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Demolition begins at The Green

The 4th November 2004 marked the official start of the demolition of the car park, footbridge and banqueting hall. Unfortunately no one bothered to tell the public so it was a public relations own goal.
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The long awaited start of the demolition works at Edmonton Green was marked by a ceremony on 4th November 2004. A marquee was set up on the Concourse and a representative of St Modwen, Andy Love the local MP, the Mayor Of Enfield and a Councillor gave speeches to assembled ranks from St Modwen the developers, Enfield councillors and officials, a few representatives of other local organisations and some of the local press. There was then a symbolic breaking of a bit of car park wall and a release of balloons.

It would be nice to say that this was witnessed and supported by the public at large but no one had bothered to tell them about it, let alone invite them, so the whole exercise was a public relations disaster. I had heard about the event from a local reporter but even he had had to phone up Enfield Council to find the time and date because the press release didn't mention it.

Arriving at the scene I found a marquee had been set up on the Concourse, balloons were being blown up, and a mechanical wrecking machine was poised on New Road ready for some symbolic demolition. There was nothing to tell anyone what was going on.

I actually saw more people using the footbridge in the hour or two I was there than I have in all of the last few years and went up there myself to take a few pictures as it is views as well as structures that will be lost.

The invited guests then assembled for the speeches while outside the wrecking machine had a practice run.

While assorted dignitaries were togged out in safety gear and taken up to New Road to get in the photos, I  had been talking to a Councillor who was astonished when I told him that no one had told the public about the ceremony. He was also amazed when I told him I hadn't seen the plans and he took me in the marquee for a quick look. He said that they'd been open for public inspection or whatever for a good two years. Quite possibly they have been somewhere but surely the place to have put them would have been display boards on the Concourse where passers by could stop and see them.

Wandering outside again it turned out I was just in time to see the demolition begin.

An over enthusiastic Andy Love then shouted down that the balloons were to be released as if this was to be the highlight of the day, and thinking about it, it probably was, which doesn't say a lot.

After a short interval the demolition team clearly realised that even as a symbolic gesture the demolition was a bit pathetic (the Councillor I had spoken too had himself been expecting something a little more dramatic) and so a few more snips were taken to get a reasonable sized hole.

The guests began to depart but still the public passing by were stopping to ask what on earth was going on. It was clear that not only was no one aware of the event, but that most people didn't know any details of the development at all apart from vague rumours. Cymbeline Moore (pictured right) of the Enfield Gazette & Advertiser came across someone who definitely seemed to have something to say.

Having wandered through the South Mall I thought I'd take a few more photos of the car park while I had the chance. As I got to New Road I discovered that while not a lot was happening at the official event, demolition was well under way on the banqueting hall.

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