Something New

NEW – What an amazing and exciting word, full of hope and invigoration, isn’t that exactly just what we all need right now! NEW investment, NEWly recreated, NEW experience.

The Council is consulting us on projects to help regenerate the Barnet High Street area here. Our web post on 1 February described how the Barnet Society has responded to the Community Plan by agreeing five priorities: something old, something new, something for children, something for young people and something green.

Economic regeneration of the town centre has got to be a major priority, so below is our shortlist of projects in the Plan that would deliver something new. Whether it’s the revival of retail or attracting new business, without new stimulus nothing else will save the Town Centre.

We have an amazing opportunity to comment and be part of creating an exciting NEW Town Centre. It’s not all doom and gloom! Yes Covid-19 has caused massive disruption and an unprecedented knife into the back of high streets across the UK, but ours has had a currently rare something that we are each looking forward to right now, a shot in the arm.

Unlike most other town centres during this awful time we have had four bold new businesses opening, Huddle, Botannika, Nkora and Barnet Hardware, each independent and each adding its own personality to the list of other businesses that opened in the last couple of years, proving that there can be a future for, and already is, faith in our High Street! Each of the four new businesses have clearly given some thought to their design both inside and out. I hear that a florist and a patisserie have plans to open here too.

Moving forward we need enforceable stylish shop front design, business engagement, perhaps with a business and traders organisation supporting each other and engaging with online promotions, events and a NEW local delivery service, that will help to create a thriving town centre.

Add to this collective branding and identity and a professional website or app and we will have the right ingredients for the future success of Chipping Barnet:

During this pandemic we have seen how we have had to change how we live and this has fed through to how we use our local spaces. For example, a planning application has been submitted for co-working space (see top pictures). There is a great opportunity to open much needed affordable workspace in an empty unit or vacant space, perhaps with a crèche and café, as I am sure that many of us will continue to work from home but need somewhere to get together along the High Street to support this now familiar home working pattern. Projects in the Plan that would do this are

We are extremely fortunate to have a historic past and a heritage. High Barnet will not only be the last stop on the Northern Line but could be the first Barnet town centre to have a NEW tourist centre, a NEWly invigorated High Street and a NEWly designed museum with a linked family oriented park too. What a perfect location, worthy of investment and uplift:

Our traditional market has so far survived Covid-19, and there are plans to revive the Teenage Market. We must encourage these and similar initiatives:

We have had an annual Christmas Fayre for years. Recently we’ve had two successful summer Medieval Festivals – and hopefully will have a third sometime soon. Other events could follow, perhaps seasonal events. Look here for other successful examples elsewhere:

Finally, if we could set up a Community Fund, our Town Team would be able to support local groups, events and traders of our own choice: