For and against wider High Street pavement

Written by  Thursday, 13 April 2017 08:26
High Street seen from the Post Office High Street seen from the Post Office
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.

The aim of a wider pavement is to improve the High Street shopping experience by making it easier for pedestrians, to attract new shops and encourage “an outdoor restaurant and café culture”.

However, discussion on the impact of the proposed built-out pavement is continuing within local organisations that make up the Town Team.

The Barnet Society is the among groups considering its reaction and intends to publish its response shortly.

Nonetheless the Town Team hopes that members of local organisations who do agree that a wider pavement would be an improvement do express their support before the consultation period ends on 20 April.

Details can be found at https://engage.barnet.gov.uk/housing-planning-and-regeneration/high-street-barnet-proposed-pedestrian-improvement/

In a statement endorsing the case for a wider pavement, Gordon Massey, chairman of the Barnet Residents Association, urges his association’s members to give the scheme their backing:

“If you want our High Street to flourish, express your support by e-mailing the Council at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or write to Traffic & Development, 11th Floor, Barnet House, Whetstone, London N20 0EJ.

The Town Team is led by the Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers and Councillor David Longstaff, and includes representatives of the Barnet Society, Barnet Residents Association, SPACES (Sebright, Puller, Alston, Calvert), Love Barnet, Friends of Barnet Market, Churches Together and the disabled community.

In their joint statement, the Town Team sets out the arguments for and against pavement build-outs in the High Street.

WHY?

“Many similar schemes have been implemented across London and beyond. 

They show that wider pavements improve the shopping experience and benefit local shops and businesses. 

The key objective is to change the balance from primarily catering for the needs of motorists to addressing the needs of pedestrians.

This is particularly pertinent in High Barnet where some 65% of journeys into the town are on foot or by public transport.

As well as making pedestrian movement easier the benefits include environmental improvements, especially the planting of trees, and encouraging an outdoor restaurant and café culture.

Narrowing the pedestrian crossings and removing car parking will improve traffic flow which in turn will reduce pollution caused by vehicle congestion.

WHY NOW?

“We have already seen some improvements in the High Street, in particular at the entrance to the Spires.

The Spires is the subject of a bold redevelopment scheme including a brand new major store, but we are concerned that if the new outlets fail, the consequences for our town centre would be dire.

Changes to Church Passage, a Town Team initiative, led to a great improvement on the gloomy tunnel of a few years ago.

Meanwhile the central section of the High Street remains unchanged and unloved.

Past surveys have identified a high level of resident dissatisfaction with the High St shopping experience.

One third of the shops along the section proposed for improvement are charity shops, a testament to the continued decline of what should be our prime retail area.

We now need to “grab the moment” by making real changes to the High Street to support The Spires initiative.

The prize could be a transformation of the shopping experience in our town centre.

WHY NOT?

“There are those who will oppose the loss of car parking spaces (7 on the High Street, out of 700 in the town centre area). 

Our assessment of those who park in these spaces is that many of them head for The Spires or elsewhere rather than using the nearby High Street outlets. 

We confidently expect that the benefits from improving the shopping experience in the High Street will far outweigh the loss of these spaces.

“The Council proposals include changes to loading bays including placing some on adjacent side streets.

We do have reservations with this aspect of the scheme and will be asking the council to look again at the options.”

Gail Laser, founder of Love Barnet – and vice chair of the Barnet Society – says she believes that much-needed improvements to the High Street could be a huge boost to the economy of the town centre.

Currently the High Street is unattractive because of unsightly shop fronts and the existing pavement design does not encourage anything better. Widening the pavement should help to change all of this.

“We will be able to situate trees and floral planters on the nibs of the pavement build-outs that will help add some style, add some green and help with the traffic pollution.”

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17 comments

  • Comment Link Thursday, 13 April 2017 12:18 posted by Rachel

    I think the pavement widening in principle is a good idea, but what's not mentioned in this article is the proposal to move the loading bays to Union St and Salisbury Rd. These streets are too narrow for large lorries to be driving down, and the noise from he lorries will disturb residents (it's bad enough already from the bays on the High St!) The loading bay in Union St is proposed to be opposite Room 89 shop, behind which is a private car park that many local businesses and residents use (including me!). It is hard enough to turn into/out of this when there is a big car parked opposite.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 13 April 2017 17:08 posted by James Freeman

    Where is the evidence that people using the 7 parking spaces "head for The Spires or elsewhere"? It may be only 7 parking spaces out of 700, but they are in a central position and are very well used especially by people wanting to pop quickly into one or two shops in the High Street, often with young children, without the hassle of going to one of the car parks and walking.
    The decrease in pollution will be minimal as this is mainly caused by traffic especially HGVs passing through the High Street.
    Where is the evidence that this scheme will reduce the number of charity shops which you imply.
    The moving of the loading bays as mentioned by Rachel will make life very difficult in Union St and Salisbury Road.
    I am not against change or improving the High Street but I think this is a bad proposal which has been badly thought out and looks as though it is being rushed through as quickly as possible.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 13 April 2017 17:55 posted by Barnet Council is corrupt

    Idiot mother****ing Barnet Council w*****s stupidity strikes again!

  • Comment Link Thursday, 13 April 2017 19:24 posted by Charlie barrie

    No one has mentioned the affect on traffic, and the increase in air pollution.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 13 April 2017 23:58 posted by Jon

    A limited stretch of wider pedestrian space and a more pleasant environment are small steps in the right direction. But this scheme looks like having limited benefits for pedestrians and it's a lost opportunity to provide the choice for people to shop by bicycle in safety. The High Street needs a complete overhaul with priority reassigned first to pedestrians, second to cyclists and lastly to motors. A reduced speed limit and more ways to cross the road safely would help.

    The proposals may make provision for cycling worse. Has anyone considered this?

    Cyclists stop to shop more often than drivers, simply because they can park very easily, right next to the shop they need and so business benefits. That's partly why over half of the councillors in Barnet have signed up to improve space for cycling, but what are they doing in practice? Please see http://action.space4cycling.org/data/borough/43

  • Comment Link Friday, 14 April 2017 08:42 posted by Keith West

    The implication in the post is that residents and traders are acting selfishly, which is a nonsense: High Street traders and local residents welcome the proposal to improve the street and do not object to the widening the pavement, in the words of an early council document - to 'de-clutter' but the scheme under consultation proposes removal of not seven but at least 13 of the most used and needed parking spaces and 'cluttering' the street with potted trees, benches, litter bins and more cycle stands. The only plan which adopted by the Area Committee was in July 2016 - Option Two - which retained shared parking spaces' on a drop kerb widened pavement. High Street traders and local residents presented a modified plan to Town Team and MP Theresa Villiers on 11th April which retained most of the parking bays, the western side loading bay in front of Snappy Snaps and most of the trees which removes the requirement for loading bays at the narrowest, most dangerous points in Salisbury Road and Union Street. Some progress was made and a Town Team delegate proposed extending the consultation period 'by a month' to continue dialogue and come to a unifying plan, rather than the divisive proposal under consultation. However, Cllr David Longstaff has unilaterally refused this suggestion from the Town Team. If you disagree with his decision you might let him know on cllr.d.longstaff@barnet.gov.uk

  • Comment Link Friday, 14 April 2017 08:43 posted by Emma Mattocks

    Another waste of tax money.

  • Comment Link Saturday, 15 April 2017 07:38 posted by Gail Laser

    i am desperate for our high Street to improve and flourish rather than watch a downward decline that is currently the case

    I want to see a street market, cafe culture,wider more attractive pavements, more trees.

    We have one opportunity to support this and that is now

    I can only see one downside and that is the loss of seven parking spaces , the positive impact of which will far outweigh that small cost. The fifteen minute free spaces opposite Victoria Bakery will remain. The one hour free in Moxon Street car park will remain. The free two hours in the morning and free all afternoon around Hadley Green will remain and that is just a two minute walk away for most of us


    Contrary to many messages out there, it is highly unlikely that unloading bays will be moved to side streets and Chipping Barnet Town Team support unloading bays remaining on the high street !!

