Latest designs for the new East Barnet School were revealed this week.

Proposals for the school, in Chestnut Grove, East Barnet, come months after Barnet Council scrapped the first draft and tore up its contract with an architect firm at the 11th hour.

The new plans, submitted to council by architect firm Frank Shaw Associates, include large classrooms and specialist learning areas, with an auditorium linked to an open-plan dining area.

Councillor John Marshall, cabinet member for investment in learning, said: "This will be a light, airy, modern school which will become the focal point of the East Barnet ward.

"It will be better value for money and certainly the headteacher, Nick Christou, is very happy with the new proposals. My understanding is that he feels they are an improvement on the previous design."

Subject to planning permission, construction work could begin this summer and is estimated to be finished in 2010 to cater for 1,350 students.

The £34 million project was scheduled to be finished in 2009 but in January, 18 months into the design process, the council stopped architect firm Building Development Partnership (BDP) in its tracks, saying its design would exceed the budget by £6m.

Last year BDP won an award from the Royal Institute of British Architects for designing the best new school in the country. In January, BDP's project director Benedict Zucchi described talk of cost overrun as "absolute nonsense".

He said: "We absolutely don't agree that there is a problem. The figure of £6m was talked about by council officers but it was peppered with errors."

He said his team had demonstrated how the cost overrun could be brought down and insisted councillors had been badly advised by the council's planning officers.

This week, Mr Marshall said: "All I can say is, in the immortal words of Mandy Rice Davies, they would say that, wouldn't they."

He denied the suggestion that councillors and officers had failed to scrutinise the design process, saying they had employed an established architect firm and relied on it to deliver the project on budget.

"We were told late in the project, for example, that it would cost £1.5m to move soil," he said. "It's not my role to scrutinise architects who are living in a world of their own."

The BDP design, he said, would have cost £40m to implement, despite Mr Zucchi's assertion that a final figure had not been decided.

The new school will cost £34m, £25m of which is covered by a Government grant and the rest will come from the council's coffers.