School objectors 'mislead' locals

By Jay Grenby, April 27, 2012

Etz Chaim Jewish Primary governors' chair, Adam Dawson, has voiced concern that "local residents are being misled about the school project" by opponents of the scheme.

With building work about to start on the conversion of a former garden centre in Mill Hill into permanent premises for the free school, a privately funded leaflet has been produced to counter what the governors claim are "myths and untruths".

Three thousand copies were hand-delivered to homes in the area at the weekend.

Mr Dawson said it clarified in considerable detail issues such as the actual ownership of the site - and, in particular, the ramifications for taxpayers of the ongoing legal challenges to Barnet Council's granting of planning permission.

It also announced a public meeting on May 13 at Copthall Girls' School, when the findings of a questionnaire on community use for the site will be discussed.

Mr Dawson claimed that more than 90 per cent of responses had been positive.

Suggestions had included meeting rooms, keep-fit classes, a poetry festival, sports activities, art courses and summer programmes.

"We are very excited that the school is going ahead on Daws Lane," he added, "and are looking forward to the whole community benefiting from a wonderful resource".

Opposition campaigners have been distributing a hastily prepared response.

Campaign leader Gaon Hart alleged that the "threatening and intimidating" tone of the school's leaflet had assisted his group's fundraising drive.

"Mill Hill residents do not take kindly to being told what they can and cannot support in a free and democratic society. This could be their last-ditch attempt to stop legal action."

On Wednesday, Barnet Council was served with a pre-action letter, announcing the campaigners' intention to launch a second judicial review of the council's decision to grant planning permission.

Last updated: 3:36pm, April 27 2012