A bid to reinvent, restore and revive Chipping Barnet town centre using Government funding has been backed by MP Theresa Villiers.
Barnet Council has submitted an application to the £675m Future High Street Funds to help the area which has faced difficulties in recent years with the switch to online shopping. Theresa has provided input into the bid, alongside residents from local groups such as the Barnet Society, the Barnet Residents Association and the Chipping Barnet Town Team. A number of meetings between the Council and local people to discuss the bid took place in Theresa’s constituency office.
In a letter of support to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Theresa said: “Chipping Barnet town centre plays a crucial role in my constituency, providing much valued opportunities for the community to come together. If it continues to decline, that will have a serious negative impact on community cohesion and on local quality of life.”
“Additional revenue and capital funding could make a huge difference in saving this important local town centre. The rich history provided by the nearby Battle of Barnet site could become a magnet for visitors. Local events such as the Medieval Festival and the Christmas Fair could have their future secured. There is also pent-up local demand for workspace for start-ups and small businesses.”
Theresa has been a vocal champion of local town centres in her constituency and is a member of Chipping Barnet Town Team, which aims to support the high street and local retailers. She said “It was a tight turn-around to get this bid submitted and I thank the Council officers and constituents who worked hard to make it happen. I campaigned for Government help for town centres and I welcomed the establishment of the Future High Streets Fund. It is great to see a bid submitted for my constituency.”
The Council’s application is centred on reinventing Chipping Barnet “as a market town for the modern era”, restoring the period buildings, such as the Bull Theatre, and reviving the town centre by promoting it to become “a renowned centre for independent businesses, start-ups and small businesses”.
The initial bid is for £31,000 to start the process. If the application is successful at this stage, it is hoped that a bid for a significantly larger tranche of funding will follow.