Proposed Development on Green Belt Land

Green Belt destruction Mill Hill NW7

Update: 04/10/2017

Will the existing site be expanded beyond its 6 acres ? and any Green Belt taken ? the Mayor’s Office have not replied ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but said:

“Discussions are still at a high level design stage.We are nevertheless confident that we can reduce the proposed ‘take’ of Green Belt. We are also keen to work with the applicant and Barnet Council secure a coherent and defensible area of Green Belt for public use.”

Update: 28/09/2017


GLA, Barnet Council & applicant now working towards a new school on existing 6 acre site, with 3 fold increase in pupil numbers, but with no Green Belt taken.

We are informed the GLA are working with the applicant and Barnet Council on the development of alternative options for delivering the new school at the site in response to the Mayor’s decision.

At this stage it is not clear whether such a revised proposal would be submitted as amendments to the existing application, or as a new application altogether (this will be a matter for Barnet Council to consider). However, either scenario would require public consultation.

Whilst this is in progress, the Secretary of State will not ‘call in’ the application.

Update:  24/07/2017

A request by ‘interested parties’ has been received by the National Planning Case Work Unit calling for Secretary of State Sajid Javid to “call in” the Mayor of London’s decision.

As such, the Local Authority will not be making a decision until the response has been received.

We are informed it will take 1-2 weeks approximately for him to consider this request. If he decides to “call-in” the application (for reasons of national significance) – then we can expect a full public enquiry.

For more information:

Update: 17/07/2017

The Mayor of London has overuled Barnet Councils decision to grant an exception to the Green Belt policies – to build on Green Belt at Copthall London NW7, directing them to refuse the application.

This is on the grounds that the scheme represented inappropriate development on Green Belt land; the loss of open space; and the lack of sustainable transport measures to support the development.

The Mayor’s decision report can be found here:
and here

GLA Application case ref 4155 page:

CPRE London (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) and The London Green Belt Council have made the following statements:

Alice Roberts of CPRE London said: “We are delighted the Mayor has stuck to his promise and declined to allow inappropriate development on London’s Green Belt, in line with his strong support for preserving London’s protected land. Green Belt is hugely important for halting sprawling development and the transport, pollution and other problems sprawl creates. And it encourages much-needed regeneration within London’s already built-up areas.”

Catherine Maguire, London Green Belt Campaigner added: ‘London’s Green Belt is vital for the health and well-being of Londoners. We hope that Local Authorities and developers have taken note of the strong signal sent by The Mayor’s decision that inappropriate development on London’s Green Belt will not be tolerated.’

The courses left open to the school are:
1) referral to the Secretary of State
2) an appeal
3) the applicant submits to the GLA, revisions to the application that would – propose to provide the new school within the curtilage of the existing Hasmonean girls school site.

Barnet Council Committee Meeting: Wed 22rd February 17
– Barnet Council have decided to APPROVE destruction of the Green Belt.

The Council Planning Committee met recently (22nd February ’17) to decide the application, a 100 page planning officer’s report recommended refusal. Over 600 local residents, the majority from NW7 had objected.
The Committee – of which 3 voting members including  the Chairman, declared non-pecuniary interests in Hasmonean High School (an ex govenor, and two ex pupils), voted 6 to 5 to go against the officer’s recommendation and vote in favour of ‘approving‘ the application, despite the report not finding any ‘very special circumstances’, and that it did not comply with Green Belt policies.

The application is now with the Mayor of London’s office (GLA) for further consideration.

If you feel the Council Committee vote to ‘approve’ did not represent you as a resident, voice your disapproval, email the Mayor’s office and/or write a letter. Please do not delay as time is very short.

Please write an objection letter to his office,  details are on the ‘how to object page‘.

Planning Officer’s report to Committee – recommendation for Refusal:
The Mayor’s Stage 1 reply with recommendations:

Chairman Melvin Cohen at the Barnet Council Planning committee meeting, after voting to ‘approve’ summed up:

“These are very special circumstances here to warrant the exception to the Green Belt policy, basically – on two grounds, operationally there is a need for the two schools to be conjoined, and secondly the applicants have made significant efforts to find other sites to accommodate both schools over a long period of time without success.”

Planning decisions guided by the NPPF (National Planning Policy Frame Work) must ensure needs and benefits outweigh any loss.
There are no benefits to local residents, whilst London losses a valuable area of Nature Conservation along with its amenity.

