Times Series Review of the Year - June

This Is Local London: At least 68 Romanian immigrants were found living in makeshift huts at the derelict former Hendon FC site At least 68 Romanian immigrants were found living in makeshift huts at the derelict former Hendon FC site

A “refugee camp” of Eastern European migrants was exposed by the Times Series in June.

The former Hendon Football Ground, in Claremont Road, Brent Cross, had been converted to a squat for up to 70 people, many of whom were found by police to be in the UK illegally.

The story made national headlines as, just weeks after the Times Series exclusive, a dawn raid was carried out at the derelict site to evict the illegal workers, many of whom were sent home on flights paid for by the UK taxpayer.

Another group of squatters took over a café in Scratchwood but left police red-faced when they discovered just one man and his dog in the premises when they carried out a large eviction operation the following week.

Meanwhile, politicians and community figures gathered to pay tribute to popular campaigner Stan Davison, who passed away at the age of 87.

The borough also mourned the loss of Finchley Boxing Club legend Jimmy Oliver, who spent more than 50 years as a trainer at the High Barnet gym.

The 63-year-old’s funeral was attended by a series of big names from the world of boxing, including Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua and heavyweight Derek Chisora.

In politics, the Conservative Party in High Barnet voted to expel disgraced Councillor Brian Coleman in the wake of his conviction for assaulting a female café owner earlier in the year.

Barnet Council paved the way for a major regeneration of a 1960s sink estate when its planning committee approved major new plans for Dollis Valley in High Barnet.

But the authority came under fire from Barnet and District Athletics club which claimed it was being forced out of the borough because of “grossly inflated” council rent.

The authority claimed it offered a 12-month price freeze but that did not stop organisers taking the club to neighbouring Enfield.

Hendon’s RAF museum completed a groundbreaking recovery mission when it retrieved the only remaining Dornier 17 German bomber from the sea bed off the Kent Coast. The aircraft is undergoing two years of meticulous cleaning before it will be displayed at the Grahame Park Way museum.

And landmark plans to convert Brent Cross shopping centre into a “world class destination” went on show at the shopping centre to a generally positive response.

The designs form part of a huge regeneration of the Brent Cross and Cricklewood areas.

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