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'I'll leave the town' - shoppers unhappy at proposals to remove spires from High Barnet shopping centre
Shopping centre owners have proposed removing the iconic spires from High Barnet's high street under one of two designs for a major refurbishment.
The plans went on display at The Spires shopping centre, in High Barnet, last week, with shoppers invited to leave their comments.
The designs have caused a stir in the town centre, with many saying they want the iconic landmarks to stay, despite being supportive of a refurbishment at the centre.
Here’s what shoppers told the Times Series when we visited The Spires this week…
Mother-of-two Cherrelle Vella, 24, from Mays Lane: “The refurbishment definitely needs to be done. The shops are all looking a bit old and tattered and there are always empty units here. They need to bring some life back to the area.
“But they need to keep the spires, they are part of the heritage of the high street. Barnet would lose a bit of its history if they were to go and would make the area bland and uninteresting.”
William Brennan, 24, from the Dollis Valley estate: “They have redeveloped too many old buildings. Those spires are part of the history of Barnet. They need to just leave them alone – they do too much to old buildings these days.”
Marian Collins, from East Barnet: “They need to keep the spires but in the current climate we need to get shops and businesses going so the revamp is a good idea. It would be an unnecessary removal though – the spires have character. They’re nice and elegant, they’re not ugly structures.”
Alda Olafsdottir, who has lived in High Barnet for the past 25 years: “If they remove the spires I’m moving away. It is a horrible thought and would change the character of Barnet.
“I support the fact they need to upgrade the centre – there is nothing happening and the shops are closing. But this is not the city – don’t try and bring the city to Barnet.
“I’m passionate about this. We need to bring in more shops and people from outside of the borough but these designers need to have some ongoing dialogue with the people who live here if they are proposing this.”
Angie Hudson, from Whetstone: “What a waste of money – I don’t understand why it’s necessary. It is a familiar landmark but they just want to make it bland and boring.
“They need to bring down the rents for the shops to bring in new businesses. There is already quite a good variety here if you ask me though and I don’t see why it needs improving.”
Shirley Rowe, who has lived in High Barnet for 59 years: "I avoid going to places like Milton Keynes and Brent Cross and I come here because of the character of the place.
“If you remove the spires you could be looking at any old high street around the country and it is a shame we have allowed that to happen in other places – I feel very strongly about this.”