Barnet FC are pleased to confirm that the club have been awarded full reimbursement of their legal costs by a Planning Inspectorate after Harrow Council aborted the appeal lodged by the club against an enforcement notice issued last year.
The club were served with an enforcement notice in September following the construction of the West Stand and erection of floodlights at The Hive, but following an appeal by the club this was then withdrawn in April.
The club has always maintained that it has acted correctly, and in a statement released on Friday the Planning Inspectorate 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 conceded 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.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.”
Reacting to the decision this morning, Barnet FC Chairman Anthony Kleanthous made the following statement:
“We have always maintained throughout that the Council had acted inappropriately and that the tax payer will inevitably end up with the cost of the illegal action they had taken against us.
“This whole sorry episode was due to three politicians who exceeded their authority and abused the privilege of their office. It is for others to decide whether they should face sanction and pay for their actions.
“We harbour no malice and assure the community that The Hive and Barnet FC will work with their consultants and council officers to minimise these costs as much as possible for the good of all residents and draw a line under this sorry episode.
“Importantly, we will now be able to freeze our prices at The Hive for a further twelve months and continue creating local jobs for local people.”