The story so far...
- Barnet Council publish a planning brief for the New Barnet Gasworks site in March 2000
- The New Barnet Gasworks site in Albert Road is bought by ASDA in around 2005
- ASDA spend the next 3 years working on their project in consultation with Barnet Council
- We hold a public meeting to discuss the Tesco and ASDA proposals in April 2008, although ASDA decline to take part.
- ASDA start to carry out demolition of the former call centre building on the gasworks site in May 2008
- ASDA hold a public exhibition of their plans in early June 2008
- The extent of ASDA's proposed 6 acre development site is revealed at the exhibition
- A planning application is submitted by ASDA and registered by Barnet Council on 16th February 2009
- ASDA's planning application is due to be decided by councillors at Barnet's Planning and Environment Committee on 1st July 2009
- ASDA withdraw their planning application on 30th June 2009
ASDA Advert judged 'misleading'
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published a judgement on 4th November 2009 about an ASDA advert promoting their New Barnet planning application.
In late May, ASDA published a four page advert as a 'wraparound' on the Barnet Times. (It appeared a few days before ASDA carried out an extensive local phone survey, but interestingly the results of that poll have never been published.) A local resident made a complaint to the ASA about the claims made in the newspaper advert.
In a recently published judgement, ASDA was found to have breached the 'truthfulness' and 'substantiation' clauses of the advertising code. The ASA have ruled that ASDA's misleading map of supermarket sites in New Barnet must not be used in advertising material again.
Official Notification Of Withdrawal
Barnet Council sent a letter to those who had responded to the planning application informing them that ASDA had withdrawn.
- Barnet's letter to respondents - 9 Jul 09
New Barnet Community 1
In the next round the New Barnet Community will meet Tesco Terrors at home.
Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, wrote letters, lobbied their councillors and helped the campaign in many different ways.
Whilst we await the next move from either Tesco or ASDA, the most important thing you can do is to ensure that you and all your friends and neighbours have signed up to our email list. See the sign up box in the right hand column. Using email we were able to quickly let local residents know about ASDA's withdrawal of their planning application. We are grateful for the many comments we received in reponse.
Planning Application Withdrawn
The Save New Barnet Campaign was advised late on Tuesday 30th June 2009 that ASDA had WITHDRAWN their planning application for the gasworks site. It therefore would not go before Councillors the next evening.
Planning Committee Meeting
The proposed ASDA development will go before Barnet's Planning & Environment Committee on Wednesday 1st July 2009 for Councillors to make their decision.
The Planning Officers Report recommends that Councillors should vote to REFUSE the application. The report states that the council had received 1849 responses from the public, 1828 letters of objection and 21 in support of the application. Additionally they had received a petition of 2556 signatures objecting to the proposal.
Advertising by ASDA
A four page wraparound advert covered copies of the Barnet Times on 28th May 2009.
This promotional material, extolling the benefits of ASDA's proposals, appeared nearly two months AFTER the official deadline for comments on the planning application. ASDA failed to engage with the public during the official consultation period.
On the last page of its advert, ASDA produced a map to represent supermarket sites in New Barnet. However this does not compare 'like-for-like'. It shows only the ASDA store footprint, excluding all the other retail units and flats which form part of their planning application. By contrast, it depicts the entire footprint of Tesco's original proposed site, along with an additional area which has, to our knowledge, never been part of Tesco's plans.
The additional area includes St James' Church, Fayers Builders Merchants, the Kingdom Hall and a large number of homes in Margaret Road, Mulberry Close and Victoria Road - who must have been alarmed to see that their properties were now being shown as part of a Tesco development site.
For clarity we have produced an aerial photo showing the supermarket sites in New Barnet to compare with the map used in ASDA's advert.
Map in ASDA Advert [150K pdf]
The artist's impressions used in the advert have been created to give the impression that the proposed new buildings are smaller and less obtrusive than they would be in reality. For example, compare the size of the pedestrians (on the left of the image on the front page) with with the ground floor window of the existing two-storey public house alongside. The controversial traffic lights proposed for the Albert Road / East Barnet Road junction have been omitted entirely from this image.
Telephone Survey by ASDA
A few days after ASDA's four page advertisement appeared, telephone polling was carried out on its behalf by ICM/Populus. The questions asked in this survey included factual inaccuracies and appeared to be intent on discrediting local opposition to the scheme.
The Save New Barnet Campaign received numerous comments from members of the public who were phoned by ICM to take part in this survey. Some people were so incensed by what they saw as misleading statements and leading questions that they said that they intended to lodge complaints with the Market Research Society.
Given that ASDA failed to engage with the public during the official consultation period (which closed 1st April), it was surprising to see that they chose to spend a great deal of money on a four page advertisement and an extensive telephone survey some two months later.
The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment have published a design review on the ASDA planning application.
