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While we understand the concerns raised regarding footpath-related safeguarding incidents on school grounds, it's crucial to address these concerns with a balanced perspective, taking into account all available information and potential solutions.

Firstly, it's important to note that the footpath in question has not witnessed a single reported issue of crime in the past ten years. This fact indicates that while there may be theoretical risks associated with the current paths, they have not materialized into tangible safety concerns over the past decade. This suggests that the absolute risk management being proposed may not be necessary or proportionate given the historical context.

Furthermore, it's worth considering the limitations of attempting to achieve absolute risk management in any environment. Absolute risk management is often an elusive goal, as it involves mitigating every conceivable risk to zero, which is practically impossible. Instead, a more pragmatic approach involves implementing measures to reduce risks to an acceptable level while considering the broader impact and feasibility of proposed solutions.

In light of this, rather than redirecting the paths altogether, there are alternative measures that can be explored to enhance pupil protection and safeguarding. For instance, additional security measures such as increased surveillance, improved lighting, or the presence of security personnel could effectively deter potential safety concerns without disrupting existing pathways. Additionally, installing fences or physical barriers along vulnerable areas can provide an added layer of protection without completely altering established routes.

It's essential to recognize the value of maintaining existing links while addressing safety concerns. Disrupting established pathways could inconvenience students, staff, and members of the community who rely on these routes for their daily commute. By exploring alternative solutions that prioritize both safety and continuity, we can achieve a balance that meets the objectives of enhancing pupil protection while preserving the accessibility and functionality of the pathways.

While the desire to proactively address safeguarding issues is commendable, it's important to approach the situation with a comprehensive understanding of the risks involved and consider alternative measures beyond redirecting paths. By implementing targeted interventions and maintaining a balanced perspective, we can effectively enhance pupil protection while minimizing disruptions to the school community.

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Hello All

Thank you for your ongoing support and many messages of encouragement and updates over the last months, since our most recent update.

As we approach the one year anniversary of Mill Hill School's "consultation" on the paths diversion (closure in any practical interpretation), the school has still not made a formal application to the footpaths officer.  We will update you when they do.

Since the last update, I understand that the Mill Hill Preservation Society has finally made its position clear to the school and has written confirming its objection to the footpath changes.  Good news and I appreciate the efforts of their members in coming to that view.

At this stage, I would hope that it has become clear to Mill Hill School that there is no support for its plans within the local or wider communities.  The Mill Hill Residents Association, Mill Hill Preservation Society, The inside Mill Hill & Edgware social media platform, the High Street and other residents associations have all given a clear message to the school, to leave our historic pathways alone.

I understand that Mill Hill School recently had their regulatory body's annual inspection. They may be waiting for the report to use as justification to make their application under safety grounds, likely based on the reports continued findings.  I believe that all the activity around security in the last year - Iron gates, entry systems etc, were driven by feedback in that report last year that the site was exposed. I have no issue with the gates and entry systems, but refute that there is any issue historically, or practically,  that would justify any changes to the status of the paths.

I will keep you updated on any changes.  In the meantime, Thank you to everyone for the ongoing support.  It's much appreciated.

Best regards.

Save Our Footpaths team

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Please allow me to wish you a happy new year.  One in which I hope we will all continue to enjoy the threatened rights of way through Mill Hill School grounds, in 2024 and beyond. 
Please see below a short update:
As of yet, no official application has been made by the school to the footpaths office.  The footpaths officer has suggested they may make an official application in early 2024.  If not, he will follow-up with them regarding their intentions. 
It seems that in the first instance, the school will likely make their application on the grounds that the closure (diversion in their language) will improve safety for their students.   
From a recent Freedom of information request, it is recorded that in the last ten years there have been a total of 37 crimes reported at Mill Hill School, 22 of which were related to theft and burglary and so cannot be related to the footpaths. 
This leaves 15 cases:  Violence Against the Person & Sexual Offences = 13 and Other Accepted crime = 2. An average of 1.5 cases per year over the last decade, across the whole school estate.   It is unclear from the disclosure report exactly where these crimes were committed, but it seems unlikely many were committed on the at-risk paths, as the public, students and teachers continue to use them daily, without restriction or notice of risk posted anywhere on the paths themselves.  I am sure MHS can inform us if the assertion is incorrect. 
On this basis, it seems any suggestion that closing the existing paths in favour of a diversion on safety grounds is spurious at best.   
I attended a guided walk of the proposed changes to the footpaths during the summer, organised by the Mill Hill Preservation Society. The tone of the Society’s overview seemed quite supportive of Mill Hill Schools position, although they were clear that they had not yet formed an official position and will not do so until any application is made.  I find this approach quite disappointing, a view shared even by many of their own members, who are also subscribers to our campaign.  I hope they will form a view and be declarative on their position sooner than later. 
Over the last months the school has been quite busy shoring up their estate with many new gates and entry systems.  Last week they installed an eyesore of an access barrier at the top of Wills Grove, without planning permission, in the heart of the conservation area.  

It is my firm concern that these types of transgressions will continue without the vigilance of groups and individuals with an interest to protect the character of Mill Hill for future generations. 
I urge any with interest to report this new access barrier to the planning office, as I have done myself. For reference, their Email address is
Thank you again for your support to date.  We will keep you informed of any further updates as they become available. 

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