borough, the club has to be realistic about the planning challenges for situating a stadium."

Times Series: Tony KleanthousTony Kleanthous

In his announcement, Mr Kleanthous explained that during the pandemic he had "busied" himself with finding a suitable site for a new stadium in Barnet.

Mr Kleanthous said: "I am delighted to announce our exciting plans to end our ten-year exile in Harrow and bring Barnet FC back to Barnet.

"After months of searching, it became clear that the best site was the one we originally identified at South Underhill and so we asked our architect to revisit these proposals."

He added that the proposed new stadium could hold between 6,000 and 8,000 spectators.

Times Series: Barnet Council said the plans were highly unlikely to be acceptableBarnet Council said the plans were highly unlikely to be acceptable

But Barnet Council said that the proposed Underhill stadium is "highly unlikely" to be acceptable due to its green belt location.

A spokesperson said: "Justifying any development in the greenbelt would require a ‘very special circumstances’ case to be made, which demonstrates that the benefits of development outweigh the detriment, and it is very hard to see how this case could be achieved."

The council also raised concerns over the added pressure a new stadium would put on nearby roads.

The spokesperson said: "To date, we have been unable to move forward as Barnet FC are yet to propose an acceptable site.

"In our effort to find them a home in Barnet several sites have been looked at but were considered to be unsuitable."

They added: "However, our doors are always open to examine other options.”