The Marie Foster Centre, which looks after Multiple Sclerosis (MS) sufferers in the borough, could be moved to Finchley Memorial Hospital by autumn 2005.

An outline business case to be presented at Barnet Primary Care Trust's board meeting today (July 31), recommends that the service be moved from its current base in Wood Street, Barnet, to the hospital in Granville Road, North Finchley.

The centre was built in 1973, following pressure from the Multiple Sclerosis Society, to provide care for adults with neuro-degenerative disorders.

Traditionally, between 85 per cent and 95 per cent of centre users suffer from MS - it also provides supports people with conditions like motor neurone disease and others recovering from cardiovascular problems.

The new building would cost £6Êmillion and provide 26 beds for continuing and respite care, as well as day care facilities, which would be developed in conjunction with social services.

Redeveloping the current site was discussed in 1998, but the idea was dropped.

Elizabeth Manero, chairwoman of Barnet Community Health Council at that time, said: "It has been a very, very long delay.

"The project really has been a victim of reorganisation after reorganisation. I am very pleased they are pushing it ahead at last."