East Barnet Gas Works, Barnet
29 May 2009
Supermarket-led mixed-use development incorporating an Asda store, 211 apartments, and other retail and community uses. Designed by HGP Architects.
The report concludes that "the proposed scheme is fundamentally flawed and should be refused planning permission".
It goes on to say that "The local authority should provide strong leadership in bringing forward an economic and masterplanning vision for New Barnet's centre to give developers a clearer direction on the role sites such as this should play in its future".
The New Barnet Community Association has been asking the Barnet to compile a local area strategy for many years. Such a plan has been repeatedly promised by the Council, but has never delivered.
The Greater London Authority have published a report on the ASDA planning application.
Planning Report PDU/1459/01
8 April 2009
former British Gasworks, Albert Road, New Barnet
The report contains a detailed analysis of the scheme and concludes that the planning application "does not comply with the London Plan".
The Environment Agency have submitted an objection. The Flood Risk Assessment submitted with the planning application does not meet requirements as key information is missing.
Barnet Council's Planning Department have received a massive number of individual responses from local residents over the ASDA planning application:
In Favour: 15
B/0200/09 (wrong reference number on official letter sent to residents)
In Favour: 0
Leafleting by ASDA
A leaflet was delivered to homes across New Barnet & East Barnet by ASDA from 15th April 2009. It is the first direct communication most local residents have had from ASDA since their public exhibition in June 2008. It appeared two weeks AFTER the official deadline for comments on ASDA's planning application, at a point when Barnet Council had received over 1,000 objections.
Note that most of prominent green areas shown on this plan lie OUTSIDE the ASDA development site - the railway embankment and trees in Victoria Park. The small green areas shown in the centre of the site are 5th floor courtyard 'roof gardens', for use of residents of the surrounding blocks of flats.
NBCA Public Meeting
A Public Meeting was held on Thursday 19th March 2009 at St James' Church to debate the current ASDA planning application. The local MP, councillors, a planning officer, Save New Barnet campaign team and 170 local residents attended.
ASDA refused their invitation to attend to explain their plans and answer questions.
They also failed to attend the previous public meeting to debate the Tesco and ASDA proposals held on 3rd April 2008.
New Planning Application
A new planning application from ASDA was registered by Barnet Council on 16th February 2009.
East Barnet Gasworks, Albert Road, New Barnet
Demolition of existing buildings and erection of a mixed use development comprising 211 residential units, supermarket (10,526sqm gross floor space) and additional 1,893 sqm gross non-residential floor space comprising A1 (shops), A2 (financial and professional services), A3 (restaurants and cafes) and D1 (non-residential uses), public space, car parking, access and related highways works and associated works.
Application number B/00200/09 is now 'live'.
The planning application documents can be seen on the council's website.
Commenting on the ASDA Planning Application
Objections should be made in writing, clearly stating your name and address and the reference number B/00200/09. It is important to be as specific as possible in your letter. Proposals can only be rejected for specific planning reasons.
Letters should be sent to:
London Borough of Barnet
Planning, Housing and Regeneration Service
Building 4, North London Business Park
Oakleigh Road South
Emails should be sent to:
Comments can also be submitted online:
You MUST include the application reference number B/00200/09 clearly on all communications.
The official deadline for comments was 1st April, however various council officers have now told several people at different times that they would accept letters up to the 15th April 2009.
If you do not have time to write your own letter, or want help getting started, download our example letter. Simply print it out, add your name & address details and sent it to the address shown.
- Sample ASDA objection letter [37K pdf] - Mar 09
Linden Homes Out?
It is understood that Linden Homes have withdrawn from their involvement in the ASDA development in New Barnet. The news was in an article published in Property Week.
Original Planning Application
ASDA sent out a press release on Wednesday 27th August 2008 announcing that they have submitted a planning application to Barnet Council.
It is understood that the planning department received documents from ASDA on Friday 29th August, but they did not register the application.
Until the council have registered plans (and have issued a reference number) an application is not 'live' and the documents are not available to the public.
Outline of Proposals
- ASDA supermarket with 3,906 m (42,040 ft) of retail floorspace
- 211 flats (1, 2 & 3 bedroom)
- 631 car parking spaces (420 for shoppers & 211 for flats)
- Additional 1,890 sq metres of ground floor space in buildings to the south of the supermarket
ASDA's New Barnet Development Website
Details of the ASDA proposals can be found on their website at www.asdanewbarnet.co.uk
Project Team Contact
Tom McGarry (Property Communications Manager)
ASDA Stores Ltd, ASDA House, Southbank, Great Wilson Street, Leeds, LS11 5AD
Any major development on the gas works site would require improved road access via the East Barnet Road / Victoria Road junction. Tesco's interests in both 7-11 Victoria Road and 15 East Barnet Road would appear to be an attempt to give themselves control over any development at this junction.