A potential buyer for The Spires shopping centre has pulled out of the deal - days after being announced as the preferred bidders.

Property firm Redefine International had looked set to take over the High Barnet shopping centre, which includes the site of Barnet Market, after it was announced last week the company was in talks with the owners.

But little more than seven days after the announcement, the deal has collapsed, putting the future of the centre, and particularly the market, in doubt once more.

Site owners UBS Triton last year announced a major renovation programme for the historic market site, which has existed in the borough for 600 years.

The property was later put on the market at more than £35million by UBS, though it later confirmed the refurbishment works for the dilapidated plot would continue.

Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers said the collapse of the deal represented a real concern for the future of the market.

She said: “It is vital that the future ownership of the market site is resolved as soon as possible, whether that means UBS deciding to take the property off the market and retain it, or finding a new buyer.

“Barnet Market has been part of our community and our economy for over 600 years. It is hugely important that it gets the new facilities it desperately needs.”

The Conservative politician reiterated calls for the refurbishment work at the market site to go on, regardless of the sale plans.

UBS has so far been unavailable for comment.