LONDON Mayor Boris Johnson was stunned with cries of "no" from his audience in Hendon this week, when asking if the borough welcomed the Saracens' Copthall development.

During a Talk London event at the Peel Centre, Aerodrome Road, a question from the floor raised the issue of sport in the borough, referring to the Saracen's development of Copthall Stadium.

Mr Johnson asked: "Do you like the Saracens?"

Cheers of "no" and "boo" were the response, with a smaller group of supporters calling "yes" from the corner of the room.

The outcry comes just one week after sports clubs across the borough sent to Mr Johnson, supporting Saracens’ plans to develop the Sixties athletics stadium into a 10,000-seat venue.

Roger Kemp initiated debate on the subject from the floor, asking about the state of sport in the borough.

He said: "My concern is that over the last few years we have seen the demise of Hendon Football Club which has been forced to leave its ground, we have seen plans to redevelop Underhill by the Barnet Football Club thrown out by the Barnet Council.

"We have seen Saracens submit a planning application to develop Copthall at no cost whatsoever to council taxpayers and these plans haven't got through.

"My concern is, what is the attitude of Barnet Council to sport in this borough?"

Leader of the council, Councillor Richard Cornelius, defended the council's actions, saying: "There can be no organisation that could have offered more support to Barnet Football Club than Barnet Council.

"They scored a fantastic deal from the last Labour council and we have bent over backwards to try and keep them there.”

He added that the Copthall application was an expensive one that would offer incredible community facilities and promised it would be "decided speedily".

Cllr Cornelius’ comments were met with jeers and unrest from the audience.

While cheers were elicited when cabinet member Brian Coleman, who chaired the meeting, expressed his views before moving on.

He said: “I entirely oppose the Saracens’ proposal. It will fail for the same reasons Barnet Football Club application failed ten years ago."