After four weeks of debate the public inquiry over plans for a 10,000 seater stadium and a new home for Barnet FC at Copthall is over.

Planning inspector Robert Town has heard impassioned and contrasting pleas on behalf of Barnet FC and Keep Copthall an Open Space among others.

All will have to wait for weeks or possibly months while the Secretary of State comes to a decision. Meanwhile precious time will be running out for the club, as this is the last season that it can use the limited space of Underhill.

William Upton, for Keep Copthall an Open Space, said the football club were not offering any guarantees on returning Underhill to a Green Belt area in exchange for developing Copthall.

He was also concerned about poor public transport to Copthall. "It's absurd to suggest all supporters will walk. There's no scheme London Transport is funding. There's no operator for the shuttle buses, no details. Those queries are all very valid points that need to be addressed.

"Buses are not going to be free so it's going to be less than 65 per cent of supporters who use them." Mr Upton also said traffic surveys had been insufficient.

He told the inquiry other sites could be suitable for Barnet FC. But Grahame Stoker for Barnet FC said they were unavailable.

Robert Gillespie for Barnet Council said: "We accept the proposal is contrary to UDP policy and acknowledge the stadium will give rise to visual impact.

"But a number of factors need to be taken into account. Football is a special case."

He added: "The council considered 44 sites but no one site emerged as a practical alternative and ground-sharing is only acceptable on a temporary basis."

Mr Stoker told the inquiry that if the plans go ahead 92 per cent of Copthall Open Space would remain open public land. He said the opposition's explanation of what harm the development would do had been "conspicuous by its absence".

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