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Friday, 17 June 2016

THE POCKET PARK PLAN FOR BROADWAY | The Friday Feature | Music Video from Market Stage

Many of you have heard about the plan that the Mill Hill Neighbourhood Forum has been working on for a while about creating a public space on Broadway in our town centre where we can all meet and where small events can be run for the community.  A true community space run by the community for the community.

Plans have been made and earlier this summer the Pocket Park won a grant from Tesco towards the cost.  The park still needs more money because Barnet is cash strapped as we all know.

This is the space empty next to Boots to show you its size and how it is not utilised at present.


Last weekend for three days Barnet Council gave the World Village Market and the Forum permission to utilise the space for a weekend event as a trial of its suitability for a Pocket Park.   This was to see how the public took to it and to see what sort of impact it made on the area and what facilities would be needed for such a venture on this site.

From our point of view we think it was an amazing success.  On Friday our household had our dinner sitting at the benches eating the wonderful street food and meeting many local friends and meeting new local people.  I even bumped into Roger who runs the brilliant BARNET EYE blog which you should read regularly and you can see its latest article to the left of this one.

The music was a lovely thing to have on Broadway and on Saturday families and many visitors packed the small square out and had food and drinks in a civilised and al fresco way.

From our point of view the Pocket Park should have seating and a regular coffee cart - as well as guest food at weekends and whenever possible in the summer acoustic music augmented by the livelier stuff at Market festivals and Choirs and brass bands at Christmas.  The overwhelming view of everyone at the event was when can we have this again and isn't this a fantastic thing to have on our Broadway.  We want to congratulate the Mill Hill Neighbourhood Forum and Vibe Market for organising this, Market Square for bringing such an excellent stage and food to our street, and to Barnet Council and their employees for carrying this out professionally and making it all work.

Please write to Barnet Council and to the Neighbourhood Forum on their websites and let them know that you enjoyed it and that you want to see the permanent pocket park with furniture and greenery replace that dead spot next to Boots to create an oasis for the local population.  The more that write the better it will be because it will show them how much we want the pocket park - and quickly so we can enjoy our outdoor space on Broadway.

VIDEO From the event featuring HARRIPAUL at a packed Saturday event in Pocket Park

LAUREN LUCILLE live from The Market Stage
More videos will be posted on the site over the weekend look out for the article.


Finally I asked John Gillet of the Forum what future  plans they have for the Pocket Park  in the light of this trial and he responded by giving me this information :

Pocket Park, definition:
“Small areas of inviting public space where people can enjoy relief from the hustle and bustle of city streets

"The Pocket Park at Brockenhurst Gardens as it joins the Broadway Mill Hill, will provide places to sit, to meet friends or simply relax and take a short period of quiet time in a hectic schedule to gather your thoughts etc. It will have benches and flowers/shrubs in planters that can be moved to accommodate pop-up events such as the sound stage and Street Food or Drink stalls as demonstrated recently at the World Village Market. In different seasons it will be configured for a variety of activities for example during the holiday season around Christmas a Nordman Fir tree could be installed and carol singers programmed to perform at peak periods."

This initiative is being promoted by the Mill Hill Neighbourhood Forum and having received a grant from Tesco they are also working with Barnet Council to deliver the vision. The Council have additionally determined in their recent strategic paper on Parks & Open Spaces that they intend “To work with partners to create a framework to promote Barnet’s night time economy in appropriate public spaces such as pocket parks within/adjacent to Town Centres by 2017”  

The pocket park in Mill Hill could be a first for Barnet.

It is important to note that to allay any possible fears about it attracting anti-social behaviour, a CCTV camera is strategically placed such that the Pocket Park can be under surveillance at all times. 

We saw many thousands visit the park for the trial and saw no hint of any unsocial behaviour over the two full days we attended but it is good to know that even when not in use for supervised activity plans have been drawn up to protect the space for locals.

The FRIDAY FEATURE SAYS :  To find out more or to offer sponsorship of the seating areas and plants/trees or even to sponsor an event or to offer a service relating to the this project then use the contact below.  However, please let the Council and your local MP and Councillors know what a great idea this is for the area - and we have been starved of initiatives for years in this area - yet we pay the top whack of Council Tax in the Borough.  It is time we stood up and got value for our money and the Pocket Park is the first step towards this.  As long as initiatives benefit the whole community our site will continue to push them and publicise them for free !

For more information etc. please contact John.
John H Gillett
Chairman- Mill Hill - Neighbourhood Forum


  1. The park is areally lovely idea, and would be nice to sit and relax but What will happen to the parking spaces that are currently in that area. I am disabled and use Boots for my medication and regularly park in that area as I can not walk very far.

    1. Totally understand this, but there are spaces directly outside Boots, I agree there should be a specific disabled space outside boots and care chemists on Broadway. I suggest you contact the forum, who will be keen to help you. The park iszisz at least 6-12 months away, so plenty of time to sort this out. Thank you for pointing this out.