The council has made a “significant step forward” on a regeneration plan to breathe new life into a flagging high street.

Developers have given their backing to a plan to regenerate North Finchley town centre by providing better support for businesses and boosting the supply of housing in the area.

A joint venture between Joseph Partners and U and I Group will carry out the regeneration work.

At a meeting of the assets, regeneration and growth committee yesterday (Tuesday, November 27), councillors gave the nod to a site assembly agreement that will allow the firms to acquire land for development.

The scheme will provide more affordable homes and increase leisure and cultural opportunities in one of Barnet’s main town centres.

Cllr Dan Thomas, chairman of the committee and Conservative member for Finchley Church End, said the move was a “significant step forward” for the scheme.

But Labour councillors raised concerns over the slow progress of the regeneration so far and questioned the make-up of a partnership board designed to represent the interests of residents and businesses.

Councillor Kath McGuirk, Labour member for West Finchley, said: “What I would like to have seen on the agenda was the terms and conditions of the board that is allegedly meeting in the new year.

“I think that would have been real progress.

“As ward councillors, we have had one meeting some time ago. We have not seen progress in this report from the meeting we had.”

Cllr Geof Cooke, Labour member for Woodhouse, said: “It is not clear to me who decides who sits on the board to represent residents. What is the governance of that?

“There should be space for members of the public who have an interest in the matter.”

Cllr Thomas said that he and his officers would decide who sits on the board – but he gave assurances that there would be “cross-party involvement” in the plans.

Jamie Robinson, head of business, employment and skills at Capita-run regional enterprise, said: “We are interested in a diverse range of businesses’ and residents’ views, and we are inviting people to join the board on that basis.

“We have been slightly delayed in getting that message out, but we will be getting that message out in January.”

The council has pledged to send 20,000 letters to households in Woodhouse, West Finchley and Totteridge to publicise the partnership board.

Councillors unanimously agreed the report’s recommendations.