Photo of the Railway Hotel in Edgware. It is a faux Tudor building with broken and boarded up windows

Barnet Council vote to buy historic Edgware pub

Barnet Council have voted in favour of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the historic Railway Hotel pub in Edgware.

This comes after the council announced that the Grade II listed building is in severe danger of irreparable damage.

A CPO is a legal mechanism that allows certain bodies to acquire land without the owner’s consent.

Conservative councillor for Edgware Lucy Wakeley, 23, explained: “The process of a CPO requires time as the owner has to be given time to fix up the building and warnings.

“There’s still a long way to go but it’s very positive that the council have voted for the CPO. The political will is there, it’s now just a long legal process.

“It’s been a cross party campaign. Everybody wants to see the pub restored.”

As the hotel is a listed building, the council have a legal obligation, but also a political one, as residents have been clear that they want to see change, Wakeley explained.

She added: “We want to make sure the building is preserved. It doesn’t just have significance in Edgware.

“As I’ve been working on this campaign, I’ve seen all the people who want the pub to be saved. Saving pubs is a bigger campaign in England too.

“We don’t know what will be done with the property should the CPO go through. We know it’ll be something to serve the community. But it’s very early stages still.

“We’re going to have to see what the inside is like before decisions can be made.”

The Railway Hotel was built in 1931, and is on Historic England’s at-risk register.

In recent years, local concerns over the neglect of a historic landmark have led to campaigns to save the building.

Edgware resident and campaigner Scott Willbond, 21, said: “There is no doubt that the Railway Hotel holds a special place in the hearts of many members of our community.”

Since 2018, Willbond has been running the Twitter account ‘The Railway Hotel Edgware’ which posts updates on the hotel, and helps to organise the local campaign to save it.

The hotel is central to Edgware’s history, according to Mark Amies, 54, author of ‘London’s Industrial Past’ and ‘Flying Up the Edgware Road’.

When the hotel was built, Edgware was connected to the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway.

The railway declined, but was a precursor to parts of the Northern line.

Amies, who has campaigned to save the hotel, believes the Railway Hotel’s distinctive architecture makes it special to Edgware residents.

He added: “To lose it would be a terribly sad waste.”

There have been two fires in recent years, and Amies explained that campaigners and the council do not know the extent of damage to the interior of the building.

The fires especially have been causing residents’ concerns, Wakeley added.

Next door to the hotel is the site for the Ballymore development, the upcoming project to redevelop Edgware Station Road in association with Transport For London.

Residents would like to see the hotel repaired to match the new development.  

Amies is pragmatic about the time a restoration for the hotel will take, but is excited to see what new purpose the building could serve.

Ideas have been floated for the future use of the building, including a community centre, a museum, and a hotel and pub once again, but there is a long process ahead before the Edgware Hotel can be restored to its former glory.

Featured image credit: Sophia Massam

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