Forensic review of Hendon Hub suspended for review by Barnet Council

A legal inquiry into the planning guidelines supporting Hendon’s redevelopment has been postponed following a change in management at Barnet Council.

The delay in the judicial review hearing to consider Burroughs and Middlesex University’s Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) comes after the new Labor Administration asked for time to consider the council’s position on the Hendon Hub scheme.

New council leader Cllr Barry Rawlings recently pledged to meet with Middlesex University and the developers to ‘discuss what improvements we can make [to the scheme] more sensitive to the wishes of local residents”.

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Barnet council faces legality inquiry into Hendon Hub scheme

Judicial review of University Development Plan Maps at Hendon

In its current form, the development would see hundreds of student houses and university facilities built on council-owned sites and the Grade 2 listed public library would be turned into a business school.

A High Court judge authorized a judicial review of the SPD in February, and a hearing was due to take place in June. Hendon resident Richard Lecoat, who brought the review, alleges the document is in fact a development plan, which requires a much higher level of public consultation, oversight and review than an SPD. He argues that the SPD should either be treated as a development plan or be considered illegal.

Mr Lecoat said: “Control of Barnet council has changed hands following the recent local elections. The new administration said it wanted time to review the council’s overall position on the Hendon Hub as it currently stands. As a result, their lawyers requested an adjournment – ​​that is, a temporary postponement – ​​of the judicial review hearing, to allow time for the council’s consideration to take place. I felt that was a reasonable request under the circumstances.

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“To be clear, this does not mean that I have withdrawn my application for judicial review; nor should it imply that Barnet will necessarily concede my request. All I’m doing is giving the new administration the space they need to catch their breath and review the bigger picture, both regarding the Hendon Hub in general and my legal challenge in particular.

“The new Labour-controlled Barnet administration now has the opportunity to show that it will be more open to constructive dialogue and more willing to listen – genuinely listen – to the deep concerns of residents than its predecessor was. I really hope he takes this opportunity.

The Hendon Hub program obtained planning permission in January. Planning committee reports acknowledged the SPD’s legal challenge and said it was given no weight in determining the demands.

Barnet’s counsel has been approached for comment.