Character Area

Historic Centre

Within the Wood Street Conservation Area, this historic area centres around the prominent St John the Baptist Church and the High Street to Wood Street junction. This area currently hosts a cluster of community and civic infrastructure, including Barnet and Southgate College, Barnet Museum, The Bull Theatre, and the Old Courthouse and Recreation Grounds to the rear. Adding to the rich heritage of the town centre, the area includes other buildings of note, such as the Church House, Tudor Hall, the Hyde Building (old library building) on Church passage, and a collection of the town centre’s historic public houses.

Despite this rich context, this area is currently let down by its underperforming public realm that fails to prioritise the pedestrian, neither does it support the diverse organisations and businesses to activate the street and communicate the rich diversity of the offer. A significant opportunity to resolve this resides in improving the major junction between the A100 and A414. Its current design is overly-complex, with narrow pavements, little green infrastructure and challenging pedestrian crossings. Improving the safety and experience for the pedestrian at this junction is key to unlocking the potential of this area.

Another priority area is the narrow route along the A1000 next to St John the Baptist Church. Presently due to limited width, this major route has narrow carriageways and only a single narrow pavement on one side. As the main pedestrian route up from the Station to the high street, there is a need to identify opportunities to widen the public realm to ensure pedestrian safety.

Finally, there is a need to capitalise more on the open spaces that visitors can access; these include the college square, the green space off Church Passage and Old Courthouse Recreation Grounds (Barnet Park). There is great potential for these spaces to integrate better with surrounding civic assets and enable businesses to activate them through on street trading and events – further promoting the historic centre for Chipping Barnet. As highlighted by residents, this needs to be done with sensitivity to the historical buildings and setting, especially St John the Baptist Church. There is also need to improve the entrance and signage to Barnet Park from the town centre as this acts as a key pedestrian route for those coming into the town centre from the south.

Potential Opportunities