Court rejects attempt to halt school building

By Marcus Dysch, October 18, 2012

Campaigners opposed to a Jewish free school opening on the site of a former Mill Hill garden centre have lost a High Court application for an injunction to halt building work.

Construction of the Etz Chaim Jewish Primary is under way, with the centre’s glass roofs due to be removed before the end of the month.

Local disabled Jewish resident Daniel Coleman had sought an order to stop work at the Daws Lane site ahead of a judicial review.

But following a hearing lasting more than two-and-a-half hours at the High Court last Thursday, Mr Justice Irwin dismissed the injunction application and said building work could continue until the next hearing, due on October 24. This will consider if there is sufficient merit for the judicial review to proceed.

The judge also awarded Barnet Council £12,500 in costs, with further costs to be paid to the school and to the construction company.

Mr Coleman’s lawyers told the court that the centre had been a “key facility” for him and other disabled people who had been regular patrons of its coffee shop and other areas.

It would have cost around £12,000 a week to stop construction at the site, the court heard.

There have been a number of legal challenges to the school over issues relating to the needs of more than a dozen elderly and disabled residents who frequented the Wyevale Garden Centre.

Etz Chaim is one of the first government-backed free schools. It currently operates a nursery and reception class in temporary premises close to the garden centre site, which the school hopes to open as its permanent home in 2013.

Governors’ chair Adam Dawson, who was in court, declined to comment on the outcome of the hearing.

Last updated: 1:00pm, October 18 2012