Gaynor Bond and Kim Ambridge began organising their protest once they heard TfL was unveiling its proposals at a three-day public exhibition held on the station forecourt (June 13-15).
“Gaynor started posting messages about it straight away and I offered to help. Before we knew it, we were being inundated with promises of support,” said Ms Ambridge.
“What’s so encouraging is we are getting any number of firm pledges to help organise a campaign group.”
Residents who crowded into a hurriedly-arranged meeting in St Mark’s, Barnet Vale (17.6.2019), raised a range of objections including complaints about the sheer scale of the redevelopment; loss of 75 per cent of spaces in the station car park; lack of services in the area; and destruction of much-loved wooded areas around the station.
Volunteers lined up to give their names and addresses and the two founders of the group hope to establish an email account and Facebook page as they work out how best to object to TfL’s plans.
One resident warned that TfL would have a fight on its hand if it started cutting down trees in the woodland alongside Barnet Hill and into the Meadway.
“There are song thrushes in those woods. They are listed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as an endangered species and bird lovers will make sure TfL thinks again.”
Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, attended the meeting and vowed to do all she could to fight plans drawn up by TfL, at the request of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to build over car parks at both High Barnet and Cockfosters tube stations.
These were entirely the wrong locations for such schemes and the blocks of flats were far too dense for the surrounding neighbourhoods.
She criticised the Mayor and TfL for failing to acknowledge that these two suburban tube station car parks were heavily used because they served a much wider area than in central London.
“In all the years I have lived in Barnet and used the Northern Line, the station car park has always been heavily used, with very few free spaces at any time.
Robin Bishop, chair of the Barnet Society, voiced his support for the protest group and said the coming together of residents in this way provided an ideal opportunity for Barnet Council to show some leadership.
We know that Barnet Council has been working with TfL on these schemes at High Barnet and Cockfosters
“We know that Barnet Council has been working with TfL on these schemes at High Barnet and Cockfosters, and also a similar development at Finchley Central, for the last two years and we were promised that the Barnet local plan would go out for consultation in March.
“That plan still hasn’t been published and we are still waiting to hear what approach the Council intends to take towards housing developments at local tube and train stations.
“Our local plan should take precedence over the Mayor of London’s plans so that is all the more reason why the Council should be consulting with local groups and taking a position on issues like housing density, improved connections with bus services, and protection of green spaces.”
Mr Bishop said he had already asked for a full meeting with TfL’s development team and once the Society had considered the plans in detail, and gauged reaction, he hoped the Society would be able to publish a firm response by July at the latest.