SARACENS' plans to move to Barnet Copthall Stadium do not fit with London's development plans, according to the Mayor of London's office.

In a stage one ruling on the proposals to develop the 1960s athletics stadium into a 10,000 seater venue the planning officers say there is too much car parking and it threatens the Green Belt.

A group of local residents are upset by the plans and say there is not enough parking and it will bring transport problems to the area.

However, the Premiership club says the proposal would see £14m invested in facilities and open them up to the community and schools for free most days of the year.

They have also chosen satellite parking sites and vowed to put marshals in on 16 match days each year to stop parking on local roads.

However, in the first ruling the Mayor's office says: “There is an over provision of onsite and satellite parking spaces as well as insufficient details about how car parking in the vicinity of the site will be managed and controlled.”

It also criticises the proposals, which include rebuilding two permanent stands at the site, as “inappropriate development in the Green Belt”.

Today's report means Saracens could find it impossible to get the current scheme passed even if approved by Barnet Council's planning committee, as they have to be signed off by the Mayor.

However, the 27-page document, an initial assessment of the plans, does support the “principle” of refurbishing the stadium, and says the extra crowds drawn in on match days and conferences may be allowed in “very special circumstances”.

These may include a lack of suitable alternative options for the site and the community benefits offered by it, as well as protecting the rights of existing users.