ASDA - Project Evolves

A planning brief for the gasworks site was published by Barnet Council in March 2000. Rumours about ASDA's interest in the gasworks site spread around New Barnet in 2006/07. However it was not until June 2008 that they decided to go public with their intentions for the site at their exhibition.

Public Meeting

ASDA sent a letter declining the invitation to take part in the public meeting organised for 3rd April 2008.

"As you know, we have been in discussions with LB Barnet Council for some time regarding the possible development of an ASDA store in New Barnet. However, our plans at present are still at a very early stage and we have more work to do before they are finalised for presentation to the public."

"However, it is our intention to complete our proposals and prepare them for public consultation as soon as possible."

Speaking at the public meeting, Councillor Coleman said he had seen ASDA's plans for the gasworks site at a presentation in February / March 2008. It included an eight storey residential tower containing 283 flats.

Tesco representatives have claimed that ASDA are planning a 70 - 90 thousand square foot store (approx 2 1/2 times bigger than Sainsburys).

Discussions between ASDA's project team and London Borough of Barnet's Officers

Reading the more detailed brochure produced in June 2008, it becomes apparent that ASDA have been in consultation with Barnet Council Officers since 2005 on the development of this project.

Extract from pages 8 & 9:

July 2005

  • ASDA met with Planning Officers for first time.
  • Planning Officers provided their initial views on proposed redevelopment of site.
  • Highway network capacity and site access; retail impact on the town centre, and; bulk, massing and visual impact on recreation ground raised as initial issues to be addressed.
  • Highlighted the Development Brief which was produced for the site which seeks mixed-use development, including retail.
  • Confirmation that the site would be allocated for mixed-use, including retail, within the UDP which was emerging at that time.

After this first meeting. ASDA and their Project Team worked up proposals based on the comments raised and national, regional and local planning policy.

Meetings throughout 2006

  • ASDA initiated further meetings to present the evolving scheme.
  • Meetings held with Head of Planning and Major Projects Manager to discuss appropriate way forward.
  • Ongoing discussions regarding contribution and involvement in the New Barnet Town Centre Strategy.
  • ASDA's highways consultants begin discussions with Barnet's highway department to discuss capacity and access concerns.
  • Design of scheme evolves through discussions with Councils Design Officer with issues of scale, massing and height discussed between parties.

Meetings throughout 2007

  • ASDA continue to openly discuss their proposals with Officers in order to develop a high quality scheme.
  • Input sought from local representatives, including local Councillors.
  • Ongoing discussions regarding further revisions to the scheme with others and politicians and the connotations for the viability of the scheme.

2008 to present day

  • Continued meetings with local planning officers regarding the scheme and policy support provided through the New Barnet Town Strategy.
  • Discussions with local politicians regarding continued revisions to the scheme.
  • Public exhibition to seek views on scheme ahead of a planning application.

First written reference to ASDA

The Tesco Express planning application (N09569D/07) in October 2007 makes for interesting reading as ASDA is directly referred to in writing in a publicly accessible document. Tesco submitted a revised planning application (N09569E/08) in January 2008 which contains the same references to ASDA.

Appendix B of Tesco's 'Planning Design and Access Statement' contains an eleven page advice note from the London Borough of Barnet Planning department following a pre-application meeting on 13th February 2007.

Extract from page 2:

The council is in the process of preparing a Town Centre Framework for New Barnet as part of a wider Town Centre Strategy for the Borough. The Framework for New Barnet aims to guide future development opportunities and enhance the vitality and viability of New Barnet's town centre.
The site is located to the south of the former Transco gas works site which has been acquired by ASDA who are proposing to redevelop the site for a mixed use development incorporating a new retail store and residential accommodation. The new store will be set back from East Barnet Road which forms the main part of New Barnet's high street. The development therefore aims to create an extension to the high street by providing a mixture of commercial, retail and residential uses along Albert Road which will be widened and remodelled. The junction of Albert Road with New Barnet Road and Victoria Road is therefore crucial if this extension to the high street and town centre is to be successful for pedestrians. The proposed scheme at 7-11 Victoria Road should therefore take the potential major development of the gas works land to the north into consideration given the location of the site in relation to Albert Road.

Extract from page 6:

Pedestrian Access
The Highways Officer has raised concerns over pedestrian access from East Barnet Road across Victoria Road to the proposed store given the high levels of pedestrian footfall that a Tesco Express would generate. The solution to this would be to put a zebra crossing in across Victoria Road, however the existing footpath on the south side is not wide enough to accommodate the necessary changes. The council are aware that Tesco own 15 East Barnet Road and could therefore look at using some of the vacant land in front of number 15 to improve pedestrian links to a new Express store. The crossing would effectively terminate at the entrance to the proposed store and would therefore increase direct pedestrian footfall to the store and potentially increase customers. The installation of a zebra crossing as well as potential improvements to the public footpath on the north side of Victoria Road would need to be secured through a s106 Agreement.

This zebra crossing is located in the same location as the zebra crossing required in the JCoSS planning application. Coincidence?

Extract from page 8:

The land immediately to the rear of the site (2 Albert Road, Salvation Army site, 6 and 8 Albert Road is part of the overall development proposals being put forward by ASDA. It was noted at the meeting that there may be scope, given the ASDA proposals to provide a joint servicing and loading access to the retail unit from a shared service road to the rear.