Saturday, 15 October 2011

Mill Hill Latest - Etz Chaim School fails it's first test

The governors of Etz Chaim school have said that they want to be accepted as a welcome edition to the Mill Hill community. It appears that they've failed their first test. I received  a call last night from an affronted local resident who said "Have you seen what they have done"

A row of the ugliest concrete anti tank barriers I've ever seen has been "dumped" in front of the site of the ex garden centre.  The Action Group press release stated that they would refrain from issuing the court papers for their legal challenge, until after the Jewish holiday season. In response the school have planted these. I fully understand the need to have security, but there is no reason that such features can't be landscaped. Such features could be disguised as flower displays etc. As it is, we have a complete eyesore.

Given that there are no children on site and no building work in progress, this appears to be two fingers up to the local community and doesn't bode well for the future. As the blocks have been hired, it seems to me a rather expensive gesture. I urge the school to remove the eyesore blocks ASAP and replace them with something more suitable. Surely wood barrels, filled with concrete and flower beds on the top would be far more visually pleasing and just as effective, if there is a genuine need for such tank traps.

I am disappointed that the school don't seem to realise that uglification of Mill Hill will win them no friends at all


Mrs Angry said...

... what an awful thing to do: as you say we all understand the need for security, but this hideous installation is completely unacceptable, and will do nothing to endear the school to local residents. I would have thought it was a planning issue anyway, if there is any permanence to the arrangement.

ainelivia said...

actually, i don't fully understand the need for security, if the behaviour of the security guards at the Jewish school in Hale Lane is anything to go by. It looks like a mini castle under siege. the photo on your blog is hideous and i can well understand the feelings of local residents. to put it plainly those responsible seem not to give a jot what the "general community", thinks or feels. Wasn't that the school that would be up and running September just gone? i hate to imagine what will happen to the site if the school doesn't go ahead, probably another awful block of flats will be developed on the site, blocking views, light and overlooking the park.... and i suspect it's only a matter of time before our erstwhile councillors sell of the park for development. another fine mess they've made.

button55 said...

That is terrible!! what were they thinking that is an eyesore...

B.Coleman said...

and while you are looking at this dreadful eyesore...I would suggest you try and park in the Dawes lane car park or Mill Hill park car park, and see how many Mums and Dads are walking their kids to the temp school......Loads actually after parking in the car parks that is!!!.

Zoe said...

Just to correct a Myth. The site is in The Park on Green Belt it can never be a block of flats Social Housing or indeed tescos as some would like you to think. Section 12 G of the 1988 Lease is restricted to being a Garden Centre. You may have a cafe in the park and sell teas but that's it I'm afraid The Garden Centre site can only be sports and recreation.If you look at the Original building it is a Pavillion with the addition of a Glass canopy and a conservatory.

Jim Bob said...

Dear B.Coleman - just to point out that the car park is a public car park and as far as I am aware there is no law preventing anyone from using it. Maybe you know different? Also, again to point out the obvious the majority of people who park in that car park are commuters looking to avoid the £5 per day fee for the station car parks. Logic would dictate that any parent using it whilst taking their children to school (which again is not against the law or an affront to public decency) would be in and out of the car park in a matter of minutes. Why don't you redirect you anger at this issue to the commuters rather than parents ... or are you simply so blinkered on this matter that you are looking to find any reason to get upset with the school?

Rog T said...

Jim Bob,

I suspect the point B.Coleman was trying to make was that the school travel plan said that the majority of the parents would walk their children to school, as they live within 0.65 miles of the school. If the majority are driving, this is an issue for the school to seek to address as they stated that this would not happen.

Of course it is legal for parents to use the car park in this way, but it flies in the face of what was said when the planning issues were being aired. It is likely to become ever more of an issue as the school grows and is likely to cause massive congestion. It is worth remembering that "the commuters" are mostly long standing Barnet residents who simply want to go to work. Having a go at them for seeking to avoid Barnet Councils greedy parking tax is not fair. FYI it was £2 to park in the station car park when the Tories were elected in 2002. It is now £5. The car park is no better and this is a massive hike, which is far far higher than the inflation rate.

