A new planning watchdog marks an “important milestone” for Mill Hill as the group decides on what the future should hold for the area.

The new Mill Hill Neighbourhood Forum, launched earlier this week, will oversee planning matters and ask people for their views on new developments.

Barnet Borough Council’s planning committee approved the new independent advisory team at a meeting on September 17, and it has now officially started work.

It will tackle key issues such as the type, design, location and mix of new buildings, and the use of land in a key part of the green belt.

The forum will also look at the impact developments have on social, environmental, employment, heritage and housing problems.

John Gillett, who spearheaded the drive for Mill Hill to have its own forum, said: “This is an important milestone for the residents and the whole community in Mill Hill, who at last will have direct involvement and influence over the planning strategy and decisions which will affect them, their families and local businesses.

“The forum will be independent and open to all, and can expect positive backing from Barnet Council.

“It can only succeed in its aims if it gets the active support of all residents so I urge everyone to get involved by supporting our events, coming forward with ideas and taking ownership of our area’s future.

"The real work starts now."