The future management of Finchley's Avenue House was the hot topic of debate on Monday.

Community organisations in the borough were invited to a conference to discuss proposals to establish a new independent management committee to run the East End Road estate.

One of the members of the steering committee looking into Avenue House's future, Janett Durrant said: 'I hope the council would not have to be involved in the running of this estate.

'And if people who do get involved show real commitment the estate's potential can be reached,' added Mrs Durrant, who is also a member of the Friends of Avenue House Estate and Avenue House Action Group.

Avenue House was originally left by 'Inky' Stephens for the benefit of the people of Finchley.

When the London Borough of Barnet was created in 1965, it became the corporate trustee of the house, lodge, the Bothy, stable block and grounds ,, for the use of the community.

Avenue House Action Group member Andrew Brown, who joined the 28-strong audience at the meeting, called for the new committee to have its own bank account and said: 'This community believes we've had no power over the estate.'

Childs Hill ward councillor Monroe Palmer thought this was a good idea.

A decision on new management arrangements has to go through several council committees but it is thought it could include council representatives as well as members of the community.