Long-awaited upgrade work at the historic Barnet Market has begun.

New owner William Pears has gone through with its pledge to revamp the car park, in St Albans Road, High Barnet, after the company acquired the site in May.

The dilapidated former car park, which was bought as part of a £34million takeover of The Spires shopping centre, will undergo a series of improvements.

Existing hoardings will be replaced with post and rail fencing, electricity and lighting will be provided for traders and the site will be completely resurfaced.

Stallholders trade on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 7am and 3.30pm and on non–market days the site will be opened as a public paid-for car park with 47 spaces.

The market, which dates back almost 600 years, has been temporarily moved to the bandstand outside The Spires while the upgrade work, due to finish in November, is carried out.

Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers, who has campaigned on behalf of stallholders for several years, praised the work of the Friends of Barnet Market (FoBM) campaign group in helping to secure its future.

She said: “I am delighted this work has begun. The Friends of Barnet Market campaigned with such determination for these improvements to go ahead.

“The current state of the St Albans Road site makes life very difficult for market traders and their customers, particularly the uneven surface.

“I hope that this vital work will go some way to boosting High Street and helping our historic market become the vibrant hub it used to be, attracting visitors from the neighbouring areas.

“I hope that things run smoothly to allow this project to be finished on time. It is important that the residents of High Barnet can enjoy their revived market as soon as possible.”