Developers this week make public details of a 20-year £4 billion regeneration of Brent Cross and Cricklewood. BEENA NADEEM finds out what planners aim to do to make the area the pride of Barnet

A riverfront lined with Mediterranean-style cafes, a modern and refined town centre, 7,500 homes with a thriving pedestrianised high street complete with mock Victorian walkways, new schools, health centres, multi-screen cinemas and leisure centres all sound impressive enough.

Throw into the equation jazzed up parks, improved transport networks including a new train station and bus station, walkways joining together tree-lined squares and a huge shopping district. Add to that a commercial district of up to four million square feet and polish the look off by rerouting the River Brent, creating a breathtaking riverside vista.

Residents may be forgiven for thinking that the opening of this week's detailed plans for the redevelopment of this blighted part of Barnet is more Hollywood than Cricklewood, but with a £4 billion budget to spend and two decades planned to transform this area, this is no small-scale investment for the firm leading the works, Brent Cross and Cricklewood Development Partners.

This week, a pre-application consultation will not only inform residents of what to expect in detail, but an information kiosk displaying notes, plans and maps of the redevelopment will also allow people to finally have their say on a project that's been talked about for years.

Jonathan Joseph, development manager for the partners, said although a planning application will not be officially submitted until next spring, he expects Barnet Council - with which developers have worked closely - to approve it: He said: "The planning policy is already adopted by the council and we are able to deliver a new town centre for the area.

"It will deliver the best facilities for people, centred around a new high street connecting into the new station and to a pedestrianised shopping centre passing through public squares lined with shops, bars and restaurants."

Councillor Mike Freer, the council leader, confirmed the council is likely to give the redevelopment the thumbs up in spring.

He said: "This area has long been recognised as needing major investment. At the moment it is very poorly planned and different parts of the area are cut off from each other by the road and rail layout.

"Previous plans for the area failed to address these issues and our development framework sets out a strong vision for a new town centre for Barnet."

Despite this all sounding like a gigantean challenge - the redevelopment area covers the size of 250 football pitches - work will unfold in more manageable phases.

The timing of each phase won't be revealed until January, although part of the work is hoped to be completed within five years.

This will include the redevelopment of Clitterhouse Playing Fields, the development of a library, community centre, community squares and new schools. Major transport improvements, starting with the new bus station and the building of a bridge where Templehof Bridge currently runs over the North Circular will begin too.

Only then - when an infrastructure is in place - will pe ople begin moving in to the area.

The redevelopment can be split in to five major areas: Transport A new train station on the Midland Mainline will connect to Kings Cross and beyond, while a bus station will replace the existing one, and will introduce more routes in, out and around the area.

A redevelopment spokesman said: "Other improvements will help ease the flow of cars.

"We will provide public transport for people - that's important so people don't have to drive, but we understand that Barnet is a place where people use their cars and we are not trying to stop people using their cars."

New road junctions will also be put in - one off the A41 (Hendon Way) and the other on the A5 (Edgware Road).

Facilities New parks and gardens will be put in, as well as cleaning up the existing Clitterhouse Playing Fields. Play areas and sports facilities will be dotted in between public squares and walkways. Some of these will be shared by new schools being built.

The existing Whitefield School with be granted new facilities and will cater for a larger intake, as will Mapledown School, which will get more modern facilities. So too Clitterhouse Junior and Infant School.

A new health centre is planned, supported by a smaller surgery. Residents can expect to see a new community centre, library and a multi-screen cinema.

Claremont Park, Sturgess Park and Millennium Green will all undergo a clean-up, while new parks will be created, including the Brent Riverside Park, which as its name suggests, will provide a riverside walk.

Existing recycling facilities will be improved and plans to use non-recylables as a fuel source for power is also being considered.

High Street The High Street will connect the new mainline station and commercial district in the west, to Brent Cross shopping centre and the bus station in the north. The high street will have a new supermarket, leisure centre and schools, and will be pedestrianised. There will be underground multi-storey car parks for shoppers.

The south of the North Circular will feature tree-lined pavements with either side dotted with coffee houses, bars and restaurants.

Housing Residential streets will play a huge part in the redevelopment.

The partnership said it hopes to attract people of all ages and status in a mix of housing including social housing for key workers and homes for the elderly. Most properties will be one to four-bedroomed flats, with a few houses adjacent to the river. Flats will range from three storeys right through to 20. Underground parking will be available.

Jobs The town centre is expected to be a major boost to the economy of the area, and along with the commercial district will eventually create around 27,000 jobs. The redevelopment aims to create up to four million square feet of employment space in buildings up to 25-storeys high, near transport networks.

For a chance to see the plans and to have your say, visit the BXC Messenger kiosk between 10am and 6pm at: Brent Cross shopping centre, October 12 to 18, B&Q car park, Cricklewood Lane, October 20 to 24, Whitefield Estate, Prayle Grove, October 26 to 28 and Tesco Brent Cross car park, October 31 to November 5.