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Abandoned piglet in Barnet, which burnt down to be replaced by a nursery

The site of an East Barnet pub which burnt down six years ago will be given a new lease of life as a nursery after plans were approved by councillors.

The jester was badly damaged in a fire in 2018 and has remained a “freaky” ever since. Now, a three-story nursery and two semi-detached houses will be built in its place.

The future of the derelict site, which is at the junction of Northfield Road and Grove Road, has been a source of local debate for six years, with previous redevelopment plans refused on the grounds that it would lead to a loss of community space.

But plans for the nursery, to be run by childcare service Happy Journeys Day Nurseries, will provide space for up to 100 children and 27 jobs and is proposed for the central section of the site. The two houses are proposed for Northfield Road, next to the nursery.

The application was recommended for approval by Barnet Council ahead of a planning committee meeting yesterday (Monday 13). Although two members of the public were scheduled to speak in objection to the plans, neither turned up.

The officers present confirmed that the provision of a nursery was defined as a ‘community asset’.

Edith David, an East Barnet ward councilor, said she and fellow Labor ward councilor Simon Radford had worked closely with residents and the council to come up with a viable plan and stressed that a decision on what to do with space was a “long-running” show.

Cllr David said: “We have looked at other options, turning it back into a pub or using it as a community asset. We don’t mind what the community decides on this matter, because the main issue is that it’s an eyesore, and we’re very keen that the best decision is made that reflects the wishes of the community.”

She added she was concerned the plans could “drag out” and favored doing something “as soon as possible”.

Afterwards, the councilors voted unanimously to approve the plan.

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