The Mayor of London has given the go ahead for the major 844-home residential regeneration of the former Pentavia Retail Park in Barnet, North London.  The development will set an ambitious new precedent for harnessing the potential of brownfield “infill” sites, such as Pentavia, to help meet London’s urgent need for housing.

The development was informed by, and developed, with input from Barnet Council, the GLA and in consultation with residents, businesses and local stakeholders. eb7 advised the developer Meadow Residential on the glare and light pollution impact as part of the approval process.

The proposal by award-winning architecture and interior design practice Arney Fender Katsalidis, for Meadow Residential, delivers 844 high quality new homes, 35% of Barnet’s annual housing target. 41% of the homes will be genuinely affordable. The development will also provide an expansive central ‘green heart’ of landscaped spaces and pocket parks together with new retail and amenity space for residents and the wider Mill Hill area. 

The high-quality new homes comprise a mixture of one and two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom family homes. The development proposes a unique mix of homes, creating a genuinely mixed community that will provide homes for rent, homes for sale and genuinely affordable housing.

The innovative re-imagination of Pentavia Retail Park will dramatically improve its biodiversity and sustainability. 660 new trees will be planted to act as ‘green lungs’ for the community (which will absorb around 14.52 tonnes of carbon each year) and 10,193sqm worth of terraces, balconies and rooftop amenity space – an area larger than two football pitches – will be provided for residents to enjoy. The site will also be ‘stitched’ back into Mill Hill through enhanced transport links and new cycle and pedestrian connections and access routes.

The heart of the community will be shaped around a central courtyard and a series of interlinked green spaces, with balconies and useable roof terraces overlooking and offering superb views across the area. A new central pedestrian link, ‘Mill Hill Walk’, will be introduced through the centre of the site, to improve access and links to Bunns Lane and surrounding areas. This expansive ‘green heart’ includes a grand central courtyard which will be open community space for relaxing, al fresco dining, with playgrounds and amenities for residents all year round. 

As part of the development, £15m will be spent on improvements to local transport and the public realm. This will include reconnecting the site to Mill Hill with new pedestrian and cycle connections, new public parks and green spaces, as well as improvements to existing underpasses, public walkways and access routes. 

The applicant is already in discussions with housing associations regarding the affordable homes provision and is resourced to proceed.

Andrew McDaniel of Meadow Residential said: “I would firstly thank the Mayor and his officers at City Hall for calling the application in and granting permission for this important development. Our plans for new homes at Pentavia Retail Park are precisely what London needs. Access to quality homes, at an affordable price, is something desperately needed in Mill Hill, not least for the many key public sector workers who provide vital services in local schools and hospitals, many of whom we’ve spoken to in the last few months.  We look forward to delivering 844 new homes for Londoners.

Earle Arney, CEO, Arney Fender Katsalidis added: “We are absolutely delighted that the Mayor of London has approved our proposals to take a largely unused retail park and reimagine it into a thriving, sustainable new residential community. The proposal ‘breathes new life’ into this brownfield site by creating a sheltered ‘green heart’ that will be blessed with fresh air, sunlight and a rich biodiversity.  Over 600 new trees will act as ‘green lungs’, together with landscaped spaces larger than two football pitches. These green spaces are for all - every home will look into and have access to them. Moreover, the development includes 41% genuinely affordable homes, with over half being Build to Rent, to make a substantial contribution towards meeting local housing needs. This will be a transformational scheme for new generations of Mill Hill residents, helping to address London’s housing crisis. There should be no reason why other disused sites are not developed in a similar fashion if we as a community are serious about creating much-needed healthy homes for Londoners.”

Jonathan Lonergan, Director of eb7, comments: “With the great need for an increase in housing levels, across London in particular, it was extremely important to get this project right. Our assessment included looking at the impact of sky glow on the UCL observatory, light pollution, and scattered light from car headlights from the M1 and A1, none of which has standard methodologies, so we were certainly breaking new ground to demonstrate there would be no adverse effects from the proposed development. We worked very closely with Meadow Residential and the project team to help ensure the success of this important scheme and we are delighted with the outcome.”