Friday, 24 April 2020 18:41

High Barnet Station development still on track

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The Barnet Society has seen the latest proposals for the High Barnet Station site. Designs won’t be finalised for several weeks, but not a lot has changed since the public consultation last November.

 

This is the biggest planning issue for High Barnet since The Spires 30 years ago. The Society realises that, for many people in lockdown, it‘s not currently a priority. But when we emerge from the crisis, we don’t want to find a done deal.

We’re writing to Transport for London (TfL) and Taylor Wimpey (TW) to try and secure further design modifications. Unless they’re forthcoming when the application goes in, probably in May, we’ll marshall every planning argument we can against it. There’ll be another public consultation, and you’ll also be able to have your say.

In December, we were told that TfL/TW intended to submit a planning application in January, but heard nothing more until last week. Then we were invited to a video-meeting on 24 April 2020 to discuss their latest scheme. Nick Saul (ex-engineer) and Simon Kaufman (architect) joined me (a retired architect) for a two-hour session, during which we interrogated the proposals in considerable depth.

We aren’t allowed to share the emerging plans with you yet, but they don’t contain many surprises. The intention is still to build nearly 300 flats, mainly 1- & 2-bedroom, 40% of which would be ‘affordable’. They would be arrayed in six blocks up to seven stories high along Barnet Hill. The number of long-stay parking spaces (36 commuter and 20 staff) would be a fraction of the present provision.

The TfL/TW design team have clearly been working hard over the last few months. Their environmental standards and quality of building and landscape detail appear unusually high. But we remain concerned about key aspects, most notably the impact on the neighbourhood and especially on Barnet Hill.

We have several challenges. Barnet Council has housing targets to meet. If it refuses the application, Sadiq Khan can over-ride its decision. He needs to build more homes before the Mayoral elections in May 2021, and his draft London Plan encourages high-density development around transport hubs. The government doesn’t like Sadiq, but in the wake of Covid-19, constructing ‘shovel-ready’ schemes looks an easy way to kick-start the economy. Ensuring due planning process will be difficult under the present circumstances.

If you’re not already a Society member – please join us. We’ll keep you informed and help get your voice heard.

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4 comments

  • Comment Link Saturday, 25 April 2020 09:15 posted by Rhona Pyrke

    Thank you for the update. I am not against the development as such but am concerned about the proposed heights of the buildings which are going to dominate the landscape. I think we should be fighting for something 3-4 storeys high at max.
    As for the parking - well Ive fallen out with people over this before but I don’t see why we need people driving in from outer areas though the High street to park there - but I am able to walk to the station so it affects me less.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 29 April 2020 11:07 posted by Barry Rawlings

    If the application is refused it does not go to Sadiq Khan as he is chair of TfL. It will either be delegated to a Deputy Mayor or go to Secretary of State. The Mayor is not part of any appeal involving TfL.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 30 April 2020 20:46 posted by Peter Sawyer

    Locals residents will be appalled if this planned development for Barnet Underground and its surrounding area to build several blocks of flats up to 7 storeys high with the loss of the station park. This will make residents parking very difficult in the area of Underhill and nearby areas, which will be even oppressive for the elderly who depend on their cars to shop locally. It is bad news for local residents, and only good news for the coffers of Taylor Wimpey, and misguided thinking by TFL and the Mayor of London. Residents who voted them in expect their MP and local Barnet councillors to oppose this damaging plan.....

  • Comment Link Sunday, 03 May 2020 00:36 posted by Ciaran H

    Completely understand the anxiety and concern created by this proposed development. I am not against the development but I do agree that some aspects jeopardise the local area. In my eyes, the main issue is parking considering that High Barnet is a terminus station and thus has people driving in from the wider area. St. Albans Road and surrounding streets are already used as extended commuter car parks from the station and reducing the number of parking spaces at the station will only elevate this occurrence. Nevertheless, if the car park situation was addressed and a suitable number of parking spaces were left then I see no considerable problem with the development. The impact on services is obviously a concern, yet as undesired it is, the population is growing and development in Barnet was going to happen eventually (as it is in the vast majority of the country) and therefore services were going to be impacted by a growing population at one stage. As sad as it is to acknowledge, Barnet was not going to stay the same forever. Even for towns and urban environments evolution, whether good or bad, is sadly part of life. With regards to Peter Sawyer's comments, to argue that the elderly 'depend' on their cars to shop locally is completely unjustified. Much of the elderly population of Barnet do not drive and actually rely on transport services (which is why TFL's proposal of reducing the radius of the 384 bus is such an issue and hindrance), of which overall Barnet is pretty well connected, and actually attempt to walk to the shops for fresh air and health benefits where possible.

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