SUPERMARKET giants Tesco and Asda are jostling for support after publishing rival proposals to redevelop New Barnet.

Tesco’s application, to be formally submitted to Barnet Council in the summer, contains a 30,000-sq ft superstore, several small shop units along East Barnet Road, a “small residential development”

in Victoria Road and parking for 200 cars.

The highest buildings in the site, based between Victoria Road and East Barnet Road, would be two storeys – reduced from the eight proposed prior to consultation.

Asda’s plans, submitted to Barnet Council on February 16, would involve demolishing existing buildings on 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 intends to make “environmental improvements” to Albert Road and create a pedestrian area at the entrance of Victoria Recreation Ground.

More than 1,000 residents have signed a petition opposing both proposals, which they believe will bring gridlock, noise and pollution to the town centre and squeeze out smaller retailers.

They had also opposed a Tesco Express store in Victoria Road, which got the green light on appeal three weeks ago, despite being only minutes away from another Tesco Express and a Sainsbury’s.

Tesco said it had adapted its proposal in line with residents’ wishes and was confident of winning over the community.

Spokesman James Wiggam said: “We have consulted widely and listened carefully on our proposals for New Barnet. We are now offering a scheme that still provides major investment and additional shopping choice in the town centre but retains the character of East Barnet Road.

“Much of the existing High Street will be retained. We have reduced the size of the store and significantly reduced the height of the development, removing the flats. One look at the new plans will prove that we have listened.

“Tesco’s town centre proposals now offer a clear alternative to the larger development submitted by Asda Wal-mart. People now have a chance to choose where they want their town centre and how large it needs to be.”

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

“We are seeking consent to deliver a scheme that 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,” he said.

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

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

David Howard, trustee of the New Barnet Residents Association, which is leading the Save New Barnet Campaign, said he would reserve his judgement on the Tesco redevelopment until its application was complete.

“It doesn’t seem as bad as the original proposal, but the devil is in the detail. The supermarket is still far too large and the cars will still come in and out of Victoria Road, creating a bottleneck.

“However, the Asda plans are just laughable. Should this development proceed to final construction, the pressure from this carbuncle on East Barnet Road and surrounding routes would be too nightmarish to contemplate.”

Save New Barnet campaign spokesman Roger Aitken said: "Prior to this new Tesco proposal, the weight of opinion indicated a hardening of residents' views against the superstore plans, with a higher percentage being against the Tesco plan.

"But if it turns out the original 260 flats in Tesco plan will shrink to as little as five town houses, this will indeed be a victory for local democracy and 'Save New Barnet' campaign.

"However, there still remain concerns even if the number of storeys has been scaled back. It’s unknown at this stage what the extent of demolition works will be.

"Furthermore, the level of additional road traffic would mushroom during peak hours and there are scant details on what leisure facilities - if any - will be added to the mix."