By Muted, of Edgware,
This is going to be the first of I hope many contributions I
am going to make to the blogs of Barnet Eye. I have long admired the work that
Roger Tichborne has done over the many years (Ed note: I didn't pay them to say this, I'd rather people didn't but I don't edit guest blogs unless asked to check). He has dedicated himself to what
is truly a community-centred journal. It gives residents of Barnet borough and
beyond a different take on what goes on in this part of London.
Naturally, this new proposal has shaken up many residents,
and quite rightly so. The very fabric of Edgware town centre is going to be
changed forever and it is likely to mean that Edgware will have a very
different feel to it. As usual with many of these schemes, Ballymore has
promised much, along with its partners in the scheme, Transport for London (
who will donate the land their bus garage and bus station which currently sit
on the site, as well as some legacy land along the Northern Line), Barnet
Council (who since the scheme was initiated changed from Conservative to Labour
control), and the ever-so -fluffy looking NLA ( New London Architecture), who
describe themselves as “…an
independent, purpose-led organisation for everyone with an interest in London’s
built environment. NLA’s programme and its family of brands and projects
engages the broadest possible audience across government, business and the
public to educate, challenge, connect and create positive change.” NLA is composed of the Corporation of London,
City of Westminster, London & Partners (yes, that is a new one to me too),
something called ‘London Councils’, the Mayor of London, Network Rail and
Transport for London.
The overall scheme clearly uses the need for housing in London as its primary excuse for existing. Yes, London needs more homes, in fact what it needs is more affordable homes, and the Ballymore scheme will include this, but it is not a major component. In September, Ballymore will submit its planning proposal, and at that point the residents of Edgware will have an opportunity to voice their thoughts. One thing is for sure, Ballymore and its partners will have their way. They spent a reported £75 million buying the Broadwalk shopping centre, and they will want a return on that investment, plus profits.
As a soft front to this major scheme, New London Architecture, along with Ballymore, Barnet Council and Transport for London came up with a jolly thing called ‘More Edgware, Less Anywhere’ - a competition described as ‘ … inviting emerging architects, landscape architects and designers to develop and submit a proposal for a new public realm intervention that will test ideas for ‘re-greening’ Edgware town centre and can help inform long term improvements to the area.” - if you can make sense of that, then you are a better person than me.
So, with this huge development, (that will apparently take ten years to build), one would think that the voices of disquiet would be piercing the suburban air of north west London…., but as yet it seems not. There appears to be two Facebook groups one with over 600 members called ‘Save Our Edgware’ and another with about 270 members called ‘Local residents against Broadwalk development’. There is also an anonymous platforms that exists in the form of a website, Twitter and Facebook accounts, called ‘Edgware Voice Future Edgware’. The weblink is here - https://www.edgwarevoice.org/ . It claims ‘We are an independent community-run account’, but there are no physical addresses and no names attached to it. Its Facebook page was set up in June 2022, and has 38 followers. Its Twitter account was set up at the same time and has 85 followers. Of course, there are other voices of disquiet to be seen on social media all acting independently.
One thing I must say is that the NLA competition name of ‘More Edgware, Less Anywhere’ is really quite something. It is effectively suggesting that Edgware is currently a place that (to quote the Beautiful South), could be anywhere, at all. It gives the impression that Edgware is just another dull, anonymous London suburban town, and that somehow, the benevolent forces of Ballymore and its partners will magically transform it into …’a destination’. Pretty insulting stuff really. It is the sort of mission that is carried out from a central London office, by a team of 20 to 30 somethings called ‘Seb’ and ‘Jaz’, who have probably never visited Edgware.
So, how do you feel about that? Maybe you don’t care. Maybe
you are one of the many people who exist on Facebook memory groups who used to
live in Edgware and now consider it past its best (or in other more colourful
and vulgar terminology). Maybe you do care, and maybe you might just want be
ready in September for that Ballymore & Co planning application and get
ready to speak your mind. Either way, don’t be the person who says in ten
years’ time. “Isn’t it awful what they did with Edgware, someone should have
Back in January 2020, I made a film about the decline of Edgware with local historian Mark Amies. Who knew then that things would get worse?
Muted of Edgware is a local resident who is sick to death with what they are seeing happen in Edgware. They do not wish their name to be public.
Guest Blogs are always welcome