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Legal action against Etz Chaim Jewish free school rejected
Legal action to prevent a Jewish free school being built at a former garden centre in Mill Hill has been quashed.
Campaigners lodged a judicial review accusing Barnet Council of ignoring the needs of elderly and disabled people under the Equalities Act after it granted planning permission to Etz Chaim Primary School in January.
Opponents wanted the former Wyevale Garden Centre, in Daws Lane, to continue to be used as a recreational and educational facility for the whole community.
However Mr Justice Lindblom dismissed the appeal brought by Milespit Hill resident Daniel Coleman, who is disabled and used to visit the centre every week.
Concluding the decision on Friday, December 21, Mr Lindblom said: “The claimant’s argument on this issue is, in my view, misconceived.”
As a result Etz Chaim will open its doors at the former garden centre in September next year.
The school already has 76 pupils, who are being taught in a council building in the same road.
Adam Dawson, the school’s chairman of governors, said: “The High Court's emphatic judgment speaks for itself, with the judge dismissing each and every argument the school's objectors brought.
“Far more exciting than the ill-conceived litigation is that we have received 130 applications for our 26 place 2013 Nursery class.
“The school continues to go from strength to strength and we look forward to welcoming the whole community to the new site very soon.”
But Mr Coleman and others who hoped to benefit from training at the garden centre are distraught.
Mr Coleman's mother Zoe Samuelson said: “Daniel is devastated by the judgement. He knows that at least two organisations would have opened a centre, one of which specialises in training and employing special people with learning disabilities.
“He has received hundreds of messages from the elderly expressing their devastation too.
“Daniel has not been anywhere independently since the centre closed. He knows this decision means he will remain alone for the rest of his life, unable to have that feeling of independence he once enjoyed.”