Councillor column: getting to know Barnet Vale

Barnet Vale councillor Richard (Nym) Barnes (Labour) on representing a newly-formed ward

Cllr Richard (Nym) Barnes, Labour councillor for Barnet Vale ward on Barnet councillor
Cllr Richard (Nym) Barnes – Labour, Barnet Vale

Being newly formed in May 2022, the boundaries of Barnet Vale ward are not known well, even to those who live there. To the east it reaches up to the railway line running from Oakleigh Park station up to New Barnet station and Hadley Wood. The southern boundary is in North Whetstone and runs along Buckingham Avenue.

The ward goes up to (but does not include) Brook Farm and Wyatts Farm open space as well as Barnet Playing Fields. It covers High Barnet tube station, Queen Elizabeth’s Girls school and skirts around High Barnet back up to Monken Hadley Common.

The majority of Barnet Vale is residential in character. Open spaces include Tudor Sports Ground plus Monken Hadley Common in the north and Greenhill gardens. The A1000 is the major road running along the west of the ward with the Everyman cinema and shops of Western Parade and the Great North Road. There is also the collection of shops and cafes around Lytton Road and Leicester Road area.

There seem to be a healthy number of churches in Barnet Vale, so I am not unduly worried about the spiritual guidance for those of a Christian background at least. I am proud of the work done by the Chipping Barnet Foodbank based at Mary immaculate and St Peter Church.

I have also visited St John’s United Reform Church to see the support they were able to give Ukrainian Refugees and also the Incredible Edible Food project (which I was able to support with a funding request).  I have also been impressed by the community work done by the Flower Bank in Leicester Road and was pleased to be able to support Age UK with their bid for Dementia Friendly Flower arrangements.

I have got to know The Barnet Society and the Barnet Residents Association particularly with their concerns about some of the development taking place in the ward and further afield.

Being involved on two of the council planning committees, I know how important it can be for some residents to be able to improve their property and also that there can be serious community concerns particularly about the larger developments proposed.

Before the most recent council elections, the newly formed Barnet Vale was not a focus for political campaigning, so residents did not have many leaflets delivered or visits appealing for their vote. This may have been a relief to some while others may have felt they would have liked more! Since being elected, we have been busy contacting and meeting with as many residents as possible. Visiting coronation street parties was an excellent way of doing this.

Barnet Vale is the one split ward in the borough of Barnet which I share with my fellow Labour councillor Marianne Haylett and my Conservative colleague David Longstaff. Over the last year, I have enjoyed getting to meet the diverse members of the ward and look forward to meeting a lot more of you.

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