Sunday, 27 February 2011 00:00

Barnet Market

Written by Nick Jones
Cattle auction at the Barnet Market site c. 1906 Cattle auction at the Barnet Market site c. 1906 Reproduced from 800 years of Barnet Market
Planning applications have been made for the Barnet Market site - one for improvements to the site for market use and the other for use as a car park on non-market days.  The scandalously-neglected site will be due for a new surface, storage and welfare facilities for stallholders.

This is long, long overdue and we are delighted that the new owners (who also own the adjacent Spires Shopping Centre) are planning to make these improvements shortly.

The Barnet Society has been campaigning with Friends of Barnet Market on behalf of the market for a long time and we await progress on the above with interest.  Once completed, we can encourage the many traders who have expressed an interest in having a stall in this historic market to take one and get it up and running again as the heart and soul of our town centre.

Barnet Market was granted its first Royal Charter in August 1199 – one of the earliest recorded.

The town of Chipping Barnet grew up around the market, providing it with accommodation, food and drink.  The word 'Chipping' denotes the presence of a market.

Originally located to the east of St John the Baptist Church at the top of Barnet Hill, the market moved to its present location in 1874.  The last livestock auction took place in 1959.

Since then it has operated as a general stalls market, providing a mix of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, flowers, second-hand books, musical instruments, clothing, haberdashery etc.

The Market is a shadow of its former self.

In 1999, 800 years after it began, the last auctioneer sold the market site to a local developer, who made an application for its redevelopment in 2001.  Planning permission was granted in 2002 for 9 flats above covered market space at ground level.

This was followed by a second application and planning permission in 2005 for covered market space with 14 flats above and underground parking.  At the beginning of 2008, the owners moved the market off its site to the Stapylton Road car park for 18 months so that development could be carried out.

Market noticeAs a result, a number of well-established stalls were lost and the market was reduced to approximately half its original size. However, only demolition of the old cattle sheds took place as the owners claimed they were unable to obtain the finance required to build the development.

Eventually the remaining market stalls were moved back to a ruined site, without proper services and with an unsuitable surface in November 2009. 

Since then, many new stalls have been discouraged from setting up and the number of customers has dwindled.  The Market is a shadow of its former self.

The 2005 planning permission expired in November 2009.

The owners applied for an extension which, after a long delay awaiting supporting material, was eventually approved, despite strong objections from The Barnet Society, Friends of Barnet Market and Chipping Barnet MP, Theresa Villiers.

The Barnet Society considered the proposed development would not provide the type of market facility that Chipping Barnet needs and deserves.

The most effective way of saving our historic Market is to use it! Please visit on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 

For more information, see FoBM’s website:

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