A master plan showing how the green space off Barnet Lane might be transformed into a new sports attraction for High Barnet have been unveiled by consultants hired by Barnet Council to advise on a project that could cost several million pounds to deliver and might not be completed until 2023.
Local residents were given their first chance to see the latest plans at an open evening at the Hope Corner community centre organised by the Sport, Leisure and Culture Consultancy.
Comments are now being invited and the public are being asked to view the project and to take part in an online questionnaire on a dedicated page on Barnet Council’s website:
The deadline for comments is December 2. SLC would prepare a final report by January 25 which would then be worked up to form a feasibility report which would include costings and a business plan, ready for consideration by Barnet Council’s environment committee next March.
The masterplan shows the improvement proposed for Barnet playing fields and the adjoining King George V playing field, the other side of Dollis brook.
Significant changes are already being made to the area following the go ahead for the new Ark Academy school on the site of Underhill football stadium, the former home of Barnet Football Club.
What was formerly the pitch of Barnet Cricket Club is being converted into playing fields for the new academy, which opens next September, and on adjoining land there are new artificial and grass pitches for the Hadley Wood Sports Trust.
Under the masterplan, the land beside the Ark Academy playing fields would be redeveloped as a park for wheeled sports such as skate boards and scooters.
Next to the skate park would be a new adventure playground for children aged over seven, which would feature wooden structures for climbing, slides and zip wires.
In addition, there would be a separate play area for children aged up to six.
What came through so strongly when we talked to the community was the demands for facilities like a skate board park, adventure playgrounds and a community hub with a café and toilets
For older children and adults there would be an outdoor gym with static exercise and resistance machines for keeping fit.
All four areas would have free access.
In the centre of the redevelopment would a sports and community hub with indoor climbing frames for children, games areas for basketball and netball, two community rooms with multi-purpose activity space for exercise classes, dances, boxing, martial arts, and children’s gymnastics, and a community hub café.
The new hub would replace facilities currently provided at the Rainbow Centre on the Dollis Valley estate.
The area between the community hub and Dollis brook would be redeveloped to provide four new junior football pitches.
Across Dollis brook, the King George V playing field would be converted into a Gaelic football pitch, plus two practice areas, for St Kiernans Gaelic Football club, ready for when it moves from its current home at Montrose Park.
As part of the redevelopment, there would be a new footbridge across Dollis brook and there would be new footpaths and cycle paths to link up with the London Loop cycle path and the Dollis Valley green walk.
Toby Kingsbury, a director of SLC, told the Barnet Society that the masterplan builds on an earlier consultation with local residents.
“What came through so strongly when we talked to the community was the demands for facilities like a skate board park, adventure playgrounds and a community hub with a café and toilets.
“The other top priority was the need for new pedestrian and cycle paths so there was better access for walking, jogging and cycling, and an opening up of the area for greater community use.”