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Local resident agrees adjournment of student housing judicial review challenge in light of change in council administration

A Barnet Council resident has accepted a request by the London borough's legal team to adjourn his judicial review application over plans to build student accommodation in Hendon.

The resident bringing the legal challenge, Richard Lecoat, said he agreed to the temporary postponement to allow the council’s new administration to consider the future of the project.

The project, named the Hendon Hub, will see the transfer of the Hendon Public Library building to Middlesex University and the construction of new seven-storey student accommodation buildings on the Burroughs.

However, control of the council changed hands in the May elections and the new Labour administration stated it wishes to have time to review the council’s overall position on the development.

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In a statement, Mr Lecoat said he felt Barnet's lawyers' request for an adjournment "was a reasonable request under the circumstances".

He added that this did not mean he has retracted his claim for judicial review or that the move suggested the local authority will concede.

"All I’m doing is giving the new administration the space to take a breath and to look at the overall situation afresh, regarding both the Hendon Hub in general and my legal challenge in particular," he said.

"Barnet’s new Labour-controlled administration now has an opportunity to show that it will be more open to constructive dialogue, and more willing to listen — genuinely listen — to the deeply-held concerns of residents, than was its predecessor. I very much hope that it takes that opportunity.”

Mr Lecoat's judicial review sought to challenge the lawfulness of The Burroughs and Middlesex University Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which includes various projects attached to the Hendon Hub development.

The Save Hendon site said Mr Lecoat is “one of hundreds of residents who believe that Barnet has jumped the gun and proceeded without following all the necessary planning consultation steps, including scrutiny by central government over these radical, transformative plans for our historic town centre”.

Adam Carey

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