THE saga over Barnet FC’s long-standing planning application is set to be decided this week.

Harrow Council officers have recommended the planning committee refuses the football club’s application to make changes to its training ground at The Hive in Camrose Avenue, Edgware, based on the impact the floodlights could have on neighbours.

Case officer Olive Slattery said: “The application has failed to demonstrate that the impact of the floodlights would not result in significant harm to the amenities of neighbours by virtue of unacceptable lighting levels within and adjacent to residential properties surrounding or near to the site.”

Sachin Shah, the Labour councillor for Queensbury, said: “There have been cases where the committee do not follow the recommendation, but I will be campaigning hard on this issue until the meeting.

“When the floodlights were used, residents in the area reported that they were very bright, and even the birds in the area were woken up because they thought a new dawn had broke, so I am very happy they have agreed that this is unacceptable.”

The football club moved from Underhill, its home for more than 100 years, to The Hive training ground earlier this year and played their first game on July 20.

The club relied on planning permission obtained in 2008 to construct the 5,176-capacity ground and has since been seeking permission from the council to make ‘minor amendments’. But neighbours have voiced concerns Barnet FC’s presence is causing noise, parking issues and the floodlights create an intrusive spill.

A spokeswoman for the Canons Park Residents Association said: “There is simply not enough parking in the area as it is, so with everything that goes on during a match day, it is a concern.”

The matter was due to be decided at a planning meeting in August, however, the decision was deferred as the department had not yet decided whether or not an environmental impact assessment was needed to carry it out. It has since been decided that such an assessment is not required.

Chair of the planning committee Councillor William Stoodley (Independent Labour) said: “I sincerely hope that this matter will be resolved one way or another for the benefit of the local residents.”

A spokesman for Barnet FC said: “The application we have made to extend the floodlights from approximately 15 metres to 28 metres tall is to improve the glare and shadows on the pitch and the glare and light spill to the surrounding area.

“We will contend at the meeting on September 3 that Barnet’s application is on the basis that the floodlights pose no more of an environmental hazard to residents than the existing granted permission. Furthermore, we understand from the calculations of a lighting specialist that this situation will be an improvement on the current approved consent.”

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