Barnet London Borough Council

All of the seats in Barnet were up for election this year. Find out more about these elections.

Election 2018 Results

CON GAIN FROM NOC
Party Elected in 2018 Total councillors Change

PartyConservative

Elected in 2018 38 Total councillors 38 Change+6

PartyLabour

Elected in 2018 25 Total councillors 25 Change-5

PartyLiberal Democrat

Elected in 2018 0 Total councillors 0 Change-1
Councillors change compared with 2014

Most Recent

  1. Councils fear bankruptcy amid Covid-19 costs

    Cost of Covid-19

    Some of the largest UK councils say they may have to declare themselves effectively bankrupt unless the government agrees to further support.

    Five councils - including Barnet - said emergency spending controls - so-called section 114 notices - could be needed due to the impact of Covid-19.

    Nearly 150 authorities have forecast a combined budget shortfall of at least £3.2bn, the BBC found.

    The government said it was working on a "comprehensive plan" for councils.

    Full story

  2. Barnet Council announces changes to bin collections

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Blue bins in Barnet will be emptied every fortnight as the council operates with a reduced number of staff due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

    The temporary move to fortnightly recycling rounds is designed to ensure black refuse bins continue to be collected every week.

    This week, the blue bins will be emptied on the usual collection day but will not be collected the next week, Barnet Council said.

    Collections will resume on the week beginning 13 April.

    People who do not have blue bins can still put out their recycling in clear sacks.

    Barnet Council says it will monitor Government updates and review the waste collection situation in mid-April.

    Garden waste collections will go ahead every fortnight, with the £70 annual charge for the rounds due to begin on 6 April.

    Council leader Cllr Dan Thomas warned last week that “significant changes” to council services were likely as only the most essential staff are now able to travel due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

  3. Green waste charge 'may encourage fly-tipping'

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Residents could be charged £70 a year to have their green waste collected, despite strong opposition from people who gave their views on the proposals.

    Barnet Council environment chiefs say a proposed charge for garden waste rounds should go ahead, claiming it could save £800,000 a year and encourage more people to compost their waste at home.

    An environment committee report points out that 59% of UK local authorities already charge for garden waste rounds, including 20 London boroughs.

    But more than 80% of the 6,500 people who responded to a consultation said they were opposed to the move, with only 12.3% in favour.

    Some said they thought charging for the service would encourage people to fly-tip and illegally dispose of their waste, while others commented they should not have to pay an extra fee on top of their council tax.

    Even though many are opposed to the plans, the consultation suggests 37% of respondents would continue to use the service if a charge was introduced.

    Council officers say the move would help to meet Barnet Council’s substantial savings target of £70 million over the next five years, as well as complying with recycling targets set by the Mayor of London.

    A decision will be made on Monday night.

  4. Huge housing development approved

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Plans to build more than 1,000 homes on the site of a supermarket have been given the green light by councillors.

    A 28-storey tower block at the site of the Sainsburys store in Hyde Estate Road, Colindale, has been approved by Barnet Council’s planning committee.

    If the scheme is given the go-ahead by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, it will be joined by 10 more blocks rising higher than 10 storeys, as well as a smaller, four-storey building and a new supermarket.

    The huge project, designed by developer St George and Sainsbury's supermarkets, is set to provide 1,309 homes – a third of which will be classed as affordable.

    The plan has to be approved by Mr Khan as the scheme is deemed of strategic importance to the capital.

  5. Threatened arcade could join heritage list

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Outside of The Grand Arcade

    A historic arcade under threat of being knocked down to make way for new flats and shops could be added to the borough’s heritage list.

    The Grand Arcade in High Road, North Finchley, could be demolished as part of plans drawn up by Barnet Council to regenerate the town centre.

    A campaign to save the arcade, which was built in the 1930s in the Art Deco style, has won high-profile backing – including from The Kinks guitarist Dave Davies, who used to shop there as a teenager.

    Despite Historic England recognising the “historic value” of the arcade, it was left off the borough’s local heritage list when it was recently updated for the first time in more than 30 years.

    The list is designed to provide information for councillors to consider when making planning decisions affecting the buildings or their settings.

    At a meeting of the policy and resources committee on Monday night, councillors agreed to review the document every year – meaning the Grand Arcade could be added next year.

  6. Council criticised for 'confusing' savings plans

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Plans to save money and close a £72m budget gap have left opposition Barnet councillors baffled by an apparent lack of detail.

    Smart cities, a parking review, garden waste charges and other savings proposals are included in Barnet Council’s latest budget plans, which are now being put to a public consultation.

