Councillors have agreed more than £500,000-worth of investment to improve a town centre that has been earmarked for major new development.

The money will be used to improve transport and civic space in Finchley town centre, in preparation for 600 new homes, retail and commercial space in the area.

Members of Barnet Council’s assets, regeneration and growth committee unanimously voted in favour of the plan at a meeting yesterday (Monday, September 17).

It comes in response to feedback from businesses and local people that suggested the area was falling behind nearby town centres such as Muswell Hill and North Finchley in terms of appeal.

Councillor Gabriel Rozenberg, Conservative member for Garden Suburb, said: “I am really pleased this report has come forward. Finchley is an area whose residents have felt the high street did not reflect the importance and value of the area.

“Here is a town centre with great potential for transformation, and potential for great housing – including affordable homes.”

The plans include improvements to civic spaces such as Church End Gardens and Victoria Park, as well as more support for small businesses.

Transport improvements include measures to boost pedestrian and cycling access in a bid to cut pollution from traffic.

Cllr Kath McGuirk, Labour member for West Finchley, welcomed the proposals and said they were an opportunity to address the traffic problems in the area.

She said: “There is an issue around transport. Barnet Lane junction is a nightmare. A lot of problems we have with Squires Lane and Manor View are due to people trying to avoid Barnet Lane. This is an opportunity to address that.”

Labour councillor for West Finchley Ross Houston added: “One of the things we do need to be flexible about is looking at the car provision. I do think the idea of having additional cars in the area would drive residents mad.”

Councillors also approved £60,000 to improve the town centre at West Hendon Broadway.