Barnet FC’s chairman has hailed the end of a ten-year "exile" in Harrow as the club prepares to return to its home borough.

The club's chairman, Tony Kleanthous, has announced plans to leave their current home at The Hive in Canons Park and return to Barnet.

His statement on the Barnet FC website outlined proposals for a new stadium at the South Underhill site.

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."

Times Series: The chairman said he was delighted to announce the plans to bring the club homeThe chairman said he was delighted to announce the plans to bring the club home

"Our initial three-year tenure at The Hive was extended indefinitely by Harrow Council but I always felt that if it were possible, then Barnet FC should return to the home from where it took its identity.

"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."

During the pandemic, Mr Kleanthous "busied" himself with finding a suitable site for a new stadium in Barnet, to bring the club back home.

The search concluded with the selection of the South Underhill site.

Times Series: The club's current home at The Hove in Cannons ParkThe club's current home at The Hove in Cannons Park (Image: Action Images)

The new stadium will have a capacity of between 6,000 and 8,000, and the plans include two "Multi Use Games Areas", a recreation zone for pupils, a training pitch on Barnet Playing Fields, and a school drop-off zone to ease rush-hour congestion.

WSP Planning Consultancy has been contracted to start the pre-application process.

Barnet FC's previous departure from Underhill, after the 2012/13 season, led them to their current home at The Hive.

Underhill was also used by the London Broncos, a Super League side, for training sessions and hosting their Under-19 team's home games.

However, Mr Kleanthous disclosed plans to sell the site in 2014, saying that the stadium's condition was deteriorating and the maintenance costs were too high.

The plan was always to move the Bees back to their home in Barnet.

Mr Kleanthous concluded: "We hope that we will receive the full support of Barnet FC fans, local residents and the Council so that we can bring our incredible Club back to where it belongs."

A spokesperson for Barnet Council 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.

“To date, we have been unable to move forward as they 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.

"The Underhill location is highly unlikely to be acceptable because it is on greenbelt land. 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.

"In addition, a stadium on the Underhill site will cause additional pressure on local roads and highways. However, our doors are always open to examine other options.”