Applications must follow guidance in Clause 118 of the NPPF, which contains a ‘biodiversity mitigation hierarchy’:

1) Avoid (ie find alternative sites)
2) Mitigate
3) Compensate

The qualified planning officer recommended refusal after reviewing the application.

Chairman Cohen then went on to say:

“My third reason for ‘Approval’ is that the London Plan allows in policy 7.18, the applicant can be required to improve the quality of a nearby area of space at their own expense.”
“Given the special circumstances of the proposal the London Borough of Barnet can require a significant monetary contribution to improve the quality of the existing nearby open space.”

A ‘significant monetary contribution’ will not replace what would be lost – once it’s gone – it’s gone !

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Since 1972 Hasmonean Girls School in Page Street NW7 has expanded, in an area protected by Green Belt policies.

This is the protected area:

This is the Government Policy:

Now an expansive Planning Application, with the intention to take away much more of our cherished Green Belt land, is with Barnet Council waiting public comments.

Hasmonean propose to acquire 15 additional acres from Barnet Council – (Copthall South Fields), and in return, a smaller area of  land owned by the school in NW4 (the Boys School site in Holders Hill Rd, Hendon NW4 1NA) would be transferred to the Council.

Standing bottom middle of the Site looking east, behind is another field
  • Imposing 15,300 sq. mt. building
  • 21 acre Green Belt site
  • Increase in traffic, noise and pollution to the area – 7 days a week
  • Loss of ‘SINC’ Nature Conservation Site
  • 1400 Pupils (506 at present)

The application states it only needs to acquire land in the red area, this is misleading as the additional yellow area is also required by the applicant to help mitigate what they are building.

Yellow Line  =  land to be acquired from Barnet Council (currently publicly owned and publicly accessible)
Red Line = security fenced area (1.8mt wire mesh welded fence proposed)

Full Planning Application documents can be found on the Barnet Website, to view, go here:
– and search for:  16/6662/FUL
On the documents tab, scroll past all the comments at the top.
The pertinent documents are:


Stop this Planning Application

If approved, this wild open space will be bulldozed, built on, and 15 acres securely fenced off – irreplaceable green belt land with its public access denied to future generations.

Help protect the Green Belt
Object Now !

A reasoned and logical objection …

Several local organisations who work in the public interest have looked in depth at the application, their full and complete objection letters, stating all the reasoned arguments and Policies that protect green belt, can be found on the Barnet website – or on our website here:

Objection Letters:

Mill Hill Preservation Society:
MHPS Hasmonean Scheme Dec 2016 icon-copy

Mill Hill Neighbourhood Forum:
MHNF-Hasmonean school planning application response-081216 icon-copy

Mill Hill Residents Association:
MHRA – objection letter icon-copy

Andrew Dismore AM
Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden
Hasmonean planning objection icon-copy

And nationally the Campaign for Protection of Rural England:
Letter of objection re Hasmonean School i icon-copy







The Hasmoneon Planning application sites ‘very special circumstances’ for reasons to allow the development …

The Mill Hill Preservation Society however write:

“We have not yet been able to establish what ‘very special circumstances’ enable this applicant to claim parts of the Green Belt denied to other mere mortals. We very much hope that their reasoning is found wanting”

Car Use
The development of 167 parking spaces may well be used by Saracens supporters on match days (current practice of the school) encouraging car use  – is this an end to which our Green Belt land should find itself ? With an additional 900 pupils during the week, use of school facilities for social and religious occasions at weekends and evenings (Synagogue, Sunday school, weddings etc) – will all add to the noise and disruption, local people will be forced to endure. Local people are ‘already’ fed up with the near continuous traffic congestion that exists today, and the area cannot cope with the increased activity proposed, that will extend beyond school hours, and possibly at weekends.

Community Benefit
Despite promises, there is a concern that public facilities are unlikely to be available.

Alternative Sites
Have alternative sites been fully explored ? Hasmonean school should be more innovative with its land use, a proposed development of what is believed to be 1300 pupils, the Saracens High School, will not be built on Green Belt Land – but in suburban Colindale – and on only 7.8 acres, 1/3 the amount of land the Hasmonean application wishes to acquire.
With so many large residential developments nearby now nearing completion, and possibly more yet to be built in the future, any cherished Green Belt land, more than ever must be protected from destruction.

Object now to this Planning Application: