Sunday, 27 May 2018 23:15

Barnet Market & Premier Inn - An opportunity slipping away

Written by Robin Bishop
 Stapylton Road pocket park – improvements are needed in and around it Stapylton Road pocket park – improvements are needed in and around it
The Barnet Society supports the current planning applications for both a Premier Inn and relocation of the market to The Spires bandstand site – but only subject to several strict conditions. And we do so in the belief that a big opportunity could be lost.

Nearly 20 years ago our Vice President, David Lee, sketched out how the whole area between The Spires and St Albans Road could be rationalised to the benefit of traders, shoppers, cars and buses.

This and other Society initiatives to improve the town centre led to the idea of a Town Team in 2009, and the Council’s adoption of the Chipping Barnet Town Centre Strategy in 2013.

The current proposal to widen the High Street pavement, plant trees, add seating, improve signage and other measures is driven by the Town Team’s desire to provide a safer, more inclusive, more enjoyable – and thereby more prosperous – town centre.

At the far end of The Spires, we have another chance to change public perceptions of Chipping Barnet.

The sale of the market site on St Albans Road, The Spires management’s willingness to think creatively about the use of its land and the promising start made by the Teenage Market have opened up an opportunity to improve a neglected area next to the bandstand: the Stapylton Road pocket park and its adjoining hard and soft surfaces.

For years bus passengers have put up with a narrow pavement often littered and obstructed by shopping trolleys, and been forced to step into the road to board buses because of competitive drivers.

Grass has been scruffy or non-existent. Cars and minicabs block The Spires’ access road to set down and pick up shoppers.

And despite the admirable efforts of Christ Church’s Saturday refreshment stall, the area has attracted anti-social behaviour.

The re-opening of the library, and the arrival of fast food vans and the Teenage Market, have already cheered up the place.

With the move of Barnet Market, footfall will increase – but there will be even more wear and tear. If successful, the Market will have to expand beyond the constricted bandstand site.

This is a great opportunity to plan for an expanded market, and at the same time improve the existing ad hoc and unsatisfactory pedestrian routes, set-down and pick-up arrangements.

We know The Spires management have been talking with Council planners about this.

Why is that not mentioned in the planning application? Why haven’t the Town Team or local groups been involved?

There’s still time for that to happen, and it needn’t cost much. We have a new Council with – we hope – a better understanding of the value of consulting the community and co-ordinating sensible planning improvements. Let’s work together on this.

Below are the Society’s responses to the two planning applications.

Barnet Market relocation (ref. 18/2483/FUL)

The Barnet Society supports the proposal to relocate Barnet Market to The Spires bandstand site, but has several comments:

  1. We regret that the opportunity has not been taken to master-plan this and adjoining green and hard spaces with a view to future expansion of the market and improving the existing ad hoc and unsatisfactory pedestrian routes, bus and car/taxi set-down and pick-up arrangements.
  2. The proposed market stall layout makes no allowance for the vans used by present Saturday traders.
  3. The Market Strategy promises (under Future Changes & Provisions) ‘upgraded branding’ of new stalls to improve image. Since the Teenage Market only recently invested in some 20 new and attractive gazebos, why is this necessary? Any ’upgrade’ should be subject to a planning condition.
  4. The Market Strategy says (under Future Changes & Provisions) that subject to trader needs ‘a new tap and gulley/drainage will be installed’, but gives no indication of where this would be done on this constricted site without inconveniencing traders and/or passers-by.
  5. The Planning Statement (para 2.6) states that ‘10 small boundary trees …will be retained’ – but three have already been felled.
  6. A new bike stand would be fine – but not at the expense of the sole existing litter bin. More bins should be provided.

