Friday, 28 April 2017 19:17

Will jobs go for flats?

Written by
Paola Sachia opened his carpentry and joinery workshop at Meadow Works six years ago    Paola Sachia opened his carpentry and joinery workshop at Meadow Works six years ago
Up to forty jobs might be lost if planning permission is approved for the construction of two blocks of flats on the site of car repair workshops and other light-industrial premises at Meadow Works, midway between High Barnet and Whetstone.

Meadow Works is tucked away, just off the A1000, behind a row of commercial premises opposite Greenhill Gardens, a few hundred yards south of the Everyman cinema.

One of the local landmarks that would disappear in the redevelopment is the Hole in the Wall café, which has been trading there for the last 83 years, and which is a well-known pit stop for lorry drivers and motorists heading out of London.

Meadow Works buildingWhen told that an application had been submitted to Barnet Council to demolish all the existing premises on the 1.2-acre site and replace them with two blocks containing a total of 78 self-contained flats, several tenants of the 25 units on the site said they had been fearing the worst.

As well as car repairers, the Meadow Works complex houses a variety of other workshops occupied by numerous trades including carpenters and joiners, stair manufacturers, piano restorer, tailor and builder’s merchant.

The likely loss of another group of light-industrial workshops reflects the demand from developers seeking to purchase sites for new houses and flats in and around High Barnet.

Over 30 workers lost their jobs last year when 16 small businesses were displaced at Brake Shear House, behind Barnet High Street, after planning approval was given for the construction of 32 flats and eight town houses.

The Barnet Society, Love Barnet and the Barnet Town Team have all urged Barnet Council to do more to limit the loss of light-industrial jobs and to provide replacement workspace and premises for start-up businesses.   

One of the car repairers on the Meadow Works site, T&C Reflections, said all the tenants were in the same boat and would find it hard to secure alternative premises.

“There are about forty of us working in the various businesses here and we will all have nowhere to go. There just aren’t any workshops left like this around High Barnet, they’ll all being pulled down to make way for houses and flats.”

At the Hole in the Wall there seemed an air of resignation. The staff said there had been attempts in the past to develop the site, but they feared this might finally force the closure of what is probably Barnet’s oldest transport café.

The Meadow Works cafe menuAnother tenant for the last six years is Paola Schia, who runs a carpentry and joinery business Vita Woodworks.

His workshop is inside the original Meadow Works building, which was erected in 1914.

“We have all been wondering what was afoot, but no one has told us anything about the planning application. 

We all have short-term leases of about a month, so we haven’t got much choice. We’ll have to find somewhere to go if this plan is approved.”   

The application seeks planning approval to redevelop the site to provide 78 self-contained flats, comprising 55 two-bed flats, and 23 one-bedroom flats, with a three to six storey block and a separate three storey block at the rear of the site.

The plan includes provision for 78 parking spaces and 142 cycle spaces at basement and ground floor level.

A report accompanying the application by planning consultants Jones Lang Lasalle says the Meadow Works site houses a collection of dilapidated industrial buildings and other light-weight units, including two catering establishments, and various units housing a variety of car repair, carpentry and manufacturing tenants plus other small businesses such as warehousing and a builder’s merchant.

The case for approving residential use was strengthened by the poor condition of the buildings, a constrained site, and the fact that some of the building were in such a poor state they would fail to meet permitted standards for leasing after 2018.

Redevelopment of the site for commercial or industrial purposes was not financially feasible

Redevelopment of the site for commercial or industrial purposes was “not financially feasible”.

An application to build nine town houses on the site while retaining mixed employment use was approved in 2008.

A plan to construct 93 flats in four to six storey blocks was rejected in 2005 because the proposed buildings were considered “overly dominant” and because of the lack of an undertaking to meet the extra educational demand.


  • Comment Link Friday, 28 April 2017 22:20 posted by Oliver

    Sad to see the little gems disasppear .
    One day we will day why did this have to happen here and introduce further sterility to our home area .
    What should be happening is seeking to preserve these local industries and building new homes along side .
    It can be done if planners are sent back to the drawing bused sobyo speak and invited to THInK again and work with the current incumbents to achieve s good solution for all

  • Comment Link Saturday, 29 April 2017 13:09 posted by Ashley Bailey

    Not good news - our car mechanic works from there.

  • Comment Link Saturday, 29 April 2017 13:10 posted by Jenny Petch

    Maybe their plan is to do this all at once so that we can object and stop it all ! And yet again where are all the new schools to cope with all these extra people - it really is disgusting what is being allowed to happen in Barnet now !

  • Comment Link Saturday, 29 April 2017 13:10 posted by Phil Ha

    No humanity at all. These types of 'people' would gladly tear down local essentials like hospitals or a fire station if it would be deemed less "financially feasible" to their bank statements.

  • Comment Link Saturday, 29 April 2017 13:11 posted by Nick de Naeyer

    All the industrial and commercial premises are going, which means everybody has to commute to work, instead of walking locally.
    We desperately need housing, but we need jobs as well. There needs to be an industrial area in a town the size of Barnet.

  • Comment Link Monday, 01 May 2017 09:59 posted by Halcyon Ransom

    Follow a planning application from start to finish and play the part of someone who wants to a) know more about the plans b) object c) attend the open meetings where this is discussed.
    And then wait for the feeling that you are being raped by your own council to set in and then realise all you can do is find some sort of acceptance.
    Barnet council and capita just line each other's pockets and maintain their successful money making schemes at the expense of the entire community.

  • Comment Link Monday, 01 May 2017 10:01 posted by Graham Smith

    Barnet Council is the junior partner in a building firm called Re. The majority shareholder is, of course, Capita.
    Six months ago Barnet Council gave approval for Re to build a new 3 storey development in Moxon Street or what is currently the premises of a successful and long established tile company.
    Some very strange things are happening in this borough as a consequence of Barnet's relationship with Capita.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 02 May 2017 10:21 posted by Jacqui Jones

    This goes against the Entrepreneurial Barnet.....

  • Comment Link Sunday, 07 May 2017 09:39 posted by Local Joe

    Would get more sympathy from the locals if the garages didn't dump their rubbish cars in the local streets and tear around like maniacs

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 05 September 2017 21:08 posted by local resident Bill

    Unfortunately meadow works is a shanty town from the past and needs to be removed and new light industrial units built in their place.The owners of the site have not spent a penny on it for years and have only been interested in collecting rent including having units being lived in.

    There is a high demand for units throughout Barnet and the rents that they would command would make them very viable. After 80 odd years of receiving rents in various forms maybe they should put something back.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 06 September 2017 16:52 posted by Dennis Bird

    Queen Elizabeth Boys maybe your entirely artificially induced "league table position" is finally about to be exposed. Google your twin St Olave's in Orpington. No longer can you chuck out pupils as you like....Maybe you should think about educating local boys,isn't that what the school did for 400 years before your historically weird decision to bus people in from all over north London.
    Here's to Comprehensive education with a big C!

  • Comment Link Thursday, 07 September 2017 01:05 posted by Anthony Sims

    Well said Dennis

  • Comment Link Friday, 02 March 2018 16:14 posted by J

    Could these original buildings be preserved by a Listing?? Would English Heritage or other historical body want to preserve them or want to know their history before they are ripped down? Does anyone know how to do this?
    It used to be a family home with the Meadow Works building attached which was a hand laundry in the early1900's. It was all fields and very beautiful 100 years ago. There are early photos at Barnet Museum. It's a real shame these buildings have not been looked after :-(


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