Thursday, 07 November 2019 19:36

Scaled back plans for Barnet station development

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The station square and community hub and new convenience store in the block of flats to be built alongside the existing approach road The station square and community hub and new convenience store in the block of flats to be built alongside the existing approach road
Mature trees are to be kept and the multi-storey blocks of flats to be built around High Barnet tube station have been reduced in height, but there is still to be a drastic reduction in the number of car parking spaces.

Revised plans for the redevelopment of the station site were unveiled by Transport for London and developers Taylor Wimpey at an exhibition in the station car park (that continues until Saturday 9 November).

In response to objections made after a consultation in June, the proposed development has been scaled back and plans for multi-storey blocks of flats fronting on to the junction of Barnet Hill and Meadway have been abandoned.

The latest plan proposes:

  • Construction of up to 300 new homes, instead of up to 450 as previously proposed.
  • Six blocks of flats instead of eight, and their height would be reduced to six to seven storeys high instead of ten to twelve.
  • The existing 159 car parking spaces would be reduced to 32. This would comprise five drop-off spaces and 27 spaces for long term parking of which six would be for blue badge users.
  • The existing approach road would continue to provide access for vehicles but would become one way and continue through the development, exiting on Barnet Hill, nearer Underhill.
  • The incline of the footpath beside the approach road would be reduced so that it was “wheelchair compatible” and the bus stop near the top of Barnet Hill would be moved 85 metres nearer the pedestrian crossing.
  • Instead of a block of flats on either side of the pedestrian footpath leading to the station from the junction of Barnet Hill and Meadway there would be an improved walkway. 100 trees would be planted, in addition to the existing 200 mature trees.
  • There would be a new “square and community hub” in front of the station which would offer a flexible workspace-café with fast broadband. The block of flats nearest to the station would include a convenience store.

The revised plan re-affirms that 40 per cent of the new homes would affordable – “affordable rent” and “shared ownership” homes. Just over half the homes would be family homes – two bed and four person and three bed and five person homes.

In justifying the cut in parking space, TFL says this will reduce the number of vehicle trips to the station by 68,000 a year – reducing “noise, congestion and emissions, and improve air quality”.

To prevent commuters parking in streets near the station, TFL is to consult Barnet Council on the introduction of CPZ controls to roads around Underhill, Meadway, Potters Close, Leicester Road and Station Road.

To encourage cycling, 50 covered spaces will be provided for cyclists.

No one has had the courtesy to tell us how the future of our business might be affected, but we have been on the station yard site since 1990 and employ 100 workers locally

Altogether, the development will provide over two acres of green and landscaped space and new habitat boxes will be installed for birds and bats.

TFL insists the redevelopment will have economic benefits. The proposed community hub and convenience store would support 18 jobs.

An aerial view of the developmentAn aerial view of the development

During construction, over 200 people would be employed on the site and TFL and Taylor Wimpey undertake to provide up to ten apprenticeship opportunities and between 15 and 20 local jobs.

Among the residents and business people attending the exhibition was David Eaves, managing director of JDC Scaffolding, one of the companies that will be displaced if construction goes ahead in the land currently occupied by storage and container yards.

Mr Eaves complained that TFL had failed to make contact with the company and explain how their lease might be affected.

“We just picked up the news of this exhibition. No one has had the courtesy to tell us how the future of our business might be affected, but we have been on the station yard site since 1990 and employ 100 workers locally.”

Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, has repeated her opposition to the proposed development.

“The changes made by TFL don’t go nearly far enough to alleviate concerns of local residents. This still means almost no parking space at the station and the same high-density housing at the southern end of the site, which would threaten the suburban character of Barnet and see residential streets even more choked with parked cars.”

  

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14 comments

  • Comment Link Friday, 08 November 2019 12:01 posted by Stan

    Well, I must admit the first picture looks great (especially compared to the current state). The lack of parking is still an issue, but I don't understand why some form of an undergroud parking for commuters is not possible?

