Monday 2 October 2017

North Finchley - The Councils grand redevelopment master plan

Stalinist new brutalism is alive and well in the London Borough of Barnet. It seems that the council has a grand plan for North Finchley! The Council owns a whole series of plots of land around the area and has clearly woken up to the potential to make a killing with a bit of property development.

Next Tuesday, they will debate this grand master plan. Amongst the things that they are planning, we will see a "reconfiguration" of Lodge Lane car Park, with "no fewer spaces'. They are also planning to 'Relocate the weekly market to a more suitable site'.

Here are a few choice statements (my comments in italics)

"Traditional functional shopping roles are changing. The more successful towns are adopting a much greater focus on a genuine mix of uses, where retailing remains important, but leisure, cultural, business, and residential uses all add to a town centre’s diversification and overall “offer”."
(clearly they see a residential element as a way of generating cash for the council)

Main Introduction
"With investment in main town centres such as North Finchley the outcomes can be diverse, distinctive and attractive places which are well connected and where the public realm is well maintained and there is a sustainable mix of retail, leisure, business and residential uses."

Arts Depot and Bus Garage

6.5 The north of the site has potential to become an area of increased leisure led activities with uses such as cafes, restaurants and retail at ground level, potentially including a small in town cinema and residential uses on the upper floors. A new courtyard space should be provided to the west of the site associated with the entrance to the Arts Depot. With buses relocated from the Arts Depot building, additional retail, community and leisure uses could be provided at ground floor and activate the Kingsway and Ballards Lane frontage of the building.
(One can only speculate what will happen to the buses. I am intrigued by idea of a food area. I wonder if the presence of a troublesome cafe owner down the road has had any impact on this strategy, to drag the food offering towards the Arts Depot?).

The Stanhope Road Car Park looks to be under threat
Movement and Parking 
6.40 Car parking provision at Stanhope Road which is outside the SPD area will be retained or reprovided elsewhere in the town centre subject to a car parking strategy for North Finchley. 

Lodge Lane Area

6.48 It is proposed that the existing weekly market which on market days occupies land in the south eastern corner of the car park, is to be relocated to a more prominent location on the High Road, potentially in the new public space near the Tally Ho pub and along the improved Ballards Lane.
(I personally can't see how this would work, given the loading/unloading requirements)
6.50 The new development should reprovide as a minimum the number of existing car parking spaces on the site. A decked car park up to two levels or another car parking solution which responds to the sensitivities of the site, including neighbouring residential properties and school, should be explored.
(as there will be a large amount of residential units, how many of these will get some of the 'existing number' of parking places. Another issue is where the 323 existing spaces will be located during the rebuilding phase)

Sensitively developed residential units along Lodge Lane and in the western part of the site are anticipated to be deliverable through a more efficient use of decked parking. Other potential uses fronting Lodge Lane include community space, suitable for example for health or similar uses, activating the frontage. (Interesting mention of Health uses, given the underutilised Finchley Memorial hospital down the road)

Parking charges
7.30 The principal means of rebalancing parking provision is through amending the parking tariff structure with higher prices for long stay in car parks and simplification of High Road parking to make better use in terms of turnover and stay duration.
(It seems that higher parking charges are part of the deal)

8.19 However, where there is a compelling case in the public interest, the Council will consider the use of its compulsory purchase powers to assemble sites within the SPD area, especially but not exclusively in the Key Opportunity Sites. 8
(it seems that the council will be seeking to compulsorily purchase sites that don't want to join in)

The Barnet Eye has spoken to Helen Michael who is the leader of the North Finchley Traders. I was astounded (or not) to learn that she was unaware of many aspects of this plan. It will have a huge impact on her business. It seems likely that North Finchley will be transformed into a building site for an extended period. I wonder how this will affect the local businesses. I have many questions. Here are  a few

1. How much does Capita in all it's guises expect to make as a result of this? Will they get gainshare?

2. Will Traders be compensated for loss of business?

3. Has any impact assessment study of the plans on existing local businesses and residents been undertaken?

4. In total how many more/less parking spaces will there be in North Finchley? How does this relate to the number of new residents and how many of these will get existing car parking spaces?

5. Have any discussions taken place to discuss the practicality of proposed new locations for the market and the operability of the site?

The Deadline for public questions is 10am on Thursday 5th October.

1 comment:

CalvinCasino said...

That's unfair. Capita messing up so bad.