A legal probe into planning guidance supporting the redevelopment of Hendon has been postponed following a change in Barnet Council’s leadership.

The delay to the judicial review hearing to examine The Burroughs and Middlesex University Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) comes after the incoming Labour administration asked for time to review the council’s position on the Hendon Hub scheme.

New council leader Cllr Barry Rawlings recently pledged to meet with Middlesex University and developers to “look at what improvements we can make [to the scheme] that are more sympathetic to the wishes of local residents”.

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Barnet Council face lawfulness probe over Hendon Hub scheme

Judicial review on the cards over university development plans in Hendon

In its current form, the development would see hundreds of student homes and university facilities built on council-owned sites and the Grade 2-listed public library turned into a business school.

A High Court judge granted permission for a judicial review of the SPD in February, and a hearing had been due to take place in June. Hendon resident Richard Lecoat, who brought the review, alleges that the document is in fact a development plan, which requires a much greater level of public consultation, oversight and scrutiny than an SPD. He claims the SPD should either be treated as a development plan or be deemed unlawful.

Mr Lecoat said: “Control of Barnet Council changed hands as a result of the recent local elections. The incoming administration has stated that they wish to have time to review the council’s overall position on the Hendon Hub, as it currently stands. Accordingly, their lawyers requested an adjournment – that is, a temporary postponement – to the judicial review hearing, in order to allow time for the council’s review to take place. I felt that this was a reasonable request under the circumstances.

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“To be clear, this does not mean that I have retracted my claim for judicial review; neither should it imply that Barnet will necessarily concede my claim. All I’m doing is giving the new administration the space to take a breath and to look at the overall situation afresh, regarding both the Hendon Hub in general and my legal challenge in particular.

“Barnet’s new Labour-controlled administration now has an opportunity to show that it will be more open to constructive dialogue, and more willing to listen – genuinely listen – to the deeply-held concerns of residents, than was its predecessor. I very much hope that it takes that opportunity.”

The Hendon Hub scheme was granted planning permission in January. Planning committee reports acknowledged the legal challenge to the SPD and said it had not been given any weight in the determination of the applications.

Barnet Council has been approached for comment.