People are being given more time to have their say on plans to build houses and flats on Barnet farmland.

The council has extended the deadline for the Whalebones estate planning consultation until September 16.

It comes after MP for Chipping Barnet Theresa Villiers warned many people would be away on holiday and unable to have their say by the original August 20 deadline.

Developer Hill Residential wants to build 152 houses and flats on fields and woodland at the estate in Wood Street, High Barnet, which is surrounded by a conservation area.

The developer says the plans would provide 40 per cent affordable homes and create public spaces on what is currently private land.

Grade II-listed Whalebones house – named after the blue whale jawbones at the park’s entrance on Wood Street – would be kept as it is.

But Ms Villiers said there was “strong local opposition” to the development, adding that many residents want to keep it as agricultural land.

The former owner of the Whalebones, Gwyneth Cowing, said in her will that she wanted the fields to be conserved for use as agricultural land for as long as possible.

Ms Villiers said: “It is a relief that the council have listened to the case I made to them to extend the deadline to September so more people can take part and make sure their views are heard in the planning process.

“As I have said before, these fields are an oasis of green in the middle of a London suburb. It would be heart-breaking to lose so much of them to development and it would be a great loss to the natural environment in Barnet.”

Ms Villiers presented a petition with more than 1,250 signatures to Parliament last month demanding a rethink by Hill Residential, and the owners of the land, the executors of the estate of Gwyneth Cowing.

A spokesperson at the Hill Group commented: “The proposals have developed over a two-year period following consultations with the local community on the form of development and the types of open spaces they wish to see on site.

“The site at present is private land to which there is no public right of access. Our proposals will provide 1.7 hectares for public open space to this area and will see almost 200 new trees planted – a 75 per cent increase in the numbers of trees on the site.

“In addition, over 600 metres of additional hedgerow will be planted, which along with an extensive scheme of bat and bird boxes will deliver significant biodiversity enhancements.

“The proposals achieve net zero carbon housing through a 36 per cent carbon reduction on site. All residential vehicle parking spaces will be enabled for electric vehicle charging.

“In addition to the proposed housing development, 40 per cent of which will be affordable, a sustainable purpose-built studio building will be provided to serve the requirements of the Barnet Beekeepers and Barnet Guild of Artists.

“There will also be a dedicated area for the existing agricultural tenants to allow them to continue looking after their livestock.”

You can have your say by entering the planning reference for Whalebones, 19/3949/FUL, on Barnet Council’s planning portal at: