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NEWS:  SEE WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING AND WHAT'S PLANNED

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It's now been around 15 months since Mill Hill School announced their "consultation" regarding their proposed redirection (closure in practical terms) of the footpaths through the school grounds. As yet, no application has been made to the Footpaths Officer at Barnet council.


I have heard from two independent sources, from within the school, on the topic.  One stated that they had decided not to proceed and that they had been surprised by the scale of opposition to their plans.  Another was adamant that they still have the intention to go forward.  Take your pick ;-). It does seem to me that the longer the process goes without an application, the less likely we are to see one, at least without further consultation.  You may also remember the cajoling of internal staff to respond positively to their plans, using their non-school email addresses, had tainted that consultation in any case.  The passing of time further weakens its relevance. In any case, there is universal opposition to the plans by local stakeholders, and we can muster several hundred objections should they try to move forward.


One interesting input from a school insider was that they had planned to have a building of some kind straddle the path running from Hammers to Wills Grove.  I can't say if that is valid or not, but it would not surprise me.  Certainly the school has denied any suggestion that development was the reason for wanting the paths closure, sorry "diversion".


In the event that they do not move forward, the great credit goes to you individually for your direct support and participation.  Likewise the support of The Mill Hill Residents Association, Mill Hill Preservation Society, The inside Mill Hill & Edgware social media platform and the High Street and other residents associations.

 

I will keep you updated if the situation changes.

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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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