PLANS to revamp Barnet Copthall Stadium by Premiership side Saracens would make it a “key facility” for athletics, according to UK Athletics, the sports’ governing body.

Today the rugby club has also released new artist’s impressions of the Mill Hill stadium as it could look, which show the height of the new stands more accurately.

The club had previously been criticised by a group of residents against the scheme who said previous images did not accurately represent the proposal’s scale and the impact it would have on the Green Belt.

Critics say the controversial proposals to transform the stadium into a 10,000-seater venue for Saracens would damage athletics there, with half the track being covered for nine months of the year by temporary stands.

It is the home of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers Athletics Club, which boasts tripple jumper Larry Achike and a host of international performers on their roster.

In a letter of support Niels de Vos, chief executive of UK Athletics, said: “The stadium is an important athletic facility both nationally and locally and this project should bring benefits to local athletics and the wider athletic community.”

Plans put forward by Saracens also include an indoor running track under a new main stand, which the developers claim will boost winter training.

Mr de Vos added: “The establishment of an indoor athletics facility which allows, for the first time in Barnet, training and competition to take place all the year round will help to develop the sport at all levels.

“These developments would also make Copthall a key facility for England in the delivery of their coach development and coach education plans for London.”

Under the proposals the stadium would also have around 3,000 permanent seats for the athletics season, twice as many as are currently available.

However, it is feared the plans would see several sports including hammer throwing, javelin and the long jump moved outside the stadium, as a new synthetic pitch is not suitable for them.