TfL “ongoing dialogue” with fire brigade over Edgware underground bus garage

Campaigners says Broadwalk Centre consultation “a sham” due to developers not giving “the full facts” about fire risks reports David Floyd

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

The joint venture behind the controversial Broadwalk Centre development in Edgware has sought to allay fears about the potential fire risk from an underground bus garage that forms part of the plans.

Developers Transport for London and Ballymore say they have an “ongoing dialogue with London Fire Brigade and other stakeholders” as they develop their proposals, despite escalating criticism from campaign group Save Our Edgware. 

Last month, Save Our Edgware drew attention to a letter sent by London Fire Brigade (LFB) in November 2022 that said that the plan for the bus garage was “not feasible as laid out in the proposals supplied”. 

Now the campaign group has issued a statement saying that developers Ballymore and Transport for London failed to provide both Barnet councillors and the public with “the full facts” about the potential fire risk before consultation activity earlier this year, rendering the process “a sham”. 

The group’s statement says: “Save Our Edgware, a local residents group, has raised serious concerns about the fire risk of the Ballymore / TfL plan to charge at least 190 electric buses in an underground garage –potentially endangering 7,000 residents living in high-rise tower blocks above.

“The London Fire Brigade (LFB), in a letter dated November 2022, declared the Ballymore/TfL design ‘not viable.’ Despite this verdict, Ballymore and TfL proceeded to present the very same scheme to the public in Summer 2023. Save Our Edgware asserts that the entire public consultation process on a non-viable proposal is a sham.”

It adds: “We believe that Ballymore and TfL did not give Barnet councillors the full facts by portraying the scheme as viable. Save Our Edgware emphasises the importance of scheme viability for Barnet Council and calls for immediate action.”

When approached by Barnet Post for a response to the claims, the developers did not respond directly to the question of whether they had provided either councillors or the public with relevant information about potential fire risks associated with the planned bus garage, however the joint venture cited extensive consultation activities with thousands of residents and other stakeholders in the Edgware area. 

Responding to the issues raised by the LFB letter, a spokesperson for the development said: “The safety of our residents and all users of our developments is of paramount importance to us. The letter referenced dates from 2022 and since then we have had an ongoing dialogue with London Fire Brigade and other stakeholders and we are continuing to develop our proposals in response to feedback. 

“The garage will not be operational until 2030 at the earliest and we are clear that no electric vehicles will be permitted unless the design has been approved by the London Fire Brigade, Barnet Council, the Health & Safety Executive and Building Control. 

“We will continue to work closely with relevant authorities, battery and bus manufacturers to ensure the proposal is designed and built to the highest fire safety standards, with fully tested safety measures undertaken by a UK accredited testing house. 

They added: “The Edgware project will deliver nearly 3,500 new homes, including up to 1,150 affordable homes, creating hundreds of new jobs and £1.7billion of investment in regenerating the town centre. 

“It has also been designed to encourage the use of sustainable transport, which will improve air quality not just in Edgware but across Barnet – and beyond. We will continue to work closely with the Edgware community and stakeholders as we deliver a thriving future for Edgware.”

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