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Campaigners fighting Etz Chaim school build in Mill Hill fail with High Court injunction bid
Campaigners failed to obtain an injunction to halt the building of a new primary school in Mill Hill yesterday but said they were “delighted” that the case will get an early hearing.
A group of residents, led by disabled rights campaigner Dan Coleman, is fighting the building of Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School, in Daws Lane, Mill Hill.
They say the former Wyevale Garden Centre site, which was used by up to 15 disability and elderly organisations, should be retained for community use.
Owners sold the grounds to the school’s trust and, after overcoming a judicial review into its initial decision, Barnet Borough Council granted final planning permission for the new education centre last year.
The group has applied for a second judicial review into the matter and, despite failing in their bid for an injunction yesterday, will have their case heard at an early-stage hearing on October 24.
Gaon Hart, one of the campaigners fighting the build, said: “The decision on the injunction was fair but we got what we wanted in terms of an early hearing.
“We didn’t want to have to wait eight months and for the school to turn around and say ‘it’s all built now, you can’t knock it down’.”
Building work started on the school earlier this year and nursery, reception and year one classes have already begun in a former Sea Scout building that forms part of the site.
The group’s legal argument is based on claims the local authority did not properly assess the impact that losing the community facility would have on vulnerable groups in the area.
It claims up to 1,000 people from 15 organisations, including the council’s own adult services group, have been put out by the sale.
The campaigners also claim to have already lined up its own buyers, which they say would retain the site for the community.
Mr Hart said: “We have nothing against the school but there are other schools in the area for the children and other sites available for the developers – the disabled people have nowhere to go.
“We’re looking forward to October 24 now – this is it.”
Etz Chaim governor Adam Dawson declined to comment on the High Court judge’s decision and Barnet Council says it is unable to make any statement due to the upcoming legal dispute.