Taxpayers will have to fork out to cover Barnet FC’s wasted expenses after Harrow Council was castigated for bungling efforts to try to control the size and scale of The Hive football stadium.

Barnet FC exceeded agreed dimensions for the west stand and the floodlights at the stadium, in Camrose Avenue, Edgware, when they were built but was refused retrospective planning permission by Harrow Council on September 11 2013 to regularise their new height and width.

Two days later the club was served with an enforcement notice, ordering the demolition of the 2,634-capacity stand and the removal of the floodlights.

This all happened under an Independent Labour administration.

The club appealed the planning decision and the enforcement notice but shortly before the planning inquiry into both matters was to begin in June, the council - now under a Labour administration - formally withdrew the notice without explanation.

See also:

Independent planning inspector 'is God' in Hive decision as council scraps Barnet FC public inquiry

Barnet FC sees enforcement notice for The Hive withdrawn by Harrow Council

Barnet FC's The Hive stadium nominated for Observer-backed architecture gong  

Following an application by Barnet FC, the Planning Inspectorate has ruled the council must reimburse all the club's costs associated with the appeal.

The decision notice, issued on September 17 but only made public today, said: “The council's investigations were not sufficiently rigorous or conclusive.

“It is difficult for the secretary of state not to conclude that by their withdrawal of the enforcement notice, the council has effectively concded that they did not have ‘reasonable’ grounds for considering it 'expedient' to have issued it in the first place.

“Therefore, the secretary of state takes the view that the council acted unreasonably.”

The notice continues: “In this case, it appears that the council decided, following the receipt of independent planning and legal advice, that they could no longer defend on appeal their stated reasons for issuing the enforcement notice.

“However, it is reasonable to conclude that had the Council obtained this independent advice and reached the conclusion it has now before taking enforcement action, the notice would not have been issued.”

Barnet FC and Harrow Council will now agree a reimbursement figure, the size of which is not referred to in the decision notice, or else the inspectorate will assess the sum to be awarded.

A decision in the planning appeal is expected at the end of October following a site visit.

A Harrow Council spokesman: "The council notes and accepts the judgment in this case. We will seek to work with the owners of Barnet FC”