  • Comment Link Friday, 08 November 2019 12:38 posted by Lorna Farthing

    Where has the staff parking gone? Will they be part of the "27 spaces"

  • Comment Link Friday, 08 November 2019 15:39 posted by Julie Hogg

    This entire plan does not take into account the needs of those that are unable to walk distances or hills (to the bus stop) and those that live in more rural areas and use the tube from High Barnet to get to work. The station car park is full every morning by 8am. The main roads leading out of Barnet such as St Albans Road (ie the only ones that don't have parking restrictions) are now heavily parked for miles as a result. Unfortunately these roads were not made with this intention and the parking is a danger. Only the other day I was forced to drive partly on the wrong side of the road to get past a mile long of parked cars when a lorry was hurtling towards me with nowhere to pull in. It's only a matter of time before a major accident. It is madness for the Council and Highways to add more parking restrictions as this is not the answer. The problem will just move elsewhere. Multi story parking for both the station and Barnet hospital is what is needed.

    The lack of parking is a major issue and particularly effects the vulnerable and disadvantaged.

  • Comment Link Saturday, 09 November 2019 17:47 posted by David

    Looks good to me. The tube station area is well overdue modernisation.

  • Comment Link Monday, 11 November 2019 10:31 posted by Roger Lobo

    Its better than how it looked before some key problems remain, car parking spaces, overload on existing schools and gp services and the fact that there will be 900 additional people in an area which is crowded and is meant/ known for families. I visited the consultation and they only response I got to the above concern is that the council should be looking at it since the builders give them tax whenever they build new development. Also, 40% homes are affordable and 60% will be private with no guarantees that it wont be used up for BTL.
    There are positives for having the new development but I will not support it if they cannot build new infrastructure to support potential 900 people.

  • Comment Link Monday, 11 November 2019 15:34 posted by Steve Catchpole

    The scaling back is welcome news but even 6 blocks give a fortress- like look to the High Barnet approach and this does not sit well with the other side of the main road. Also concerned that the buildings appear to lack character.

    Drop-off & pick-up area needs to be bigger than the current dangerously constricted and congested one we have at present.
    Seems absurd to curtail commuter car parking , especiaĺly at a Tfl terminus.
    What are commuters supposed to do when there is no place to park?
    Overall , not impressed.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 12 November 2019 11:54 posted by Local resident

    The new drawings look quite good and I'm all for pedestrianising the area.

    Unless you are disabled or physically unable, then walk to the station. There are far too many cars clogging the roads and too many of them are taking unnecessary journeys that could easily be undertaken on foot, not to mention the pollution they cause.

    I walk around 1.5 miles to get to the station every morning, past long queues of crawling traffic, all emitting dirty exhaust fumes into the air.

    I applaud the shift away from car culture.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 13 November 2019 22:08 posted by rob

    Looks great, i am in favour. We need more housing in London and this is one of the ways to solve it.

    I agree with the poster above poster that people would be better off walking, using public transport or cycling to the station - the road next to the station up to the town center and wood st is plenty wide enough to have a protected bike lane to encourage this

  • Comment Link Friday, 15 November 2019 10:04 posted by Calvert

    Am I missing something! some residents of these flats will have cars, where do they park?

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 19 November 2019 11:35 posted by Mark

    Rob. I expect that those that can walk or cycle already do. Those that live too far away drive in.

    I’m no fan of the plans. Putting people in their battery hen cages right next to the hamster wheel, as it were.

    Invest in industry outside of London, not putting people on top of people in the already overcrowded trains and hospitals of London.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 20 November 2019 13:31 posted by Nick Saul

    Surely just yet more doomed–to–fail low cost, high rise housing? Surely the huge numbers of such buildings springing up everywhere will soon be a national scandal and tragedy as they were decades ago? These structures are never safe and the high expenditure to maintain them and the living standards of their residents in perpetuity is simply unaffordable.

    The fire in student accommodation in Bolton this month will be blamed on badly designed insulation as will be another that destroyed a nearly new affordable housing block on the Hamptons Estate in south London in September. The common factor in all the fires and structural failures in similar housing is that buildings built tall and cheaply will almost inevitably have potentially lethal flaws in their construction, use and maintenance. In mixed estates it always the homes with the lowest cost and rent that have the lowest maintenance and the worst problems.

    There are 60,000 people in the UK living in homes with the same issues as Grenfell Tower. Some of these buildings will be stripped of their insulation and then be demolished in the near future. Some will have new cladding installed which, in untested theory, removes the risk.

