Please see below a letter in response to the open letter sent by The Trustees of Etz Chaim Primary School 22 September
To the Trustees and Governors of Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School
I have recently seen published your letter in response to my proposal to issue legal action against the decision of Barnet Council to grant planning permission for the development of a school in Daws Lane. Your letter coincided with Barnet Council’s acceptance that they ignored the elderly and disabled residents during their decision-making.
I am grateful for your invitation to meet and discuss the proposed location of Etz Chaim. I am pleased that you concede that myself and my supporters are local, numerous and seek only to protect this site for the benefit of the entire community and particularly the elderly and disabled who have until very recently benefited so much from use of the Site.
You are aware that my supporters have offered to meet on numerous occasions over the last three months to discuss alternative available sites for Etz Chaim but that, regrettably, it has been your insistence on pursuing this site despite the plainly significant impact the loss of the site would have on the elderly and disabled, which has directly led to costs being incurred by yourselves, Barnet Council and indeed by my supporters.
My supporters and I remain entirely happy to meet and discuss alternative available sites and I openly extend this invitation to you here. We think this to be the most constructive way forward.
One issue that I feel that I must address is your mistaken assertion that my motivation is simply to delay the opening of Etz Chaim. This is patently untrue. My aim is to win back this site for the local community and especially for the considerable number of disabled and elderly users.
When planning permission is quashed, no school can be located on the site and the Public’s money must be returned to the Department of Education. We have at least one available purchaser who is committed and prepared to establish a Sports and Garden Centre facility that will specifically cater to the needs of the elderly and disabled; all day, every day. It will also replace significant community facilities at Hartley Hall and the local sports centre which you will be aware are both due for closure. Your offer of possible undefined community use of the site, for a cost, in the evenings and possibly on Sundays, does not begin to compensate me or the 1,000 like me or compare to these facilities.
My supporters and I would not seek to harm the education of any children and I simply wish to ensure that the lives of almost 1,000 elderly and disabled members of the community are not dismissed for the sake of 80 children for whom we have found other alternative locations within 1,500 metres of this site, that would actually cost the public purse less!
I note that you indicate that you took formal possession of the site on October 3rd. My legal advisors have asked me to remind you that to undertake any construction work whatsoever on a site where you know that planning permission will be quashed, would be an actionable breach of planning regulations. I can take immediate legal action to prevent this and would request indemnity costs against the Trustees personally. I am advised that the Court is likely to look favourably on such an application in these circumstances.
I don’t wish to take any legal action until after the Jewish holidays as it would not be respectful of the trustees of the school and the local Jewish community. However, if any work commences on site, I can only presume that you have no interest in such fairness and equality and will commence action immediately.
I am grateful for your New Year wishes and wish yourselves and the children of the school along with the hundreds of other children of the community a very Happy and healthy New Year.