A family-owned property developer is on the verge of a multi-million pound takeover of The Spires shopping centre in High Barnet.

The William Pears Group has exchanged contracts with current owners UBS Triton and is expected to complete the deal  - thought to be in the region of £35million – in the next fortnight.

The purchase includes the site of the long-standing Barnet Market, which is badly in need of renovation.

UBS had outlined plans for a redevelopment of the dilapidated former car park, though it is not yet certain whether the new buyers will go ahead with the work.

The William Pears Group quickly came forward after another developer, Redefine International, pulled out of the deal days after being announced as the preferred bidder in February.

Jonathan Rose is the managing director of William Pears, which deals in commercial property development and property investment.

He said he was reluctant to discuss details of the firm’s plans until the contract is signed but confirmed the company was “always interested” in the shopping centre, adding that he expects the deal to be completed in the next couple of weeks.

The news has been welcomed by the Friends of Barnet Market, which is looking to secure the future of the stallholders.

The market has existed in the town in various guises for more than 600 years.

Friends group chairman Chris Nightingale said: “We have to be pleased that the sale appears to be going ahead quite quickly.

“There has been a long period of uncertainty but our understanding is William Pears has a very positive view on continuing with the plans for the market and, if that is the case, we very much welcome the sale.”

Mr Nightingale confirmed he and members of various community groups in the High Barnet area are looking to arrange a meeting with the William Pears Group to discuss its plans.