Barnet Residents Association is a forward-looking civic organisation that campaigns energetically against changes that might impact the character of High Barnet and its immediate surroundings including how our local parks and open spaces are managed.
BRA uses its significant knowledge of the planning system to try and secure the best possible outcomes. We want High Barnet to be an area in which it is pleasant and safe to live, focused on a bustling market and town centre that continues to evidence its historic past, unspoilt by the incursion of out of character developments.
The Association was formed in 1934 as the Barnet Ratepayers Association. After a period of dormancy, it was revived in 2006 by members of the current Committee and has continued to grow from just 200 members to over 750. Strategic decisions are made by the Committee (elected every July at the AGM) on all matters relating to planning and development, conservation, policing, health and the High Street. We maintain ongoing contact with our membership through publishing three 12-page Newsletters each year (in February, June and October), and contacting our members through regular e-mails or letter when urgent issues arise. Our constitution is available to view in the column opposite.
We scrutinise all major planning applications in our area and have had considerable success in getting schemes we consider unacceptable stopped or substantially modified. In the light of the new London Plan and Barnet’s version called the Local Plan we expect a wave of new developments in the outer suburbs over the next few years, reflecting the predicted annual growth of 70,000 in the population of Greater London. Unchecked future changes could permanently change the appearance of High Barnet and we will fight to save those historic elements that make our town unique and welcoming.
We also will continue to protect the character of the area by opposing demolition or alterations to significant local buildings, including obtaining national or local listed status where appropriate. Successes include stopping the demolition of the former Magistrate’s Court on Barnet Hill and getting what is now the Coroner’s Court in Wood Street nationally listed. We ensure that applications, particularly in the two conservation areas of Hadley and Wood Street, follow planning guidelines reporting violations to the Council. In addition, two of the committee were actively involved in the recent, borough wide, local listing review.
High streets across the country are struggling with the changing nature of shopping and ours is no exception. We have been influential in securing changes that improve the health of the high street including the pavement-widening scheme. We have also successfully lobbied for the introduction of free short-term parking to Moxon Street and Hadley Green. We believe it is important that our high street is a clean and attractive as possible and work with owners and tenants to ensure that buildings are not neglected, or fall into disrepair, and that graffiti is removed promptly. We even get our hands dirty by regularly removing fly stickers and posters. In the wider area we work with the council to help eradicate fly tipping.
We are non-political and will challenge representatives of any political party or group where we believe local community interests are threatened. We are an inclusive organisation that welcomes members from all of Barnet’s diverse communities.