Tuesday, 22 October 2019 16:49

Two blocks of flats abandoned and instead trees to be preserved

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Plans for a block of flats facing Meadway and another facing Barnet Hill have been abandoned and replaced with an undertaking to preserve the “mature and high-quality trees” alongside the pathway Plans for a block of flats facing Meadway and another facing Barnet Hill have been abandoned and replaced with an undertaking to preserve the “mature and high-quality trees” alongside the pathway
Transport for London and developers Taylor Wimpey have reduced significantly their original plans to redevelop land in and around High Barnet station with five-storey blocks of flats.

Plans have now been dropped for two of seven blocks of flats.

One of the proposed blocks that has been abandoned would have been built in the woodland facing Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School and another squeezed in between the tube station footpath and Barnet Hill.

In a joint statement, explaining why they have dropped their plans to build flats on the land closest to the junction of Meadway and Barnet Hill, TfL and Taylor Wimpey say they will now provide “a new widened and well-lit footpath” to the tube station and will work with ecologists to “improve the health of the mature and high quality trees” at the northern end of the site.

In another concession to widespread objections, the statement explains that the revised proposals will respect local wishes by “substantially reducing the height and scale” of the five other blocks of flats to be built on the tube station car park and storage and container yards, right up to the junction with Underhill.

The latest proposals will be presented at an exhibition in the tube station car park which will be held over three days in early November – see details below.

No reference is made in the statement to the original proposal to dramatically reduce the size of the tube station car park, leaving it with only 25 per cent of its current capacity.

But TfL and Taylor Wimpey repeat their promise to construct a new “community hub” near the station entrance that could provide “workspace, a café, and flexible spaces for hire and cycle facilities”.

The scaling back on the original proposals for seven blocks
to five follows a chorus of complaints

The scaling back on the original proposals for seven blocks of flats to five follows a chorus of complaints since publication of the redevelopment plans at a public consultation last June.

Throughout the summer local residents have co-ordinated their objections with leaflets being handed out and a petition organised by the Hands Off High Barnet campaign (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) which opposed the cutting down of mature trees and the damage to the High Barnet skyline.

In its submission to Transport for London, the Barnet Society said it agreed in principle to homes being built above stations, car parks and tracks.

Although the society opposed high rise development around the tube station, it did not object to high density development as long as it intruded as little as possible on views from nearby open spaces and the Green Belt.

The society was against the construction of any big buildings at the junction of Meadway and Barnet Hill: QE Girls’ should not be overlooked and the viability of any buildings close to the junction was questionable given the engineering costs involved alongside the two embankments.

Trees around the tube station – together with the trees on Barnet Hill and the Meadway open space – formed one of the “green gateways” that gave Barnet town centre its special identity.

Trees and greenery should be extended to the bottom of Barnet Hill as part of any redevelopment of the tube station site.

In their statement, TfL and Taylor Wimpey say they want their proposals to provide “great spaces to walk through and enjoy” and this will be achieved through landscaped areas and a new square outside the tube station.

In addition, plans are being explored for new pedestrian crossings outside the station, along Barnet Hill.

The latest plans will be on view at a public exhibition at High Barnet station, on Thursday 7 November (2pm to 8pm), Friday 8 November (2pm to 6pm) and Saturday 9 November (12pm to 4pm).

For more details see https://mailchi.mp/24e6983a5597/correction-high-barnet-newsletter-what-you-said-and-how-we-are-listening?e=69a8007661

  

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9 comments

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 22 October 2019 17:25 posted by Stone

    That's a good change. I have a feeling the plans will go through now.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 22 October 2019 18:51 posted by Joshua Yates

    It seems that there is no hope of TfL carrying forward the suggestion of having a bus or buses serving the station grounds then. Perhaps the 'new crossing on Barnet Hill' will also go along with re-locating the northbound bus stop further south nearer the access road, as per the 384 consultation that is still unresolved, or a new bus stop added there? It seems like bus access to and from the station is still very much an afterthought though.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 22 October 2019 20:48 posted by Elaine Davies

    Thank goodness the trees are safe ?

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 22 October 2019 20:49 posted by Desmond Michael

    Would have thought that they abandoned plans for these two bock not though concern for green spaces but due to the engineering issues building on an embankment

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 22 October 2019 20:49 posted by Jane Hoar

    Two down, five to go then.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 23 October 2019 00:41 posted by Nick Saul

    The promise to “substantially reducing the height and scale” of the proposal may be deemed to have been achieved by the two northern blocks being dropped and the remaining site being at a lower level. The six and eight storey high blocks on the lower section may well be retained. We shall see.

    The developers had already indicated they intended to increase the number of blocks on the lower section and also that they consider between 300 and 350 apartments as the minimum for the project to be economically viable. It seems unlikely this figure could be achieved unless the heights of the buildings could be maintained at between six and eight storeys and also unlikely that they would wish to build an estate with six or seven buildings of identical height. That implies the tallest buildings could still be eight storeys high. Again this remains to be seen.

    There is no room for significant trees and greenery between the buildings and the pavementless Great North Road. Even if there was it would have to be mighty high to reduce the impact of buildings the equivalent of between nine and ten shipping containers stacked in their present position – a wall of buildings up Barnet Hill from the railway bridge to past the junction with Station Approach.

    There is simply no space for the “great spaces to walk through and enjoy”. The new apartment blocks would have to be built in a horseshoe around the substantial and apparently immovable power transformer station which was deliberately sited in the middle of the complex away from habitable buildings.

    The exceedingly limited land not being built on would have to be used for access threading its way as between the apartment blocks and the power substation. There would not be “great spaces to walk through and enjoy” but an intimidating canyon between high rise buildings on one side and a razor wire security fence on the other.

    It has to be said the proposal to build at the northern end of the site stretched plausibility so much widespread suggestions it was a straw man are hard to refute. If so the intention would always have been to drop it to take heat out of objections to the scheme. Discussion in established residents groups always seems to have those both for and against such projects. This tactic can usually be guaranteed to leverage either neutrality or support for schemes which are objectively still deeply flawed well past the limit of acceptability. Yet again this remains to be seen.

    This would still be a budget high density high rise estate the experience of the last sixty years would indicate would be an horrific built environment for poor souls expected to live there.

    Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Lets keep an open but sceptical mind until we see the revised plans.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 23 October 2019 10:38 posted by Huw Pryce

    That doesn't sound like "all the trees between the Meadway and the access road to the station"
    Which is what I want to see protected.
    After that I'd like to know where people who drive into High Barnet tube and park there will park once this development starts?

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 23 October 2019 19:38 posted by Tony B

    Access to High Barnet station is already very difficult for anyone who is old, ill or disabled. I'm aware of people who prefer to get off at Totteridge and Whetstone and get the bus up - the disability access to platforms is a joke if you can't easily get to and from the station itself. Assuming we're not going to get an escalator, moving the bus stop on Barnet Hill is a poor second-best option.

    But what about vehicle access to the station? If the number of parking places is reduced, I'm guessing more and more people will be dropped off at the entrance, which is what happens already to a large number of elderly, ill and disabled people. Will the access road cope with the increased traffic?

  • Comment Link Saturday, 26 October 2019 10:35 posted by mark

    The station ticket hall should be re located to the Medway corner with escalators up and down to the platforms like a 20th century station let alone 21st century. With a bus layby off the high road passed the Medway to facilitate safer pedestrian access

    That would also give a lift to a very run down retail offering in the vicinity

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