Premier Inn (ref. 18/2591/FUL)

The Barnet Society supports the proposed Premier Inn, but only on these conditions:

  1. The application (18/2483/FUL) to relocate the market to The Spires bandstand site must be approved.
  2. The Inn’s impact on traffic and on-street parking must be reviewed and acceptable solutions agreed. We are especially concerned that: 
    1. Even with bespoke signage, some arriving cars/cabs will confuse the three hotel entrances.
    2. Turning within Bruce Road & Chipping Close will be awkward at peak times.
    3. Right turns into St Albans Road will be difficult and sometimes dangerous.
    4. Drop-off/pick-up in Stapylton Road will obstruct existing buses and deliveries.
    5. Premier Inns’ policy of discouraging coach parties may change.
    6. While we welcome use of The Spires car park for hotel customers, incentives – e.g. a subsidy from Premier Inns – are essential to guarantee 24-hour opening and deter       parking in  the High Street or residential roads. The time restriction in this part of the CPZ may need to be extended to 8:00pm.

       3. Premier Inn signage and branding must follow Conservation Area guidelines.

       4. More planting such as window boxes is needed, to extend the greening of the town centre
       currently being promoted by the Council and Chipping Barnet Town Team.

       5. Premier Inns should be required to contribute to visitor information about the
       history of Chipping Barnet. This should comprise public information boards (freestanding or
       wall-mounted) and signposts outside the hotel, in the style of other street furniture currently
       planned for the High Street, in agreed locations. 
       Their locations and information they convey must be agreed with the CBTT and Council.
       Pictorial and written material inside the hotel would also be welcome.

       6. The empty triangle between hotel and Dory’s café must be neatly secured

       7. On elevations: the St Albans Road 1st floor window spacing is uncomfortable; the ‘shopfronts’
       terminate non-traditionally; and the Bruce Road red brick is unnecessary.
       Brick samples  must be approved.

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12 comments

  • Comment Link Monday, 28 May 2018 00:22 posted by Steven

    So you are pushing a poorly thought out plan for a hotel so that the market can move. Why are these not two seperate isssues, surely the market can move with out a Premier Inn. Why is there a quid pro quo going on? Why is the Barnet Society supporting a proposal that the public seem to be against?

  • Comment Link Friday, 01 June 2018 15:55 posted by Patrick

    The Barnet Society is an absolute disgrace for supporting this proposal. You are so far away from the thoughts of the residents on this, how can you support a 4 storey hotel opposite the 2 storey houses of Chipping Close.

    It leaves us wondering why you are so keen to push this down our throats and the expense of representing the local community?

  • Comment Link Monday, 11 June 2018 13:22 posted by Geraldine ODriscoll

    Very disappointed to see the Barnet Society supporting the building of this hotel, have you given any thought at all to the residents of Chipping Close?

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 20 June 2018 20:51 posted by Steven

    The Premier Inn by already applying for an alcohol license, again shows absolutely no consideration for the residents of Chipping Close and St Albans Rd.
    And the build hasn't even been approved!!

    The two blue A4 bits of paper taped to poles on the historic market site state
    that Whitbread are seeking a license to;
    Enable the sale of alcohol for consumption on and off the premises
    Seven days a week 10:00 to 00:30 to non-residents, 24 hours a day to residents.
    Extended hours on bank holidays
    And to provide entertainment when selling alcohol.

    Most pubs/bars in the area close earlier than this and those with residential neighbours close during the week and on Sundays at 23:00.

    Given that Chipping Close will be forced to endure an unacceptable loss of privacy, light and
    nuisance (due the main entrance being on the street) by the proposed build already what is one more thing...
    Like a public bar 10m away from our houses open until 00:30 every night, seven days a week.

    Thank you Barnet Society for sticking up for the full time residents of Chipping Barnet by supporting a build that will make living on our street unbearable.

    And if anyone can tell me where you comment on the proposed license please can you post a here as on the notification it simply says to go to barnet.gov.uk with no reference number.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 21 June 2018 18:14 posted by Richard Gardham

    It does seem that Premier Inn have been dishonest in this application, and it does leave me wondering just how the Barnet Society can continue to support it in its current form.

    First, the artist's impressions that we were all shown were/are based on a lie. There is another floor that they just so happened to miss off. How and why would Premier Inn do this? They knew how many stories the hotel would comprise so why release an artist's impression/plans showing something different? If they've lied about this - which they have - then what else are they lying about?

    That brings me to my second point. In the consulting that they did with local residents in the Barnet Library, we were given assurances that the restaurant area was solely aimed at catering to breakfast and lunchtime guests. Which was fair enough. So why are they applying for a bar to serve drinks until 12.30am? We were assured that there were no plans to provide anything going into the early hours as 'that's not what Premier Inn is about'. Now we get this licensing application going way beyond anything acceptable. Two pieces of complete and utter dishonestly. That we know about.

