Mill Hill Councillors back Saracens in Copthall.

Saracens would use the stadium 16 days a year for their home fixtures. The remainder of the year it would be available, with its all-weather pitch and national club changing facilities, for schools (free) and for other users.

Shaftsbury-Barnet Harriers and Barnet and District Athletic Club welcome the application with its proposed indoor training facility in the new eco-friendly East Stand.

To local councillors a major attraction is the prospect of youth provision by the Saracens' proven Youth Trust, at a time of inevitable cuts in borough youth provisions. Young people's obesity, early onset diabetes, boredom and disaffection must be countered.

The proponents have listened to the concerns of residents, mainly fears around traffic and disturbance to everyday life, and striven to meet them by business supporters, for example, from Hertfordshire, running shuttles from stations, using school grounds for extra parking (generating welcome income for the schools) and fielding 200 street stewards on match days.

As the redeveloped stadium will be kept within the present footprint, worries that it will impinge on the Green Belt are misplaced.Sport was one of the main Green Belt activities welcomed by its originators years ago.

The Planning and Environment Committee of  2nd February agreed the proposals unanimously.

The final decision rests, however, with Mayor Boris Johnson and Secretary of State, Eric Pickles.