Jim Bob said...

Rog T,

I appreciate what you are saying but I personally know many people from outside the borough who drive to this car park. These commuters remain there all day, therefore stopping anyone else from using the car park. As a commuter I too am non too impressed with the cost of parking on the Broadway Station car parks but the majority of congestion in this car park is down to fly parking for the station and no other reason.

In addition the parents and pupils of this school are certainly all LB Barnet residents ... do they not have the right to use this car park as well? Why should the parents of the children at this school be held to a higher standard than other Barnet residents?

I know many people who have children at Etz Chaim and most of them are local and are either walking their kids to school or if they are driving to school they are avoiding Daws Lane as per the school's travel plan. In addition I understand that the school's travel plan is to discourage private car journeys... not to eliminate them entirely.

Rog T said...


I'm afraid to say that your letter here absolutely sums up the problem with the arguments about Etz Chaim on both sides. Let me explain why I believe that such interjections are unhelpful.

Firstly you seem to be a very friendly chap. You personally know loads of people who drive miles to park in that car park from outside Barnet, leaving no space for all your friends who live locally.

You also know most of the parents at Etz Chaim who don't actually drive to where the school is or walk.

I have no reason to doubt your veracity, but think it is rather odd that all of your friends behaviour exactly matches scenarios which suit your argument. Strange that, isn't it.

I've regularly commuted from Mill Hill for 30 years and know many people who use the station. I have a chat most days with all manner of people at the station, in the tea hut and on the train (including Adam Dawson chair of Etz Chaim, who I see occasionally whilst commuting).

I've heard all manner of comments and all manner of observations. I doubt whether Etz Chaim will have a massive impact on traffic with only 2 year groups in the school and generally fine weather so far since school started. No conclusions whatsoever can be drawn yet.

Clearly anyone using Daws Lane car park, would have to be driving at least a mile or two, for the walk to be worth while. I'd estimat that at least 3/4 of them are Barnet residents. Even if they are not, it is totally irrelevant. Barnet is not an isolated, independent state and such people add to the turnover of shops & restaurants in Mill Hill.

I am literally fed to the teeth with people on both sides of this argument spouting BS about the issue.

The bottom line regarding this post is that the tank traps were an eyesore. This has been acknowledged by Etz Chaim and they are being removed.

When they go, there will be a follow up post here.

B.Coleman said...

Dear Rog T, Am sorry I mentioned this, as someone who travels by car and never uses public transport except for mainline journeys...I do tho' like to keep up with road usage. As somone who attended the temp school planning application and was made aware of the "walk to school policy" and the part that played in it being accepted....I was just a little puzzled by your headline of "failing the first test". That was the only reason I mentioned anything at all.
I am surprised my comments have caused such interest and personally am sorry for taking your time

Jim Bob said...

Rog T - again I appreciate your comments (and thanks for assuming I am a friendly chap ... I try to be). I agree with you that the barriers are very ugly but I was responding to what I felt an unnecessarily negative point being made about the behaviour of parent body of this school which had nothing to do with these eyesores.

The point I was trying to make (and maybe I was not articulate enough for which I apologise) was that this car park attracts a number of people from quite a distance away as they are looking to avoid the high cost of parking as well as to reduce the cost of their train fares. The heavy use of the car park is not down to the residents of Poets Corner (of which I am one) as it is perfectly illogical for people who live there to need to park in that car park. Therefore any congestion in the car park is down to people from outside the immediate area using it. I did not suggest I knew every single communter … just quite a few who do use the car park is such a way. I agree with you that the main reason for this is the crazy parking costs for the Broadway car parks and your thoughts on this are quite clear.

Whilst in the mood to defend my comments again, I did not say I knew most of the parents ... I said I know quite a few and it is true that those I know do either walk or if they do have to drive they avoid daws lane ... I was not trying to suggest I know them all and know their commuting habits, nor that all of them are angels!

Like you I too find the BS that get thrown about on the issue of the school very frustrating especially as much of it which is aimed at the school and its parent body is very hostile and frankly disproportionate to their actions.

Looking forward to your next post.