Angry words were exchanged over the proposed reopening of Partingdale Lane ahead of a key meeting to discuss its future last night.

Barnet Council was due to discuss the reopening the controversial Mill Hill road and former rat-run, which has now been closed for five years. It was closed to traffic in March 1997 after the then Labour-led council decided it was a potential hazard a decision which proved popular with Mill Hill residents but less so in Woodside Park.

Conservative councillor Brian Coleman, cabinet member for environment, is one who would like to see it reopened.

"I am sick to death of the selfishness of residents in Partingdale Lane. They care about the value of their property, while council tax payers in Lullington Garth and Woodside Park have to endure endless delays and pollution that come as a result of its closure. Five years ago there was an injustice. Now we are going to reverse the injustice," he said.

Mel Simpson, a resident of Partingdale Lane, is opposed to any plans to reopen his road: "We have been accused of selfishness. I'm selfish because I care about the safety of my children. If that makes me selfish, then yes, I'm selfish.

"This is about safety. I am a father of two small children. Occasionally, a van will come round the corner and I have to pull my children to one side. If there was traffic coming that van driver would be faced with a choice. A head-on collision with another vehicle, or the softer option of hitting my children.

"To say that this is anything to do with the value of property is despicable."

Hendon MP Andrew Dismore said the council had taken the decision to close the road after careful consultation five years ago. "Local residents are very much in favour of road safety and making sure that traffic is confined to major roads," he said.

He added that residents may challenge any decision to reopen the road by taking it to judicial review.

June 21, 2002 15:00