A spirited plea to preserve one of High Barnet's prominent green spaces was heard at the opening day of a public inquiry into plans to build 152 houses and flats on the Whalebones fields and woodland.

An open day at the Grow Farm at Totteridge Academy in Barnet Lane was a chance to see the transformation of an empty field into a community farm where local school children are taught the practicalities of food cultivation and have an opportunity to build up agricultural skills.

On the eve of a critical public inquiry, Barnet Council has withdrawn its main objection to plans to build 152 homes on fields and woods in the Whalebones estate, Wood Street, Barnet.

After missing out last year, members of the Barnet Classic Car Club are raring to go -- ready to parade up Barnet Hill and along the High Street to the annual vintage and classic car show which has grown from strength to strength in recent years.

After months of agonising uncertainty, Barnet Medieval Festival is definitely going ahead for a re-scheduled weekend of events and attractions on Saturday and Sunday 11-12 September at the Byng Road playing fields.

Gary Murphy, High Barnet's most celebrated licensee of recent times, has given up his lease after having spent the last 13 years establishing The Mitre as a public house recognised across North London for its real ales and craft beers.

On Tuesday 13 July, the Barnet Society held its first Open Meeting on topical local issues via Zoom. Around 50 members of the Society and general public participated. This is what we discussed.

Simon Smith who spent the last 16 years managing over 60 of High Barnet's historic almshouses has taken early retirement from his role as clerk to the trustees of the Jesus Hospital Charity.

After the success of the inaugural season of concerts arranged by the High Barnet Chamber Music Festival plans are already being drawn up for a repeat event next year.

Four high-rise blocks of flats proposed for Cockfosters Station car park would have such a grave impact on the local landscape, the Save Cockfosters from Tower Blocks campaign is hoping to enlist support from residents in Barnet and the rest of the surrounding area.

Swifts which migrate to High Barnet for the summer months have lost one of their greatest admirers and staunchest guardians: Tim Friend who encouraged fellow householders to follow his example by installing swift nesting boxes has died at the age of 71.

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Recent passers-by will have noticed, a beautifully calligraphed poem in the window – and a definite lack of presents through the window of the much-loved shop “The Present” at the Hadley end of the High Street.

Chipping Barnet is a great base for some glorious countryside walks, and the best are described in Rambles Round Barnet – two volumes published by the Barnet Society. The good news is that Volume I has just been reprinted in a limited edition. The bad news is that some of the walks are threatened by development, so walk them while you can.

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The Barnet Society’s AGM on 1st July gave me the opportunity to highlight the range of work we have done in the past, and continue to do, to enhance Barnet’s green environment.

A 1960s self-built house, described by the Barnet Society as being "uncompromisingly modern" for its period, was used for shooting scenes for a six-part thriller Ragdoll from the producers of Killing Eve.

Another chapter has closed in the history of a much-admired art deco building in Barnet High Street, the former Montague Burton menswear shop, that has been used most recently as a dance studio.

Probably the oldest transport cafe in Barnet - the Hole in the Wall on the Great North Road - has ceased trading, a victim of the difficulties which lockdown has imposed on the catering trade.

Barnet Council's highways department is preparing a new set of policies for the future safeguarding and maintenance of historic structures such as horse troughs and street signs.

A warehouse on the Queen's Road industrial estate off Wood Street, High Barnet, is being converted into a temporary studio for filming scenes for a new six-part television thriller Ragdoll from the producers of Killing Eve.

Developers seeking to build 554 homes on the former gas works site in New Barnet have released new images to show how the height and density of the proposed tower blocks has been reduced in a fresh attempt to gain planning approval.

A rubberised footpath around the perimeter of the Byng Road Nature Reserve will finally allow wheelchair users and people with disabilities and limited mobility the chance to visit a highly popular natural trail.

Evidence of a fresh sewage spill in Dollis Brook was an unexpected - and unpleasant - find when the DollisBrookers carried out their first litter pick along Barnet's Dollis Valley Greenwalk.

A Barnet charity that advises and assists cancer patients - and which is celebrating its 25th anniversary - hopes the gradual easing of lockdown will speed up the resumption of its support services and especially its fund raising activities.

Hill Residential Ltd and the Trustees of the Gwyneth Cowing estate, whose planning application for 152 homes on the Whalebones fields was refused last November, have appealed against Barnet Council’s decision. Their case will be heard at a 5-day public inquiry starting on 31 August. It is a major test of Barnet's planning policies on green spaces and Conservation Areas.

Nearby residents and pillar box enthusiasts are urging the Royal Mail to replace one of High Barnet's historic post boxes which was demolished during a car crash at the junction of Manor Road and Wood Street.

Objectors to the building of 152 new homes on the Whalebones farmland in Wood Street, Barnet, are rallying opposition ahead of a public inquiry in the autumn.

Fly tipping of garden rubbish and even builders' rubble has become a worrying problem along the edges of Monken Hadley Common - and the worst offenders are a few of the owners of the priciest properties in roads such as Parkgate Crescent, off Camlet Way, and Fairgreen, off the Cockfosters Road.

Albert Bone who in 1959 opened the first fruit and vegetable stall at what was then Barnet cattle market has died at the age of 95.

Keen photographers in the Borough of Barnet are being invited to submit entries to a European photographic competition which is being organised by Barnet's twin town Le Raincy, a suburb of Paris.

Dollis Valley Greenwalk, one of Barnet's precious green open spaces, is about to get some extra care and attention from volunteers anxious to enhance its biodiversity and ensure its future wellbeing.

Protecting the historic townscape around Barnet parish church, Hadley Green and Monken Hadley requires the constant monitoring of planning applications - a task that is becoming no easier thanks to cuts made by Barnet Council.

A star baker from Channel 4 did a roaring trade selling home-made cakes and pastries at New Barnet's first zero-waste market.

Dorina Cardosi, a welcoming face for so many years behind the counter at Dory's cafe, Barnet, has died at the age of 86.

A Help for Heroes fundraiser which hopes to attract the support of local cyclists is being organised by Andy Perrin, a wounded Army veteran who lives off Mays Lane Barnet.

A property development company specialising in office-to-residential conversions has bought the Spires shopping centre and its five-acre site between Barnet High Street and Stapylton Road for £28 million.

Barnet Council has given the go ahead for the forecourts of four businesses in Leicester Road, New Barnet, to become the site of a ground-breaking zero waste market selling produce assembled and made from surplus food, flowers, and other recycled materials.

A hunt is on for women, children and former staff who might be able to unlock memories of one of the less publicised roles of 33 Lyonsdown Road, New Barnet, the listed Victorian villa that is under the threat of demolition.

Violinist Charlie Lovell-Jones who is to perform at the opening concert of the inaugural High Barnet Chamber Music Festival in July visited the parish church to familiarise himself with the setting and acoustics.

Electric go-karts and a bouncy castle were just two of the attractions at a free fun evening to attract new recruits to the 1st Barnet Boys' Brigade and Girls' Association.

New Barnet's distinctive - but badly discoloured - war memorial is one of six within the borough which is to be cleaned and restored by Barnet Council.

After having missed out for so long on the thrill of attending live performances a treat is in store with the return this summer of five open-air shows by Theatre in the Park at Oakhill Park, East Barnet.

The future of 33 Lyonsdown Road New Barnet hangs in the balance as the last the property guardians have left the villa. This locally listed building has been threatened with demolition by its owners, Abbeytown Ltd, who unsuccessfully applied to build a five-storey block of flats on the site.

Community action to clean and oil the extra long bench in Church Passage has spurred Barnet Council to act: its street scene department has carried out a power wash of a section of the paving to remove grease and grime left by accumulated food stains.

Celebrations to mark this year's 550th anniversary of the Battle of Barnet will gain added impetus next month with the release by the Royal Mail of eight commemorative stamps illustrating scenes from the Wars of the Roses.

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The  Spring edition of the Barnet Society newsletter is now available to non-members.

 Distributed in paper form by a team of volunteers to all our members, it's a vital insight into life in and around Chipping Barnet. It is also a wealth of interesting and thoughtful local content.

As a society, there's lots of work to do that we try to fit in alongside our jobs, and other interests. We are keen to encourage new generations to join us; making sure we best represent the people who live in our area of

...

April is the most important month in the history of High Barnet station -- the first steam train pulled out on 1 April 1872 and the first tube train left for Charing Cross on 14 April 1940 after the much-delayed extension of Northern Line electrification. 

A memorial service at Hadley Highstone marked the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Barnet -- starting a year of commemorative events which all being well will include a return in September of the highly successful Barnet Medieval Festival.

A band of volunteers spent the afternoon scrubbing down High Barnet's most popular street art fixture -- the long teak bench that extends for much of the length of Church Passage and provides a welcome resting place for one and all.

Land Registry documents hold the answer to at least some of the mystery surrounding the ownership and future of High Barnet's vacant market site: the land is now owned by Aberdeen City Council which purchased the site for £4 million in April 2019.

Barnet High Street is once again resplendent with heraldic banners from the Wars of the Roses -- just one of the many ways in which the local community will be celebrating this year's 550th anniversary of the Battle of Barnet.

Developers preparing revised proposals for tower blocks of flats on the former gas works site in New Barnet say they have "learned lessons" from their previous failure to get planning approval.

Resident guardians who are having to leave a Victorian mansion in New Barnet that has been their home for the last five years fear for the safety of the building while a planning dispute drags on.

Critical questions about the future of the town centre will have to be addressed by Barnet Council if plans go ahead to replace much of the Spires with blocks of flats.

A socially distanced service, the chiming of the parish church bell and a minute's silence marked the centenary of Chipping Barnet war memorial.

The Spires shopping centre in Barnet High Street is up for sale for £25 million and the agents are promoting the option of a new owner possibly replacing some of the shops with several five-storey blocks of flats.

After being roundly refused planning permission last year and failing to get the support of the Mayor of London, developers are again inviting residents to offer ideas and opinions on fresh proposals for a massive housing scheme on the New Barnet gas works site.

Winning a national award is another accolade for Barnet calligrapher Gwyneth Hibbett whose skills are on display on five historic information boards which have been installed in the High Street by Barnet Museum.

After a High Court ruling that College Farm, Finchley, should remain an agricultural tenancy, a fresh campaign has been launched to see if the farm can be re-stocked and re-opened to the public.

Barnet Council is under renewed pressure to carry out a full survey of repairs required to restore the dis-used Tudor Park cricket pavilion in New Barnet.

A report into the four-year project to discover the site of the 1471 Battle of Barnet explains why a team of military historians still cannot provide answers to the mystery surrounding the precise location of an epic confrontation during the Wars of the Roses.

The Bull Players' performance of Fog of War -- their contribution to the commemorations to mark the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Barnet -- is to be staged in mid-September in the historic setting of the garden of Monken Hadley church.

A commemorative booklet has been published by Barnet Museum and Local History Society to mark the 100th anniversary of the erection of the Chipping Barnet war memorial. 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has decided not to overrule Barnet Council in the dispute over plans to redevelop the Whalebones fields and woodland with the construction of 152 new homes.

Cleaning and repairs to Hadley Highstone herald the start of what promises to be a year of events to mark the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Barnet which will include the return in September of the Barnet Medieval Festival.

Gladsmuir pond, a much-loved feature of Monken Hadley Common, is being recolonised by smooth and great crested newts which are returning following their winter hibernation in the nearby woods and grassland. 

Contractors laying a new water main across Monken Hadley Common have started the most delicate part of the work -- constructing a 17-metre long tunnel under the historic arched gateway along the footpath that leads to King George's Field.

Music lovers are in for a post-pandemic treat: plans are well advanced for a series of concerts at Barnet parish church in early July aimed to take advantage of a possible easing of lockdown.

Research by a local historian provides a fascinating insight into the occupations and everyday life over a century ago among the several hundred families who lived in a respectable working-class enclave close to Barnet town centre.

Our teenagers and young adults could be among the greatest casualties of Covid-19. The Plan must offer them something, whether work experience or youth-focused leisure attractions.

 

PVC plastic advertising signs hung from lampposts -- including possibly along the full length of Barnet High Street -- might become a new way of generating income for Barnet Council.

The town centre must become more child-friendly. Only if families have reasons to come here that appeal to their children, not just to parents’ need to work or shop, will it become important in their lives.

Barnet Council's Planning Committee A has agreed unanimously to reject an application to demolish 33 Lyonsdown Road in New Barnet and to replace it with a block of 20 flats.

Something Green

Barnet has precious green open spaces, mature woodlands, streams and wetlands. Last year brought home what we stand to lose with climate change and bad building development. Surely this is the moment to invest in green initiatives.

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One of New Barnet’s earliest buildings is facing the threat of demolition despite having been placed on Barnet Council’s Local Heritage List only last year. We urge the Council to reject the planning application and protect it for future generations.

Something Old

Barnet’s identity is founded on its distinctive history and building heritage. We must do something to draw the attention of more residents and potential visitors and investors to our existing assets.

Something New

NEW – What an amazing and exciting word, full of hope and invigoration, isn’t that exactly just what we all need right now! NEW investment, NEWly recreated, NEW experience.

The Council is consulting on a Community Plan to help regenerate the High Street area. This is your chance to have a say. The Barnet Society offers some guidance.

Bringing to life the daily toll of women working in a medieval kitchen is at the heart of a new play that depicts mounting tension as local inhabitants readied themselves for the 1471 Battle of Barnet.

Winter tree planting is in full swing in Barnet's green spaces and in the surroudning green belt. A new hawthorn hedge has been extended on Barnet Hill.To the north-east of Trent Park, 50,000 young trees are being planted to help restore Enfield Chase. Across the borough, Barnet Council has planted over 700 trees during the last 12 months on roadside pavements and verges.

Barnet Council’s environment committee is examining the feasibility of using small parks and green spaces across the Borough of Barnet as possible sites for installing solar panels or electricity storage units for renewable energy.

News of the plan – which could result in reduced public access -- has met with an angry response from residents and conservationists.

Champions of Barnet's history, heritage and culture are determined to ensure that town does all it can -- despite covid.19 restrictions -- to commemorate the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Barnet.

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People walking across the Shire London golf course during lockdown are being urged to act responsibly after repeated reports of swans and geese being harassed by dogs running off the lead.

community plan

The Plan is out for online public consultation until 19 February. You’re invited to comment on the key principles of the plan, and to choose five project ideas for further development.

Barnet census

Family historians keen to research the lives of people living in Barnet in the 1920s have only twelve months to wait before the release of the much-anticipated 1921 census and its wealth of information about life in the aftermath of the First World War.

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Just as the New Year lockdown was announced, the proprietors of High Barnet's newest brasserie, Botannika, went ahead with their planned opening -- offering a take-away menu and a range of bread and cakes.

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In 2020 the Barnet Society celebrated 75 years since its foundation. But our founders would be shocked at how their neighbourhood has altered.