Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers has vowed to continue fighting to protect a “precious” green space despite receiving reassurances from the would-be developer.

Developers Hill pledged to conserve “a significant part” of the green fields when they invited the MP and residents to hear about their plans to build around 150 flats and houses on the Barnet site last week (Thursday, June 7).

But the reassurances were not enough for the MP, who wants to ensure all of the Whalebones area is protected from development.

After the meeting, Ms Villiers said: “I will continue my campaign against building on these green fields because of the environmental damage it will do to High Barnet.

“While it’s welcome that Hill’s current plans would conserve a significant part of two of the fields, I want to see all of Whalebones protected from development.

“This is made much more difficult by the fact that the fields are not classed as green belt and the mayor’s draft London Plan wants this kind of site to be built over.

“But this is a precious green space for Barnet which residents want to save, and I will be working with them to try to achieve this aim.”

The 11-acre site, which lies between Wood Street A411 and Wellhouse Lane, is owned by the estate of the late Gwyneth Cowing, who lived at Whalebones House for many years.

In her will, Ms Cowing asked trustees to conserve the land and enable local groups to use it, and it has been used mainly as agricultural land since her death.

But the executors of the estate have asked Barnet Council to put the park on the list of sites suitable for housing development in the local plan.

They have reached an agreement with Hill, which intends to seek planning permission for development following further engagement with local residents, community groups, and other stakeholders.

Councillors have also expressed opposition to the plans. In 2016, David Longstaff, councillor for the High Barnet ward, said: “It is quite obviously contrary to the values of the Gwyneth Cowing Foundation that the land be sold for development.

“Even without considering the history surrounding Whalebones House, Wood Street is a conservation area and the land in question has been repeatedly turned down for planning permission. This is the wrong place to build.”