    If you are happy for the high street to continue to decline then that is your choice

    I know we are unlikely to ever again get another opportunity for such a large improvement

    Please add your support if you care
    Email :
    traffic.consultation@barnet.gov.uk

    Or go online :

    https://engage.barnet.gov.uk/housing-planning-and-regeneration/high-street-barnet-proposed-pedestrian-improvement/

  • Comment Link Saturday, 15 April 2017 10:44 posted by James Freeman

    i would like to second the comments by Keith West

  • Comment Link Monday, 17 April 2017 10:18 posted by Chipping Ken.

    High Streets are declining. The reasons are many and complex not least the continued threat of online shopping. The is a bold scheme (used by other centres e.g. Wimbledon to name only one) which mirrors the investment in the Spires. We need both to be successful if we are to reverse the decline. TFL are funding so local services aren't impacted. Let's be brave instead of resisting change. the potential loss of 7 spaces is minimal and won't fundamentally change the current state of affairs - 7 charity shop out of 23 says it all. Embrace change not resist it.

  • Comment Link Monday, 17 April 2017 12:12 posted by Caroline Lever

    I would prefer this money to go to social services. We need to help the most vulnerable people in the area who cannot go out shopping for themselves.

  • Comment Link Monday, 17 April 2017 19:39 posted by Andy

    Another small step to improve the high street and compliments the investment in the Spires. Great news.

  • Comment Link Monday, 17 April 2017 21:58 posted by Derek Epstein

    1. There are seven parking spaces between the post office and The Spires. How would this proposal destroy "at least 13" spaces?
    2. What would be the benefit of having (the same number of?) cars parked on a widened pavement?

  • Comment Link Monday, 17 April 2017 21:59 posted by Keith West

    1) The proposal is to remove 7 parking spaces from Union St but does not include two outside the post office and proposes four others - 2 in Salisbury Rd and 2 in Union St - which adds up to 13.
    2) Furthermore the only plan adopted by the Area Committee retained all the 9 parking bays and the loading bay outside Snappy Snaps ADDING five more beyond the Spires - so the proposal by the Town Team under consultation actually removes 18 spaces.
    3) The benefit of retaining parking bays as proposed by the only scheme underpinned by an extensive and expensive engineers feasibility study is for those driving to the High Street who may be infirm, elderly or less able but need to park near High St banking, building society, chemist, dry cleaners, baker and yes, even charity shops which, those less wealthy of us supplement state pensions and those living on benefits.
    4) High Street traders overwhelmingly want parking and loading bays to remain because trade and those they employ will suffer if trade is destroyed as a consequence.
    5) Residents living in the adjacent streets oppose loading bays which will cause obstruction, congestion, increased danger and pollution.
    6) Transport for London will ultimately decide the fate of the whole project and its guidelines undermine much of the scheme.

  • Comment Link Monday, 17 April 2017 22:02 posted by Ben Basson

    The idea that significant high street trade comes from 7 parking bays seems to be imaginary rather than evidenced by anything.

    Assuming that those bays are in constant use, for half an hour each time, for 9 hours (ish) of shop opening time, that's 126 cars parking during the day, at most. Let's assume one potential paying customer per car, so 126 (potential) paying customers.

    Distribute those out between the 40(ish?) units nearest to those spaces, and that's an average of 3 (potential) customers per unit.

    So, unless all of these customers are visiting multiple units or are more heavily favouring one specific unit, I can't see this making a big difference to any of the traders.

  • Comment Link Monday, 17 April 2017 22:03 posted by Keith West

    Nevertheless you are ignoring the impact on those in greatest need of High Street services and increased pressure on residential adjacent streets. The reality is the plan approved by the Area Team Option Two retained parking bays - the scheme cobbled together in December is little more than a vanity project. The rationale is an 'outdoor restaurant and cafe culture' - when all but one of the outlets adjacent to the seven bays are neither restaurants or cafes - the exception is the Burrito bar which mainly caters to take out customers.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 19 April 2017 09:23 posted by Derek Dishman

    I don't want to form part of a cafe culture that has 17,500 vehicles a day going past me (figure from DfT traffic count). This scheme needs scrapping and a holistic solution to the problem that is the ailing High St.

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