Local Plan Briefing Note

Barnet Councils new Local Plan sets the Council’s vision for growth and development in Barnet over a 15-year period (2021-2036). It is out for consultation and representations until 9th August 2021.

Update 29 September 2021: The new Local Plan has now moved on to the next stage following the consultation on the Regulation 19 Draft Local Plan. You can follow progress on the Barnet council web site.

Update 10 August 2021: see BCAG response to local plan.

Is it important?

Yes! The Development Plan is the basis upon which planning applications in the Borough will be determined. In the next 15 years that means some 60,000 decisions taken by the Council involving the development of new homes, the amount of affordable housing, loss of open space, new businesses, how Barnet will look, its ‘character’, how it tackles Climate Change, biodiversity, wildlife, transport, energy etc will all be affected by it.

This version of the Local Plan is a draft document specifically produced to enable representations to be made on the draft plan that will then be considered by an independent Inspector at the examination stage. Written representations and appearing at the public examination are supposed to carry the same weight.

The draft plan is a technical document but do not let that put you off. If it does not say what you think it should – or says something you think it shouldn’t then make a representation. If you want to change Barnet’s policy at this stage keep in mind that you should have good grounds and sound evidence to back up what you say – just having an opinion won’t wash!

What key areas does it cover?

Pretty much anything and everything to do with the built and natural environment in Barnet. Chapter headings include:

  • Barnet’s Vision and Objectives
  • Growth and Spatial Strategy
  • Housing
  • Character, Design and heritage
  • Town centres
  • Community Uses and promotion of health and well being
  • Economy
  • Environment and Climate Change
  • Transport and Communications

How is the plan structured?

The Plan contains:

  • 309 Pages
  • 12 Chapters
  • 3 Appendicies
  • 52 Policies and supporting text
  • 67 Site Specific proposals

What is the key driver behind the plan?

By 2036 Barnet is looking at a projected population increase of over 50,000 up to a total of 452,000. This will need a minimum of 35,460 new homes (2,364 new homes per annum). Barnet’s Plan seeks to enable this growth and deal with the implications of it.

Are Barnet’s parks, open spaces and biodiversity protected?

The policy approach should be strengthened. The important part of the plan – the one in daily use by planners in determining applications and considered by developers is the Policy. In this plan the supporting text often reads stronger than the policy.

[The original document contains copies of eight policies in the appendix which appear to have a significant bearing on open spaces, biodiversity and parks in the borough. These are omitted from the web version]

Areas to consider for representations.

  • Oppose “low value, low quality” provisions in Policy ECC04. We should be protecting and enhancing all open space in the borough not allowing development on it. The ‘evidence’ to justify this policy is out of date, extremely subjective in its judgements and should not be used. Recommend removal of this element of the policy.
  • A Regional Park for Barnet based on the Green Belt. The idea has been around for many years but the there is nothing specific on how and when it will be delivered. The messages given in the plan on this are garbled. Recommend much clearer statement on how this is to be progressed.
  • Hedges get limited mention and Trees are subsumed within generalised policies. Recommend strengthened, separate policy on dealing with Trees and hedgerows.
  • B-lines – No mention of these pollinator highways, promoted by Buglife as part of the Governments pollinator strategy. The north-south corridor through London cuts across parts of the borough including parts of Finchley and New Southgate where there is a growth area and a number of site specific proposals. Recommend add B-lines to Key diagram, proposals map and covered in appropriate policies and site specific proposals.
  • Temporary use of development sites for green space. There is a policy on ‘meanwhile uses’ for temporary housing but not on potential for open space. Recommend new policy supporting temporary use of development sites for open space and community growing projects.
  • Front garden use for car parking. No policy on prevention of turning front gardens into car parking on those roads where planning permission is required. Recommend addition of policy opposing use of front gardens for car parking.
  • Support reasonably strong policies protecting Green Belt and Metropolitan Open land. The likelihood is that these policies will be attacked by developers.
  • Consider whether you should be promoting sites/ideas near to you. Two that I shall be promoting are: Creation of a new park in East Finchley in an area of open space deficiency and designating Barnet owned land adjacent to a local park as an extension to the park.

There are probably a lot more ideas that could and should be raised.

Use the forms provided.

Barnet are using a form for representations based on nationally prescribed ones. Do use them. It makes life easier all round.

Roger Chapman

Chair, Barnet Green Spaces Network

6th July 2021

The appendix of the original document contains the text of the following policies relevant to Open Space. These are omitted from the web version.

  • POLICY BSS01 Spatial Strategy for Barnet
  • POLICY GSS13 Strategic Parks and Recreation
  • Policy CDH07 Amenity Space and Landscaping
  • Policy CHW 02 – Promoting health and wellbeing
  • Policy ECC02A Water Management Policy
  • Policy ECC04 –Barnet’s Parks and Open Spaces
  • Policy ECC05 – Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land
  • Policy ECC06 – Biodiversity