Barnet school forced to close


A strictly Orthodox Golders Green school will have to close after Barnet Council rejected a final retrospective appeal for planning permission last Wednesday.

Beis Medrash Elyon, educating 45 boys in Golders Green Road, has operated without planning permission for five years.

Councillor Dean Cohen proposed that the school be granted consent “on the grounds that it has been in place for some time and its current use has demonstrated significant benefit to the local community”. Councillors Eva Greenspan, Melvin Cohen and Jack Cohen highlighted its educational merits.

However, Barnet Mayor John Marshall maintained that “the school had been given plenty of notice of plans to close it down and the options of suitable other schools elsewhere such as Hasmonean and Pardes House. Our policy was approved by the [planning and health] inspectors and going against that would represent a dangerous precedent”.

The planning sub-committee voted for closure by a 4-3 majority.

A council spokesman said: “We may now serve an injunction which would seek to close the school at the end of the summer term, allowing sufficient time for pupils’ parents to find alternative schools for September 2009.”

The school could seek a judicial review against the decision, which would take a number of months to be heard.

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