The chair of Enfield Council's planning committee has admitted councillors had 'thrown out the rule book' after knocking back proposals by Tottenham Hotspur FC for an all-new training centre.
Drawn up by the KSS Design Group, the controversial £30 million green-belt Bull's Cross scheme was rejected by the committee - chaired by councillor Martin Prescott - even though council officers had thrown their weight behind the development.
The future of the scheme, which includes a covered football pitch, youth-academy facilities and nine other floodlit pitches, is now hanging in the balance.
Outlining the reasons for the refusal, councillor Anne Marie Pearce said: 'While [the proposals] would be for the good of the children, this is not a suitable site.'
A spokesman for Spurs said: 'Despite the planning officer and the Mayor of London's recommendation to approve our plans, Enfield Council has refused the club planning permission for our proposed new training centre.
'The club will now consider its next step, which may include an appeal.'
Spurs sporting director Damien Comolli added: 'We are not only disappointed, we are also surprised. While we always appreciated the difficulties of obtaining planning permission on green-belt land, the planning officer had recommended our proposal.
'We shall review the reasons cited and determine our next cause of action.' by Richard Waite