Character Area

High Street & the Spires

This section is the main focal point for the retail offer in the town centre. It includes the Spires Shopping Centre at its centre, offering an important day-time pedestrian link through to Staplyton Road which hosts Barnet Market, the Library and the town’s anchor supermarket.

The high street hosts a variety of retail, including chains and independents. It suffers from peak time traffic congestion, combined with uncoordinated business deliveries – the pedestrian experience suffers as a result. Coupled with areas of narrow pavement and inactive public realm, the town centre feels more as a route to move through rather than a destination. The recent completion of pavement widening along a portion of the western edge has greatly helped to address this; providing opportunities to increase greenery, places to sit and new opportunities for businesses to street trade. There is a need to build on this and identify further opportunities to improve the pedestrian environment in this area so the high street becomes a more supportive destination for socialising.

Behind the main high street on the western side, there is also a network of small yard spaces, which present opportunity to help strengthen the high street. Complimentary activities could include affordable workspaces for creative/makers looking to sell at the local Market, outdoor dining, places to host community events or even community gardens or allotments.

Another opportunity is to improve the western gateway into the town centre from Staplyton Road accessed by residents, bus users and those who have parked in car parks. Though this space hosts vital assets such as the Library and the Market, it currently lacks active frontages which makes the area feel unwelcoming and particularly unsafe during evenings. Generally, there is a need to activate this space and strengthen the connection between Staplyton Road and the main high street.

In the short-term, there is a need to improve signage and wayfinding between Staplyton Road and the main high street, and explore opportunities to grow the Market through the Spires onto the main high street. Longer-term, any future developments should consider how they create additional space to diversify the offer on the high street and increase the legibility, active frontages and pedestrianised connections through to the main high street.

Potential Opportunities