Chipping Barnet is surrounded on three sides by Green Belt – virtually unspoiled open countryside from Hadley Wood in the east to Whitings Hill in the west and south along the valley of the Dollis Brook. Together with substantial areas of Metropolitan Open Land (such as Tudor Park), surviving farmland (such as the Whalebones estate), several attractive parks and many street trees, we are lucky to have so much greenery. It helps give our area its special identity.
For our spring public forum, the Barnet Society has arranged for an expert panel to answer questions of local interest on key issues such as the future of education and training, prospects for local employment, plans for new housing and future safeguards for the Green Belt.
Hertsmere Council is consulting on the possibility of building up to 2,620 new homes plus new places of work between Wrotham Park and Potters Bar, westwards as far as South Mimms and eastwards beyond M25 junction 24. This would have a huge impact on our Green Belt.
The Barnet Society welcomes the Council’s intention to restore Barnet & King George V Playing Fields, and to widen public access by providing a café with toilet facilities and play areas for children and their parents or carers. However, we currently consider that the development suggested in the master plan would be too intrusive and requires a re-think.
Building houses on the fields around Whalebones, between Wood Street and Barnet Hospital, has possibly moved a step closer following an agreement between the landowners and a leading housebuilder, Hill, of Waltham Abbey, Essex.
There has been another indication of the growing commercial interest in, and rising value of Barnet’s Green Belt land – just as Arkley residents step up their campaign against local farmland being developed as a natural burial site.
Local residents, bird watchers and nature lovers are joining forces to step up their campaign against plans to develop a natural burial ground on farmland at Arkley bounded by Barnet Road, Barnet Gate Lane and Mays Lane.
A 50-acre green space, open to the public from dawn to dusk, would be one of the suggested benefits of the proposal to establish a natural burial ground on farmland behind Barnet Road and Barnet Gate Lane, Arkley.
An environmentally-friendly natural burial ground might be developed on farmland backing on to Barnet Gate Lane, Arkley, and Mays Lane, if there is local support, and planning permission can be obtained.
Green Belt surrounds Chipping Barnet on three sides, and the Barnet Society was founded in 1945 to protect it. As London grows, we believe it – and the natural landscape adjoining it – is likely to be even more appreciated. But while the Society’s default setting is to oppose any development on or next to it, we won’t carry weight if we blindly oppose any change; and if a proposal meets the highest design and sustainability standards, we welcome it.
Barnet has probably more to thank the politicians and planners of the 1930s and 1940s for than any other town in north London. With protected Green Belt land on three sides, the High Barnet of today is blessed with some unrivalled countryside on our door-step.