Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

One Barnet at the High Court

I went to the first day of the Judicial Review of the One Barnet Projects.

Not being a Lawyer, I am not sure about how much I can describe of the case so far. I will say though that I thought Maria Nash's legal team have done a lot of research and a very good job. I think they have demonstrated, as I and other Labour colleagues have done, that there was no real consultation. No policy at residents forums, nothing at the disgraceful leader listens, no proper questions in the residents perception survey, or the panels.

On the formal scrutiny process, we were given 1 week to read the papers, and only 3 hours to read the 2,500 page contract, which the leader of the Council told us was 8,000 pages, before the PDS meeting. Cabinet nodded it through with a series of anodyne and pointless questions. they were clearly just going through the motions and had no real alternative.

I look forward to the Council defence, but if it's more about the Leader Listens, I may not be able to contain myself. Those were a disgraceful joke at taxpayers expenses, that the leader, who happened to be the Tory candidate in Finchley, and the Depuy Leader, who happened to be the Tory candidate in Hendon, had a series of public consultations in key polling districts in those seats. It is a disgrace they were ever allowed. I'm livid at the suggestion these would be considered consultation for a process that had yet to mutate from the monster they had started to create to the current beast.

You can never tell how a case has gone until you have heard the judge's reaction to both sides. In the Friern Barnet Library case, I thought we were doing ok at first because the judge was scathing of the Council, but was very tough on us too (though far politer). Speaking of the occupiers, they happened to be defending themselves in a case in Arnos Grove, so it was by remarkable coincidence that we were both in court on the same day.