Hundreds of residents from New Barnet have reacted angrily to “nightmarish” Asda plans to redevelop the area, saying the superstore will cause congestion and destroy small businesses.

Asda’s proposal, submitted to Barnet Council on February 16, would involve the demolition of existing buildings in the old Gasworks site to the north of East Barnet Road to make way for a 10,500-sq-metre supermarket, 211 residential units, shops, restaurants, car parking and community space.

The company also plans to make “environmental improvements” to Albert Road and create a pedestrian area at the entrance of Victoria recreation ground.

But 1,200 residents have signed a petition opposing the proposals, which they believe will bring gridlock, noise and pollution to the town centre, and squeeze out smaller retailers.

They say there is no need for another supermarket to be built alongside the Sainsbury’s in East Barnet Road.

David Howard, trustee of the New Barnet Residents Association, which is leading the Save New Barnet Campaign, said: “The biggest single issue is traffic. Asda predicts there will be an extra 900 cars per hour coming here, and that doesn’t seem to include the traffic generated by the residential blocks.

“Should this development proceed to final construction the pressure from this carbuncle on East Barnet Road and surrounding routes would too nightmarish to contemplate.”

The campaigners also fear the store, predicted to take £12 million of annual revenue from Sainsbury’s and £3m from Waitrose in High Barnet, will force the closure of other supermarkets in the area, limiting choice.

But Mr Howard stressed the campaigners were not opposed to some form of redevelopment. An alternative proposal, drawn up by architects commissioned by the Save New Barnet Campaign, would see more family homes built, along with a swimming pool, skating park and youth club.

A spokesman said Asda had listened to the concerns and was satisfied the development would improve the area.

The company has committed £1.6m to improving the road infrastructure and is currently in talks with the council and residents over what community facilities it will provide.

The spokesman said: “In recent years New Barnet town centre has been in decline. There has been little investment in the shopping environment, which , is tired and outdated.

“We are seeking consent to deliver a scheme which will provide employment, much-needed housing provision and an offer of genuine retail competition and choice in New Barnet, helping to prevent the current leakage of trade to other north London centres.

“Our proposed contributions to the transport network will help to address concerns on traffic and will improve current peak-hour traffic problems.”

Theresa Villiers, Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet, opposes the application because of potential traffic problems.

She said: "The roads get very clogged up around New Barnet and the pressure of thousands of extra cars will make life very difficult for residents."

Residents are also concerned that Tesco, which has bought land between Victoria Road and East Barnet Road, will add a third supermarket to the area.

In January 2008 the company announced plans for a large mixed-use scheme that would include a Tesco store, housing, shops, community facilities and road improvements – but no formal application has been made.

Copies of Asda’s planning application can be found in East Barnet and Chipping Barnet libraries, and are available online at Residents have until April 1, 2009 to comment on the proposals. Comments can be emailed to

More information about the Save New Barnet campaign is available at visit