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Borough by borough: Barnet
The surrounding countryside together with good underground and national rail connections make Barnet very popular with commuters and families. It currently has the second-highest population of all the London boroughs, but a move into first place is expected by 2024.
Barnet’s location in outer north London, combined with a topography of hills and countryside, means it is slightly less densely populated than the other London boroughs. However, with 14 Northern line tube stations and a further six national rail or over ground stations, the borough is extremely popular with commuters and families. To this end, the tenure of choice in the borough is owner-occupation with two thirds of households owning their own home and 60% of the housing stock comprising houses, of which the majority are detached or semi-detached.
The popularity of the borough is expected to boost the population by 12% over the next ten years, increasing to 424,189 by 2024 and making it the most populated of all London boroughs. This increase will undoubtedly place pressure on the local housing situation, where the average house price is currently £454,000, up 56% over the last ten years.
The Council currently has a target to increase the number of households in the borough by 31,000, by 2026 which should relieve some pressure on the housing market. In light of this, 2014 saw Barnet achieve the second largest number of completed new build schemes of all the London boroughs. With 14 schemes totalling 819 units completed, this is a good start to achieving the Council’s stated targets. There are also a further 26 schemes currently under construction in the borough, totalling 3,547 new units.
One of Barnet’s most ambitious regeneration and new housing projects is Brent Cross Cricklewood. This scheme covers an area of around 350 acres of large retail units and surface car parking, vacant or unused land and poor connectivity over railway lines and major roads. In 2010 the development secured planning permission for a master plan to create a new town centre including 7,500 new homes, three re-built schools, new parks, recreation and leisure centres, an additional mainline train station, and major road and transport improvements including better pedestrian connectivity.