Copthall Stadium

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If you live in or around Mill Hill or Hendon, this affects your home and a large area of NW4 and NW7!!

Saracens' planning application has been approved by Barnet Council. Both Mayor Boris Johnson and the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, have failed to overturn this decision and so the 10,000 seater stadium at Copthall will be going ahead.

Saracens, the Premier League professional rugby club, are going to turn our small community stadium at Copthall, used by schools, Barnet Shaftesbury Harriers, and other local groups, into a 10,000 seater stadium.

"An average crowd of 15,000 would lead us towards a commercially viable state, so that's what we're aiming for".
(Saracens' CEO Griffiths, Watford Observer, 20th August 2010)

"The criteria for membership of the Premiership require increases in capacity at all clubs to a minimum of 15,000 by 2011/12".
(RFU Strategic Plan 2008/09 - 2015/16: Chapter 5, Para 109)

"I currently feel if this application went ahead it would be a price too high to pay for local residents".
(Matthew Offord MP, Residents Meeting, Copthall School, 3rd May 2011)

Traffic Chaos

Thousands of cars will pour into Mill Hill on match days, flooding our roads and blocking freedom of movement in our own neighbourhoods. Copthall is badly served by public transport - and Transport for London say the stadium is not really served at all. So - more car journeys, and more parking needed when our research shows it's already heavily used - including Sundays. Saracens' fans agree that this is a transport nightmare.

Deborah Donner, a Saracens fan, admits that the traffic problems will extend to where she lives in Hendon Wood Lane, which is 3.34 miles drive (RAC Route Planner) from Copthall Stadium.

"Review of the Transport Assessment reveals a series of concerns".
(JMP Consultants Limited, 28th October 2011)

Controlled Parking Zones

Despite saying they wouldn't, Saracens are now proposing controlled parking zones. However, these proposed zones do not extend to areas within easy walking distance of the stadium, well within the 30 minutes they believe it is reasonable to suppose a supporter will walk. For example Daws Lane, Poets Corner, Uphill Road, Flower Lane, upper Milepsit Hill and many more. They say "A formal matchday controlled parking scheme will be expensive if set up over too wide an area". Is this why they have not been realistic in their assumptions of the extent of the zones?

"Building a 10,000 seater venue at Copthall will bring a dramatic increase in traffic, horrendous parking problems and disruption to the local community. Such over development of the green belt cannot be allowed!"
(Labour Spokesperson Andrew Dismore, dismore4hendon, 11th November 2010)

Benefits to the Local Community?

The biggest investor in Saracens is a South African conglomerate. Once they have planning permission, why should they care about your problems? Or our schools and the families and amateurs who use the fields and facilities now? Why do they want to take over our community stadium? What return to thay expect on the investment and for the future. Our Copthall will be less for us, more for them, and big business will have won over local people.

Don't Let Big Business Build on Our Green Belt Land

Copthall is used by the community, amateur sport and the simple pleasures of walking and enjoying the open space. It's part of the "lungs of London", Green Belt, and the wrong site for up to 10,000 people to come and just sit and watch thirty or so professionals play rugby. Saracens could have their stadium anywhere, like an industrial estate with plenty of parking available at weekends, while if they come here there will be 2000 plus cars trying to park as near as they can, with noise, disruption and far more difficulty for ordinary families from Mill Hill and Hendon.

"MHPS objects to the application on the following grounds...Visual impact on the Green Belt, Inappropriate development in the Green Belt...there can be no exceptional arguments to prove ‘very special circumstances’."
(The Mill Hill Preservation Society, Objection Letter to Barnet Planners, 5th May 2008)
(For the avoidance of doubt, CCI and MHPS are separate organisations with distinct positions regarding the stadium take-over)

"I pledge to protect the green belt by using the Mayor's powers to refuse applications to build on it".
(Boris Johnson, Boris Johnson’s election pledges 2008, May 2011)

Local Residents Squeezed Out

Community use will be guaranteed for only 30 hours a week; at the moment it is 44 in winter and 64 in summer. How will you drive into Copthall to take your children swimming while 10,000 people are pouring in and out of matches? How will the athletics teams train if Saracens set schedules to suit themselves and Sky Sports first? Where will parents at local schools park for weekend activities if their car parks are filled with crowds from the stadium? Is this what we want for our young athletes and schools?

Local Sports Clubs Sidelined

Copthall Stadium is currently an A-class athletics venue, which has been designated as a training base for visiting teams for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It has recently been refurbished with £380,000 spent on new roofs, track, equipment, toilets and other improvements. Children are now able to use the facilities at £1.60 a session, and for free with athletics clubs. If Saracens get their way, four of the running tracks will be out of use for most of the year and the track will not be available for training at all, for over 70 days a year. Their proposed artificial turf is incompatible with some athletics sports such as javelin, hammer and discus and and their proposed de-mountable stands will cause damage to the running track. The promised new indoor facilities could well be partly taken up by Saracens' souvenir shop, hospitality suites and a restaurant, Shaftesbury Harriers will have to use hundreds of thousands of pounds of their own money to make these facilities fit for purpose.

"12 lanes down to 4...Athletics does not shut down in the winter!"
(Richard Sidoli, Level 2 - UKA Sprints & Jumps Coach at Copthall Stadium)

This is Just the Beginning

Saracens admit they cannot fund the Stadium - where will they get the extra revenue? just 16 games a year?

Could Copthall cope with crowds of 20,000? Despite initial plans for the stadium to accommodate 10,000 people, this could grow in the future to far greater numbers. Saracens admit they need 15,000 just to break even. With £10-£12 million invested, won't the investors want to get a better return? Why not rent it out to make it pay? Why not bring in other clubs to play on Saturdays? More stands, more crowds, more traffic, more parking, more noise!

Make Your Voice Heard - Object to Saracens' Plans

"All those who want to fight this must do so on planning grounds...Stick with it, lobby hard".
(Brian Coleman - London Assembly Representative Barnet, Residents Meeting, Copthall School, 3rd May 2011)

If you signed anything to give your support to Saracens, we ask you to reconsider. If you did not sign, thank you.

If you oppose this scheme you can have your say by writing to and emailing Barnet's planners.

Email the GLA Write a Letter Join Latest News What Saracens' Fans Think Who are Saracens? Save Our Green Belt Saracens' Plans