    Adding up to £35.1m, the savings are needed to help the council balance its books over the coming five years.

    But at a meeting of the policy and resources committee last night, Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors criticised the plans for an apparent lack of detail – and warned the council could be heading for bankruptcy.

    Cllr Gabriel Rozenberg (Lib Dem, Garden Suburb) said he was “really perplexed by the vagueness of these multi-million pound savings”.

    He said he did not understand what was meant by the parking review – designed to save £3.4 million up to 2025 – and was concerned the council planned to charge people to park outside their own homes by rolling out a borough-wide controlled parking zone (CPZ).

    Cllr Ross Houston (Labour, West Finchley) called the savings plans “a wish list, to some extent”.

    He pointed to a line in the plans that says “smart cities” will provide opportunities “to positively impact residents and businesses by providing better access to emerging technologies whilst also reviewing opportunities for commercialisation”.

    The council says smart cities could save £1.7m over the next five years.

    But Cllr Houston said: “As a member of this committee, I would like to see more detail about what we are being asked to agree.

    “If I don’t understand it, how are people we are consulting meant to know what it means?”

  7. Council apology for 'threatening letters' to elderly resident

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Barnet Council has been criticised for sending “threatening letters” to an elderly woman who was overcharged for home care.

    Indu Khambhaita, who lives in New Barnet, receives home care visits for three quarters of an hour every morning.

    For two years, she paid £87 per week for the care – but in April this year, the council suddenly and without explanation increased the charges to more than £133 per week.

    Her daughter’s father-in-law, Peter Hattrell, said he had sent the council four letters explaining she was being overcharged but he did not receive a response.

    In November Mrs Khambhaita was sent an invoice telling her to pay more than £1,000.

    The letter demanded “an immediate payment to settle the invoice and avoid your account being issued to an external debt collector or the issuing of county court proceedings”.

    Just days later, she was sent another letter with the same warning. Mr Hattrell described the letters as “threatening”.

    A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “We have resolved the outstanding issues and have contacted Mr Hattrell to apologise for the issues and delay in response.

    “We continually review all charges to residents to ensure they are accurate and up-to-date. On occasions, such as this, where mistakes are made, we endeavour to resolve the, as quickly as possible."

  8. Pentavia homes plans approved by Mayor

    Plans to build more than 800 homes in north-west London have been approved by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, after he took control of the decision from the local council.

    The redevelopment of disused Pentavia Retail Park in Mill Hill were rejected by Barnet Council in July 2018 because members of its planning committee felt the scheme was an over-development of the site and would not provide enough affordable housing.

    But Mr Khan "called in" the plans in November and has since approved them with an increased level of affordable homes.

    Mr Khan said: “This is classic example of an underused site with the potential to deliver significant numbers of homes".

  9. Improvements still needed at Barnet Council since £2m fraud

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    “Significant improvements” are still needed to bring the running of the council up to standard more than a year after it fell victim to a £2 million fraud.

    Barnet Council’s internal audit team could only give a ‘limited assurance’ that risks to the council were being adequately managed in 2018-19 – the same overall rating as the previous year.

    Despite some improvements, the internal audit team said there were still weaknesses in the council’s framework of governance, risk management and control which “put the achievement of the organisation’s objectives at risk”.

    The findings sparked a debate at an audit committee about whether the council was being given enough scrutiny – particularly in light of a recent move to limit questions from members of the public.

    Committee members also raised concerns about how the council could ensure the culture of firms providing outsourced services was up to standard.

    Trishul Shah, a former employee of outsourcing firm Capita, was jailed last year for defrauding the council of more than £2 million.

  10. Barnet recycling rate drops

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Barnet’s recycling rate has dropped after the council stopped collecting brown food waste bins from doorsteps.

    The borough’s recycling rate was 32.6% at the end of the third quarter of 2018-19 – 10% below target.

    It is also down on the 36.1% rate achieved during the same period in the previous year.

    Barnet Council controversially suspended separate food waste rounds in November last year as part of a bid to save money by making changes to ‘outdated’ collection routes.

    A report discussed by the environment committee yesterday said the fall in recycling was “due to a weather-related decrease in garden waste and the food waste recycling suspension pending service review”.

    Labour environment spokesman Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “The rate is going in the wrong direction. It needs to be increasing. What plans do we have to turn that around?”

    Jamie Blake, the council’s strategic director of environment, said: “We said that the recycling rate would reduce when we removed food waste collections.

    “We are still one of the top performers in north London.”

    Barnet had the 10th-highest recycling rate out of 32 London boroughs in 2017-18.