    I'd love for someone from the Barnet Society to explain to me why you continue to support a project that is engaging with those affected in such a dishonest way. I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment Link Monday, 02 July 2018 12:15 posted by Dennis Bird

    Dear Barnet Society,
    I have been a member for 40 odd years, and l know you win some and lose some, but l always saw you on the right side.
    So what on earth is going on with this ludicrous support for the Premier Inn application?
    Do you not care about residents anymore?
    Please get your act together.....
    Dennis Bird

  • Comment Link Monday, 02 July 2018 23:04 posted by Steven

    Premier Inn has now added 9 additional plans to the planning portal. I am not sure how this is allowed given that the portal has closed and the public can not make comment on the changes.

    Of note there seems to be an increase in height of the bulid which is noticable on the new document PROPOSED_SECTIONS_REV._A-4130129.
    Also the entrance on Bruce Road has been completely removed, this was the entrance for drop off's, taxis and for disabled access as the one disabled parking spot is there...

    They have however added a few planters and a plaque to commemorate the once historical market site... So Barnet Society should be pleased.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 04 July 2018 14:44 posted by Richard

    "Premier Inn has now added 9 additional plans to the planning portal. I am not sure how this is allowed given that the portal has closed and the public can not make comment on the changes."

    Can the Barnet Society really not see the levels of dishonesty that Premier Inn are engaging in here? Does it not concern you even remotely? You were invited to that initial consultation, you heard what they had to say, you can now see how little of what was said is reflected in Premier Inn's real plans. And you still stand behind the project as long as a few bits of Barnet-related marketing are put in the reception for everyone to ignore. Some sort of feedback on here from you would be nice...

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 10 July 2018 18:17 posted by C Reyland

    Surely it is time the Barnet Society responded to comments on this post?

  • Comment Link Friday, 13 July 2018 22:23 posted by Steven

    Then Barnet Planning Committe will make it's descision on the
    Premier Inn Build on Tuesday the 17 July at 2018 at Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, London, NW4 4BG at 19:00.

    If unlike Barnet Society you have concerns about the build of a 101 room hotel
    on Chipping Close such as;
    Increased traffic and pollution as guest will drive into High Barnet.
    With no parking provided local residents and actual shoppers parking places
    will be misappropriated by hotel users and staff.
    It provides no real financial benifits to the high street with guests using as a gatway to London and out of familarity using chain shops and the hotel liscened bar/restraunt which will directly
    compete and undercut local business,
    The Build is out of Character with the consevation area by its scale, mass and proximity to the
    Victorian cottages on Chipping Close. Given the main entrance is only 10m away from the windows of local residents and in the middle of the street this will lead to an unacceptable loss of privacy and nuacience as local residents will be subject 24 hours a day 7 days a week to people wheeling suitcases, cars and taix's picking dropping people off and late night revellers smoking out the front.

    Please attend the committee meeting and show the real public sentiment.
    Tuesday the 17 July at 2018 at Hendon Town Hall,
    The Burroughs, London, NW4 4BG at 19:00.

  • Comment Link Monday, 16 July 2018 17:05 posted by Markus Geiger

    Many objections are about the height/massing of the proposal. It would be very useful to have a proper 3-D model so that every possible viewpoint could be assessed. This is routinely done on sensitive projects of this size. In fact this is the best way to clear up any misunderstandings about the impact on the immediate surroundings. It can also show the full impact of overshadowing.
    As with parking, the use of the Spires car park makes sense as it lies empty at night. Across the road is the Stapylton Road car park, free after 6.30 and fairly empty at night.

  • Comment Link Saturday, 04 August 2018 13:34 posted by Steven

    Premiere Inn refused for obvious reasons regardless of Residents Associations being on the developers side and not on the side of residents.
    But why has the market not moved? I thought these were independant of each other. It has been approved by the council. And its a great idea for the market and footfall for the Spires why is it not phasing across to the bandstand?
    Are we still waiting for the hotel money to make that happen?

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