The (not) Protected View from Queens Mead and S2 /Churchill Quarter Developments

The view of the town centre – or rather the trees – from Queens Mead and the railway line, is protected.

Two developments will ruin this view : the S2 application to put 16 storeys in place of the former Maplins neo-georgian shop [planning here] and Churchill Quarter [planning here]. Please write and object to these so we do not loose the lovely view our council is supposed to protect.

The top photo montage is taken from the S2 application design and access statement. The montage below it is our montage showing the addition of the Council’s Churchill Quarter development. Ironically this view from Queens Mead is identified as a key view within the Town Centre Conservation Area which, under the legislation, it is ‘desirable to preserve or enhance’. Neither development takes any account of this statutory requirement.   

View of the town centre from Queens Mead showing S2 Development’s 16-storey proposed tower instead of the neo-georgian former Maplins shop. The Churchilll theatre tower is to the left.
View of the town centre from Queens Mead showing S2 Development’s 16-storey proposed tower, and the towers from the proposed Churchill Quarter. The Churchilll theatre tower is to the left.
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Beckenham Library – outline approved despite Conservation Area

Like the sale of Civic Centre land the Council’s proposed demolition of the Beckenham Library for a block of flats is another example of the Council flouting its own heritage protection policies in a misguided attempt to meet housing targets. 

The issue has been front page news several weeks running.  The Library is identified as key building in the Beckenham Elm Road Conservation Area designated by the Council and as such carries a presumption for its preservation in local and national policy.  Primary legislation Section 72 of the Listed Buildings and Conservation area Act requires a local authority to ‘pay special regard to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the architectural or historic character or appearance of a Conservation Area ‘ in the exercise of any of its planning functions. So far it would appear the Council have not paid any regard to their statutory duties as custodians of the historic environment.

Like the Civic Centre issue it has gone through a number of committee stages without any reference to its conservation area and a feasibility study for replacement flats has already been commissioned and approved in principle! 
Needless to say the civic society is supporting the Library Action Group in their efforts to save this building from the wreckers!
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Robert Dyas – a surprise Bromley resident


It has been good to welcome a branch of Robert Dyas now open in Bromley High Street and even more so since it has been discovered by staff at the Local Studies Library that Robert Dyas lived for the last 30 years of his life in Blyth Road, just off Beckenham Lane, in the Town Centre.    

Please object to the development, here at planning reference no : 19/04183 1, Blyth Road, Bromley BR1 3RS
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2019 Christmas Lights In Bromley

This year’s Christmas Lights in Bromley: the Christmas Tree in Market Square

This year, some of our heritage buildings have been flood lit on High Street, and it is well worth taking a trip in to look around them. The installation is by BID/Your Bromley, and Workmen have been busy installing the lights, by cherry picker, for months (your author had wondered why so many security lights were suddenly needed…) Here’s some of the history behind the buildings that are beautifully lit up this year:

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Write and Stop This Tower Block – we want our neo-Georgian shop to stay

Please write an objection to S2 Developments high rise, which they are going to demolish 66-70 high street to build at https://searchapplications.bromley.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=Q0UFGIBTHXZ00&activeTab=summary&fbclid=IwAR3LcximyjkvxvbNOUgGjQG5EP9FGy3Gb2iNa7Jn7wtQMbwAj4Hfwr_lGok

This 1932 neo-Georgian shop is one of only 2 buildings considered good enough to be worth saving in the proposed Master plan of the lower high street.

This proposal is much higher than the surrounding buildings (16 storeys compared with 2 or 4) , overbearing, and will stick out for miles around (being on the ridge top). 

This area already suffers from inadequate infrastructure – shortage of GPs, overcrowded stations – and these units would be better built on sites that are walking distance from one of the other 16 railway stations in the borough.  

S2 Developments have ignored the feedback from their public consultation and pushed ahead with their over-sized development. 

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Picturehouse is new home for rescued Art Deco Screens

coloured ray screen
Restored Art Deco screen, from Widmore Road co-op, at The PIcturehouse Cinema

“Look out in the new Picturehouse Cafe for the Art Deco screens from the former Co-op in Widmore Road.

