Comment News

The Ballymore Edgware development – caught in the middle

A concerned local resident calls for a compromise on plans for The Broadwalk Centre

The Broadwalk Centre in Edgware and (inset) plans for its redevelopment
The Broadwalk Centre in Edgware and (inset) plans for its redevelopment

Having seen both sides to the argument, I want to offer a middle ground view of the proposed Ballymore redevelopment of Edgware town centre.

Over the last few months since Ballymore revealed their intentions for The Broadwalk Centre and car park site – and there has been a great deal of heated argument from both sides of the divide. 

Our society increasingly finds itself on opposing sides these days, and the arena in which the ‘discussions’ take place is most often on social media, with X/Twitter being the preferred platform. 

The debate in Edgware has seen the participation of the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), local people who don’t want the development to take place, and the YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard), who either seem to oppose any alteration to the developers plans or, in the most extreme cases, desire even more development.

How does one see beyond these two extremes? Without doubt, Edgware, much like many town centres across the UK, needs some TLC. To say it is looking a bit shabby is putting it mildly. It desperately needs investment. 

Ballymore with its development partners Transport for London and Barnet Council see this high-density development as the solution. The constant argument for more homes cannot be denied, and the Mayor of London is under great pressure to get more homes built in Greater London. 

The existing Broadwalk Centre was built over thirty years ago, when Edgware was a different place, as was London. The centre has seen better days. A few years back Marks and Spencer, one of the original ‘anchor’ shops closed its doors, deciding to invest its efforts into nearby Colindale. 

The centre car park is often under used too. Space for building is tight, and so the decision to redevelop this part of Edgware seems to make sense.  

But – on the other side of the argument – what is it going to be like for long term residents of Edgware to have a huge new residential development built on their doorsteps? 

To accommodate the number of homes needed Ballymore has created a solution that will see a large number of apartment blocks built cheek by jowl into a fairly small area. 

From a personal point of view, I find the Ballymore plans staggering. 

It will change Edgware forever. It will change the local skyline forever. Change is hard for some people to deal with and there needs to be some thought and sensitivity about this. 

Sadly, what has happened on social media has reflected quite badly on both sides of the argument. 

For some, the ‘Save Our Edgware’ group, who exist on Facebook have been seen as obstructive to change and stopping the opportunity of desperately needed new homes being built. 

On the other side, a rather militant Twitter/X account called ‘Say Yes to Edgware’ has been vocal in pushing the YIMBY message. 

The worrying aspect of the latter is that anyone who stands up to Say Yes to Edgware has found themselves savaged, and ‘piled-on’ by the account’s followers, many of whom clearly don’t live in Edgware or indeed London. 

The Save Our Edgware group is fully accountable with named administrators and the majority of posts coming from verified named users, whereas Say Yes to Edgware is an account that is anonymous and completely unaccountable for its content.  

I am not coming out in favour of either, but the difference between the two is noticeable. The fact that an anonymous account can effectively say what it likes, to the point of being quite offensive, effectively disqualifies its intentions, in my humble opinion. 

Of course, as the reader of this article, you will now be asking why I have decided to remain anonymous. That is because, having seen how Say Yes to Edgware measures out its sense of heavy justice, I have no desire to be rounded on by a mass of its devout followers. The fact that Barnet Post exists, allows me the chance to present my points in a way that will hopefully avoid that.

My own view is that there should be a middle way. Edgware can be redeveloped. 

It can have new homes, shops, a cinema, etc. However, all that needs to be done in a way that does not tear the local community apart. 

People who have lived in the area for years, who have bought homes, and invested their time and money should be treated with respect. 

Outsiders may find it hard to think anyone could love Edgware, but don’t be so hard on those who have lived here all their lives and brought up families. It is their home; they have a right to be heard. 

They certainly shouldn’t be disregarded by individuals who set up anonymous social media accounts, with the deliberate intention of mocking their forthright views.  

The London Borough of Barnet needs to shoulder its responsibility for new homes in London. The point is, why do they all need to be in Edgware town centre, stacked up like tubes of Pringles? 

Just because Edgware, like Colindale and Burnt Oak are seen by many as ‘run down’, why does that mean that they need to be over developed, whilst areas like Totteridge and Mill Hill stay low rise and unspoilt? 

There is a definite need for affordable homes for younger people starting out in life. Why should they be effectively kept out of Edgware because they cannot afford the house prices or rentals?

The planning submission for Ballymore’s plans will be taking place soon, and that planning panel need to think very carefully how they deal with Edgware’s future. 

It isn’t just steel and concrete they want to build, its community and quality of life. All of that will mean nothing if the existing community are at each other’s throats.  Find a middle way for Edgware. 

By DFIMBY – Don’t Fight in My Back Yard, a concerned local resident. 

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