    Mr Blake added the council was carrying out a consultation with the Greater London Authority “to look at the financial viability cost associated with future food waste collections”.

    Brown bin collections could be brought back after the review has been carried out.

  11. Call for 'more ambitious' housing targets in Barnet

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Opposition councillors have called for more ambitious housing targets to help less well-off groups to rent or buy homes.

    Members of Barnet Council’s Labour Group called for half of all homes on new developments to be classed as affordable at a meeting of the housing committee last night.

    Their comments came during a discussion of the council’s new five-year housing strategy, which includes plans for more than a third (35%) of homes on developments of 10 units or more to be affordable.

    Cllr Paul Edwards, Labour member for Underhill, said: “By and large there is some good content in here, but from the Labour perspective this is not ambitious enough in relation to targets.”

    Labour councillors called for the target to rise to 50% – in line with the Mayor of London’s affordable homes target.

    But Conservative members defended the targets set out in the five-year plan.

    Cllr Dan Thomas, Conservative member for Finchley Church End, said lowering the affordable rent target could affect the council’s ability to boost the housing supply.

    He said: “We are reliant on social rents to build more homes. It is all very well people getting lower rents – but then we are getting fewer homes.

    “I would love rents and mortgages to be more affordable, but realistically, how are we going to build more homes?”

  12. Fury over 'punishing' Barnet parking scheme

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Residents and businesses are furious over a “punishing” parking scheme they fear could hit visitors and customers.

    Parking restrictions in part of North Finchley have been extended to Sundays and will now run well into the evening due to the roll-out of an “experimental” controlled parking zone (CPZ) from tomorrow.

    The CPZ, covering streets near High Road from Torrington Park to Derwent Crescent, was designed to protect residents’ parking from visitors attending the newly built St Barnabas Church at Solar House.

    But residents are angry about the new hours of operation, which run from 09:00 to 21:30 all week – a big hike on the previous hours of 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Saturday.

    Grandmother Andrea Kon said the new rules mean her grandchildren, aged four and two, will She said: “This cannot go ahead – it will affect everyone’s lives. It’s not been thought out at all."

    Stephen Wells, who manages White Rose Motors in High Road, suggested the church should not have been given planning permission if it had such a big impact on the area.

    He said: “Why should everyone suffer? It is discriminatory on a certain area. No-one goes to church Monday to Friday in the evening.”

    A Barnet Council spokesman said: “North Finchley is a very busy part of our borough, with a long-established CPZ.“We have been informed by the church that there will be regular weekend and evening events in the newly built St Barnabas Church at Solar House.

    “Local residents have raised concerns relating to the operation of the church and so by preventing church visitors from parking in nearby roads at these times, we are protecting parking spaces for residents and their visitors.”

  13. Barnet facing £62m budget gap 'by 2025'

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Barnet Council is taking urgent action to get its finances under control after revealing its budget gap is expected to soar to £62m by 2025.

    At a meeting of the policy and resources committee last night, Labour councillors called for an overhaul of financial reporting after the latest medium-term forecasts turned out to be significantly worse than those made before the local elections on 3 May.

    Just three months ago, the council predicted a balanced budget for the current financial year and a gap of just under £6m between spending and resources by 2020.

    But the latest forecast shows the budget gap for the coming financial year is expected to be £9.5m, climbing to more than £19m by 2020.

    Labour called for the borough's strategic finance team to be brought back in house instead of being outsourced to private service provider Capita.

    West Finchley councillor Ross Houston said: "We went through a local election thinking council finances were under control, and, quite clearly, they were not under control - and, quite frankly, I think the public had a right to be informed of that before the election."

    Political blogger John Dix, who lives in New Barnet, also expressed incredulity that officers and councillors were not aware how bad the situation had become. He said: "You sat on this committee six weeks before the election and you had no clue as to the problems? You are right, things do change - but hang on a minute, all that huge difference did not crop up in the six weeks before year-end?

    "Voters hold you accountable, but are you getting the information to make those decisions?"

    Barnet Council's director of finance Kevin Bartle said officers were getting a "clearer position" on the financial situation in early May - after the local elections had been held.

    Mr Dix suggested the council adopt a financial reporting system that is updated on a monthly or weekly basis to give a more accurate picture of its position.

    The business planning report states that: "Chief Officers are continuing to work to mitigate this pressure (the £9.5 million funding gap) and recognise their responsibilities to do so under the authority's financial regulations.

    "Additional possible actions include control and review of all agency placements and a potential vacancy freeze within the organisation."

    In response to Labour's request, Conservative members of the committee said options to bring the strategic finance team in house would be included in the budget update at the next committee, which is due to meet in July.