Our response to the emerging masterplan

5th April 2023

Here is our email response to Ballymore's emerging masterplan:

Dear Ballymore,

We are writing to you on behalf of our community to address concerns about the proposed town centre masterplan that you are developing. While we agree with your objective of developing a vibrant and sustainable town centre that caters to the needs of local residents and draws visitors from outside the area, we are concerned that the current proposal falls short of adequately reflecting our community's needs and views.

Through engagement with local residents, we have become aware of three predominant areas of concern:

The biggest concern is the proposed building heights and their potential impact on the area. Residents appreciate the need for development and progress, but from reading the comments of your online consultations, replies to the councils joint SPD in 2021 and from online discussions, the large majority of residents feel that the proposed building heights are excessive and out of character for the town centre. The proposed high-rise buildings would significantly alter the skyline and overshadow the surrounding area, diminishing the suburban character of Edgware. They are excessively tall and not appropriate for the area. The majority of your proposed building heights unnecessarily exceed the Edgware Growth Area SPD, which states there is "potential for buildings higher than eight storeys, and for very tall buildings of over 14 storeys subject to exceptional design quality".

This links into the second concern residents have, which is the building design. We understand that there is a need to accommodate a growing population, but it is essential to balance this with the preservation of the town's heritage and aesthetics. Many fear that these towering structures will detract from the unique character of the area and turn it into a generic urban landscape. Many have already compared the designs unlovingly to Colindale, with others commenting on the design as generic and not in harmony with the surrounding architecture. The design falls out of your “more Edgware, less anywhere” slogan, and does not represent the area well. Any new buildings should blend in with the existing structures, creating a sense of continuity and a feeling of place, as well as meeting the needs of modern living.

Thirdly, there are concerns about the lack of infrastructure to accommodate such a large number of new homes in such a dense area. For residents, car parking stands out the most. The plans could be clearer about space, but from what we gather the increase in parking spaces is substantially inadequate to the population growth predicted from the development. Residents are also concerned about the strain 4,000 new homes will have on existing infrastructure, including already high congestion, overfull GP surgeries, schools, and dentists. There are not enough details about how this will be sustained.

Before we can support your final masterplan we would like to see:

We strongly hope you can take these into consideration as you develop the final masterplan, which we look forward to reading with the next round of public consultation.

Yours sincerely,

Edgware Voice

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