Regular readers of the Barnet & Potters Bar Times will be well aware of the battle between the supermarket chains now heating up in New Barnet.

Last week, New Barnet Community Association — the group which is heading up the campaign against inappropriate supermarket development in the area — invited me to a meeting with Asda to discuss the company’s controversial plans for the six-acre site at the former gasworks off Albert Road.

Asda submitted its planning application to Barnet Council a few days ago. Tesco is expected to do the same sometime this autumn in relation to a nearby site on the north side of East Barnet Road. The two chains are facing fierce opposition from me and many residents.

The meeting with Asda gave an excellent opportunity to thrash out some of the concerns of local people, following the highly successful public meeting which saw St James’ Church in East Barnet Road packed out with concerned residents.

Throughout the debate I have argued New Barnet does not need a big new superstore, never mind two. With Sainsbury’s on the spot and Asda not a million miles away in Southgate (not to mention some excellent small retailers in New Barnet and East Barnet), consumers in New Barnet already have genuine choice when it comes to their weekly grocery shop.

Another point we put strongly to Asda at the meeting concerns the extra traffic a new supermarket on the Albert Road site would generate. I was interested to see the optimistic research and forecasts on traffic Asda presented to the meeting, but no one can get round the fact that its plans (and Tesco’s) would put significant pressure on the junction of Victoria Road, Albert Road and East Barnet Road.

I cannot see what can be done to improve the junction to enable it to cope with the increase in the volume of cars that would come with a new superstore.

After all, the railway bridge just a few yards away from the junction provides an immovable object which is always going to put a drastic restriction on the options for improving traffic flow.

The railway was the catalyst for the creation of New Barnet in the 19th Century and, to this day, the railway infrastructure slicing through the area continues to be a big factor in determining what is and isn’t practical in terms of development.

That said, it seems clear to me that Asda is making more of an effort than Tesco to engage with the community and respond to its concerns.

I welcome some of the changes it has made to its proposals. Asda’s current plans are certainly better than the high-rise development looming over Victoria Recreation Ground which it was putting forward a few months ago.

However, these changes are not enough to reassure me. I remain firmly opposed to both the Tesco and the Asda options.

I will continue to support residents in their campaign to save New Barnet from an unnecessary new superstore.