A petition to save a farm used by children with special needs has attracted nearly 400 signatures.

SweetTree Fields Farm, in Marsh Lane, Mill Hill, is threatened with closure after the owner was denied retrospective planning permission to continue using the site as a “care farm”.

Councillors said the farm was an inappropriate development on the green belt and upheld neighbours’ concerns over security and air quality at a meeting of Hendon planning committee in June last year.

People opposed to the farm claimed it was harming biodiversity and threatening the security of neighbouring properties.

They also raised fears that the construction of a road near the site would facilitate future residential development.

But the owner, Barry Sweetbaum, later claimed he would still be able to use the land for agricultural purposes and said all councillors had done was stop vulnerable and disabled people from using it.

Some 387 people have signed a petition to save the farm, which is up for debate at a meeting of Hendon Residents Forum.

The farm describes itself as an “asset to the Barnet community” and “the only local outdoor service that can cater for children and adults with complex needs”.

People with learning disabilities, acquired brain injuries, autism, mental health needs and dementia are among those who use SweetTree Fields Farm.

Hendon Residents Forum will meet to discuss the petition tomorrow (Wednesday, January 9) at 7pm at Hendon Town Hall.