Members of Chipping Barnet Town Team have given their backing to Barnet Council’s plans to widen one side of the High Street pavement – from the Post Office to just beyond the entrance to the Spires shopping centre – despite criticism from some residents in nearby streets.
Graffiti daubed on walls and the sides of buildings in and around High Barnet has become an increasing eyesore in the opinion of residents who ask the Barnet Society why there has been no attempt in recent months to mount a clean-up.
Plans to improve one of the busiest stretches of Barnet High Street by planting trees, and providing benches and cycle hoops, have been upstaged by the arrival of a super-size black kiosk for a new smart telephone.
Pupils of the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School from the Old Bull, High Barnet, were guests of the Mayor of Barnet, Councillor David Longstaff, when he presented them with medals for winning sixth place in the awards for London’s New Year’s Day parade.
The Barnet Society’s long-running campaign to try to secure a short period of free parking at the 63 parking meter spaces along the High Street featured prominently in Dom on the Spot, BBC television’s latest series about the people whose job it is to hand out on-the-spot fines.
After mounting concern about the recent loss of leading retailers, High Barnet’s shopping centre has received a shot in the arm: H&M, the leading Swedish fashion chain, has finally signed up to take the lease of a brand new store in the Spires shopping centre.
High Barnet’s notoriety as a hot spot for parking fines is to be featured yet again on national television. Footage for a new series of Dom on the Spot was filmed in the High Street highlighting Barnet Council’s refusal to even consider a short period of free parking in order to help local traders.
A guarded welcome has been given by the Barnet Society to plans for a £7 million upgrade for the Spires shopping centre. Barnet Council is to be asked to give planning permission for a two-storey fashion store and three new restaurants.
A two-storey, 24,000-square-foot new fashion store – replacing four existing shop units – will become the centrepiece of a new-look Spires shopping centre if planning permission is obtained from Barnet Council.
Barnet High Street has been bedecked once again with flowering hanging baskets. But please do not be fooled into thinking Barnet Council deserves the credit for adding this splash of colour to the town centre.
If permission is granted to demolish the empty After Office Hours bar next to the Bull Theatre, the Barnet Society says there must be stringent planning conditions, and time for a proper archaeological investigation.
A Canadian investment fund is the new owner of the Spires shopping centre in High Barnet, having paid £40 million for what the agents say is prime retail space in “one of London’s largest and fastest-growing boroughs, as well as one of the most affluent”.
After a run of closures over recent months, the High Street now offers several new restaurants and cafes. The proprietors are hoping the custom they attract will encourage increased business for other shops and traders in High Barnet’s shopping centre and perhaps attract other new retail ventures.
A joint attempt by the Barnet Society and the Barnet Times to persuade Barnet Council to introduce a period of free car parking to boost trade in the borough’s high streets was rejected by the environment committee.
Almost 2,000 people visiting shops and other premises in the High Street have signed the Barnet Society’s petition calling on Barnet Council to consider offering an hour’s free parking to help the town’s retailers.
Petition forms distributed by the Barnet Society to around 100 shops and other retail premises along the High Street are showing far higher support than expected for the Society’s campaign for an hour’s free parking.
Councillor David Longstaff has joined Mrs Theresa Villiers MP and Gordon Massey, chairman of Barnet Residents Association, in opposing the Barnet Society’s petition calling for an hour’s free parking to help win back shoppers to the High Street.
Another two independent traders are being forced out of the High Street by a combination of high rents and the chronic difficulties faced by shoppers confronted by High Barnet’s expensive and inordinately complicated parking regime.
The depth of local anger, frustration and even despair at the damage being inflicted on Barnet’s shopping centre is highlighted yet again in comments in support of the Barnet Society’s petition calling on Barnet Council to allow an hour’s free parking.
A packed programme has been arranged for this year’s Barnet Christmas Fair on Sunday 7 December when, instead of traffic, there will be music and dancing in the High Street and a vast array of stalls and attractions in nearby venues.
Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, who is Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, admits that that even her police protection officers cannot work out where it is possible to park in High Barnet town centre.
The Barnet Society is launching a Save Our High Street appeal: our town centre desperately needs more shoppers and we hope local businesses and other organisations, as well as local residents will join our campaign.
Saturday shoppers queued up in disbelief to read a bailiff’s notice posted on the front door of the Oasis coffee shop in the Spires shopping centre – the seventh business to have closed within the complex in recent months.
Facelift for the Spires to be finished by the spring ready for Carluccio’s restaurant to open next summer. Building work is due to start in August constructing a new entrance to the Spires shopping centre, together with premises for a new branch of the Italian restaurant chain Carluccio’s that will have its frontage opening on to Barnet High Street.
Just imagine the bustle and activity of 1898 when such was the competition in the High Street of Barnet that shoppers had the choice of eleven butchers, including one pork butcher and two poultry dealers! Today only one shop remains, the Butcher’s Hook.
When customer satisfaction is the only protection against the tsunami of change that is sweeping through so many of Britain’s high streets, few Barnet traders can match the long-standing loyalty of local residents for the refreshments served at Dory’s cafe, still going strong and now in the hands of the third generation of an Italian family.