Having studied the Town Centre Framework in some detail, it strikes me that there are a number of very serious issues which don't necessarily come out clearly in the documents. Option 1, which is residential development on the Gasworks and Optex sites (something proposed by the Save New Barnet Campaign last year), seems to be portrayed in such a way as to make it look a rather negative option. By contrast, Options 2 &3, which favour retail development on the Optex and Gasworks sites respectively, are portrayed in much more favourable terms. However, as with some many things in life, the devil is in the detail. Options 2 & 3 don't talk about the size of retail development nor do they talk about the additional traffic that would be generated. Option 2 (Tesco own Optex site) could only be accessed from Victoria Road making life utterly miserable for anyone living on this narrow residential road.What is also tucked away in one of the appendices is the impact assessment on the Sainsbury's store in New Barnet. The Framework document suggests that if a 2,500 square metre store (a bit smaller than the current Sainsbury's) was openedon either of the sites, it would take half of Sainsbury's turnover potentially making the Sainsbury's store unviable. As a result, rather than generating competition, we would simply have Sainsbury's replaced by another single supermarket operator. Change but not competition. Overall, the only realistic option is Option 1.
Make your opinion count - Tell Barnet Council what you think - deadline 23 March.
Mr Reasonable will be voting for Option 1!