    There are 1,600 buildings still standing with the structural problems of Ronan Point which partially collapsed spectacularly in 1968. All of these buildings are high rise and 200 are tower blocks over 20 storeys. Unbelievably some were built since that date, the rest stand with the addition of strange brackets and struts and, above all, wishful thinking.

    With the High Barnet proposals I can predict at least some of the possible issues.

    Firstly structural failure from inadequate pile foundations under an off–the–peg building system failing to resist lateral movement due to challenging ground conditions.

    Secondly poorly designed and executed fire proofing. Perhaps in the insulation of the shell of the buildings, and/or more likely inadequate fire and smoke proofing of access for people and utilities from apartments to the inside of structures.

    Thirdly inadequate provision of emergency egress with only one stairwell currently proposed for each building and inadequate design, maintenance and use of smoke and fire resistant doors across access corridors.

    In the real world off an architect’s computer screen hese issues are unavoidable except perhaps the number of stairwells.

    These are just the safety issues. The threshold for the built environment in low cost high rise housing is incredible low. Apartments, rooms, windows and communal spaces both inside and outside are as small as envisaged that can be rented to the desperate. Each block as shown at the revised consultation had one lift. Any breakdown or even regular service sees people struggling with shopping and children up six or seven flights of stairs. This would not be a good place to live from day one. It would get worse rapidly.

    Perhaps the most striking thing I recall from visiting such buildings decades ago, first as a young engineer and then journalist, was the combination of poor construction imposing horrendous living conditions on residents and seemingly a lack of means or will from the property’s administrators to do anything effective about them. Even the basic snagging expected in any new building never really happened.

    As the years go by people living in apartments become part of families trapped and trying to survive in the same tiny homes as the estates disintegrate around them. Every attempt at improvement entails more holes in the already flimsy fabric of the buildings. Meanwhile in the absence of parking these residents will be cut off from friends, family and carers unless they happen to live on the Northern Line or one of the haphazardly routed local buses.

    30 years ago we wouldn’t be having this conversation, the problems of such buildings were emblazoned on the front pages of local newspapers and on bad days as tragedies related in national media. The predecessors of councillors and GLA members who are now saying we have to build tall apartment blocks would be marvelling at the shortness of political and public memory.

  • Comment Link Monday, 02 December 2019 22:38 posted by Ben Basson

    Good to see the plans revised based on feedback, they look better than the original proposal, and the plan to build 7 storey blocks is far more sensible than taller buildings.

    I'm not particular for or against the proposals, but I can definitely see the retail units towards the station benefiting from larger footfall, and the creation of more shops and open spaces in that area would be beneficial to local residents in the surrounding roads.

    With regards to the arguments against this development, I'm sure many have merit, but I'm generally wary about arguments centred around parking - they're normally arguments brought forward by people who drive everywhere and think everyone else does the same.

    Someone buying one of these flats would be going into the purchase with the full knowledge that there's no parking. That's the reality of many areas of London. And when you're next to the high street, tube station and bus routes, it could be easily argued that you don't need one. Millions of Londoners manage without.

    As for people who drive in and park up in the station for an onward commute, well I'm sure that's a thing people do, but realistically, based on current car park size, only about 150 people can do that every day. Over 7000 other people manage to find a way to get there every day without a car.

    As an alternative to station parking, I would welcome the building of a car park somewhere further out to facilitate a park and ride scheme to the tube station. The parking would almost certainly be much cheaper, and we'd get more traffic off of the clogged main road during peak travel times.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 03 December 2019 14:13 posted by Nick Saul

    Well reasoned arguments from Ben, thank you, but there are bigger issues remaining with this project in general and the loss of the carpark which is far more than an obsession for existing local residents..

    The site is covered with deep man made earth platforms, ramps and embankments overlaying each other and more complex than I have ever seen short of prehistoric monuments, the earthworks of which all appear to be better built. The construction challenges appear well beyond effective solutions the developers can likely afford and certainly beyond what they would be prepared to spend.

    Apart from more expensive artwork I can see little improvement in the aesthetics. The buildings at top of the hill were always a red herring and the reduction in height from a maximum of 8 storeys (bizarrely now claimed to have 12) to 7 recognises anything higher would have been expected to run foul of various planning policies and guidelines.

    The built environment for people people living on the site squeezed between the busy rail lines and road will still be very poor. As I have repeatedly pointed out the plans have all hallmarks of the worst and quite frankly dangerous failed budget high rise estates of decades ago. To these are added windows, rooms, apartments and communal spaces such as corridors and lobbies that are far far smaller than anyone would have considered building just a few years ago.

    However somehow high rise now appears to be the go to solution for high volume budget housing. This will undoubtably be a significant national scandal in years to come.

    The blocks as drawn now to cram in the nearly 300 apartments have only a single stairwell and lift each. The single stairwell is likely to be banned under anticipated revised fire regulations and may breach existing regulations for the taller blocks and that with a ground floor shop. A single lift is surely unacceptable in case of breakdown or even routine service taking it out of operation.

    The access remains exceedingly poor, the pathway up to the town will still be as steep and proposals to reduce the gradient of Station Approach seem geometrically impossible. All access apart from the northern path will emerge halfway up the hill mostly after a circuitous term around the estate and have conflicts for both vehicles and pedestrians crossing the Great North Road.

    Pedestrian crossings, a maximum of two, will have to be light controlled reducing traffic flow and increasing congestion and pollution on the road while the number of vehicles entering and leaving the site will increase drastically with tradespeople and deliveries. Any pedestrian bridge accessing the island site has been ruled out due to cost. An escalator up to the town would be even more expensive and its operation unfundable.

    Station users from High and New Barnet alike still face steep climbs to access buses let alone complete their journeys on foot. Even the bus option gets particularly intimidating for those travelling alone later at night, even before considering less frequent services.

    There is simply no effective mitigation of the appalling access to the site in the revised proposals.

    As for residents not expecting to be able to park on or near the proposed estate that is not the experience of similar new housing designed as car free. They either park illegally on site whenever they can get away with it and swamp surrounding areas with or without parking permits that somehow still seem available. The car park was also earmarked for a hub for future integrated transport projects which will now be impossible. Central London is also a very different proposition for everybody living without access to a car, in many places significant streets having a Tube station at each end and another in the middle.

    The trope of the car park just being a facility for wealthy out of town commuters is a gross distortion as a the vehicles parked there at any time shows clearly. Around half the users during the day are local people making infrequent but urgent visits to central London where set time appointments mean it is impossible to plan a one off journey using several buses and tube connections. Later in the day and evening the car park makes similar one off journeys to cultural events in London, cultural life for which the Night Tube was created.

    There are studies promising that closing park and ride facilities reduces traffic. All appear just to expound theory and none have significant survey data whatsoever. People will either drive into London, move into London increasing pressure on the capitals housing or indeed have family or friends drop them off at the station, doubling their impact on local traffic.

    Very few people who use the car park have the luxury of the extra time to complete their journey by bus. This is not just about the duration of the journey, although no one wants a three hour return trek from Barnet to central London. It is even more critical to be able to complete it at a necessary predetermined time.

    It is exceedingly significant TFL have said they will not operate bus services to the station itself and their operations people have indicated if they were forced to do so they would expect their drivers to frequently bypass it to maintain schedules. The gob-smackingly obvious greatest need for public transport for High Barnet is a bus service from the Station building linking the church, hospital and shopping centre. There is simply no joined up thinking, there will not be any. I note the current TFL advertising campaign on London buses highlights all the new vehicle charging points installed at station carparks...

    I must say I had been thinking of something more like the recent prize winning council estate in Norwich ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-49970607 ) built on light raft foundations with new retaining walls where necessary and limited to the existing commercial storage yard. It has to be said even that land supports a large number of local jobs, each container serving a separate business and the scaffolding yard ironically being a key strategic resource for the house building industry.

    The project as it is surely deeply flawed, quite possibly uneconomic to build and probably not a starting place for something that should be acceptable to anyone.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 03 December 2019 18:15 posted by Dennis Bird

    Barnet Society Committee please read and digest the comments from Nick Saul re proposed station development.You should oppose this hook line and sinker and you are betraying the town of Barnet if you do not.
    Now one year on re hotel on the old market site supposed to revitalise the High Street...Is it going to be built or is it just an item on a multi nationals balance sheet ?Why on earth did you support this and are you again about to be suckered by money men who care absolutely nothing but the bottom line

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