Monday 21 February 2011

New Jewish School for Mill Hill - Latest - Letter from Barnet Council CEO

 I have been forwarded the following exchange of emails between a local resident and Nick Walkley, CEO of Barnet Council on the subject of the proposed new Jewish School in Mill Hill

The local resident asked me to redact their details.
To: ************
Sent: Monday, February 21, 2011 4:49 PM
Subject: RE: Cabinet Resources Committee

** ******

Thankyou for your correspondence.

I note your concerns which will be responded to more fully this week.

However I thought it would be useful that I inform you that, following consultation with the relevant Cabinet Member, I have agreed that this report be withdrawn as the matters relating to the land transactions and the Council’s interest therein need further work. Whilst these could have been reported in a supplemental report to the Committee tonight, given that the next Cabinet Resources Committee is on March 2nd it seems rather more transparent to present the revised information to that Committee following the appropriate publication timescales.

I trust this is helpful

Nick Walkley

Nick Walkley
Chief Executive
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP
Tel: 020 8359 7001
Barnet Online:

From: *************************
Sent: 19 February 2011 15:01
To: Walkley, Nick
Subject: Cabinet Resources Committee

Dear Mr Walkley

I was extremely concerned to read the following passage in the report to the Cabinet Resources Committee:

9.5 The lease was later assigned to Wyevale Garden Centre, who are now seeking to assign their interest to Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School Trust. Consent by the Council to the assignment will be carried out under delegated powers, and the Council have limited grounds to object.

To say that the council has limited grounds to object is simply not true.

The original lease was granted with a restriction on use as a garden centre. If Wyevale want to assign to another garden centre, then the council would indeed have limited grounds to object. But to assign to a different user is a completely different matter as restrictive covenants will need to be removed. Inexplicably, the report states there are no legal issues relating to this matter. Perhaps the officer who prepared the report is unfamiliar with the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 which governs this lease?

After the Underhill debacle, the council gave an undertaking not to conduct potentially controversial property transactions using delegated powers, but once again it is proposing to do precisely that.

The Cabinet needs to be given accurate information, namely that the council can object to the proposed assignment if it wants to. If the council genuinely believes in transparency and public accountability, the Cabinet must be told that they do not have to rubber stamp any application by the school.

Given that this is likely to be a highly controversial matter, it should go through the normal planning process so that the public can make representations and that the decision is ultimately taken by elected councillors rather than unelected and unaccountable officers.

If the Cabinet is not given the correct information at their meeting on Monday, I reserve my right to make a formal complaint as to an abuse of process.

Yours sincerely

***** ******