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Proposals for Old Town Hall, from the new owners

Old Town Hall

Adding double-height mansard roof on two sides

Our initial thoughts are that although the leaflet contains precious little detail the proposals look promising.  74,000 sq ft of serviced offices is proposed for the both the 1907 town hall and the 1939 ‘extension’.  The hotel of 26 bedrooms replaces the 1970’s extensions that overlook Court Street (see artists impressions).  This seems far less obtrusive than the previous hotel proposals that were granted planning permission.   

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Picture Perfect Day, our heritage walks, in the words of a lady on the street…

A Picture Perfect Day


On Saturday 22nd June I lined up outside Boots in The Glades more out of curiosity than anything else, as a lifelong resident of the borough of Bromley I figured there wasn’t much I didn’t already know. How wrong I was, and what an absolutely fantastic day I experienced, along with at least 25 or 30 other folk. Our two hosts for the morning tour entitled ‘Bromley Palace and Park’ were clad in Victorian suits and hats and provided entertaining and illuminating information about aspects of Bromley previously unknown to me, and I’m sure others were equally surprised and delighted.

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Write To Stop Sell-Off of more Public Heritage Open Space

The site is part of the Bishop of Rochester’s Palace Park which is the setting of 6 listed buildings

stone and flint mini tower with arched window
To Be LOST: the stone-and-flint folly from the Bishops Palace – made with fragments found in the Moat during restoration work in the 19th Century

Please write and object to this sale to :David Mark Bowen, Director of Corporate Services, LB Bromley, Stockwell Close, Bromley, BR1 3UH  or email it to : mark.bowen@bromley.gov.uk    Mark it Proposed sale of land at Bromley Civic Centre  and include your name address and postcode otherwise it will not be accepted.  Don’t be put off by this mad deadline !:  Copies to the Ward Councillors and BCS would be welcome.
CllrNicky.Dykes@bromley.gov.uk   William.Harmer@bromley.gov.uk   Michael.Rutherford@bromley.gov.uk
chair@bromleycivicsociety.org.uk

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Press Release: Bromley High Street could qualify for a share of £44 million

In recognition that HERITAGE IS A TRADING ASSET the government has put forward £44 million for High Streets, like Bromley, that are in Conservation Areas.  

Green tile frontage of Civic Pride era, mid-3-storey-terrace, shop front
Diners Inn at 206 High Street, built for Weeks & Sons, by Paul Ylaes.

Bromley is expected to apply with an ‘Expression of Interest’ by 12 noon 12th July.  A previous grant from the Mayor of London was used to restored historic shop fronts, the best example being the Diners Inn.

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Don’t Clutter Market Square

We like our Market Square with enough open space for our market – If you want to continue to have our market in Market Square, find a moment to object to this planning proposal 19_00241: https://searchapplications.bromley.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=PLEVE4BTJHM00

The Garden Shed style additions to Market Square

From our chair: “A finance driven Council co-development abuse of our Market Square?   We’ve always supported using Market Square for the Charter Market and always opposed any permanent structures of any design.   Permanent Garden Sheds – This is street clutter, out of character and harmful to the character and appearance of the most sensitive part of the Conservation Area and setting of five adjacent Listed and locally listed buildings”

green topped market stalls in market square
Market Square with the Charter market taking place last Thursday
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Broom time – Heritage Event

The annual flowering of the shrub, from which Bromley takes its name, takes place on Martin’s Hill mid April to the end of May and we recommend all visitors and locals to witness this event of living history so fundamental to the heritage of Bromley Town.

Tony Banfield, Chair of Bromley Civic Society Heritage officer – The Friends of Bromley Town Parks
Yellow flowered bush on hillside, with war memorial obelisk behind.

Just two minutes walk from Market Square along Church Road behind Primark, Bromley’s name- sake shrub burst into spectacular bloom on Martin’s Hill. The name ‘Bromley’ is from the Anglo Saxon ‘Bromleag’ or ‘Broomleigh’ literally meaning Broom meadow.

Just two minutes walk from Market Square along Church Road behind Primark, Bromley’s name- sake shrub burst into spectacular bloom on Martin’s Hill. The name ‘Bromley’ is from the Anglo Saxon ‘Bromleag’ or ‘Broomleigh’ literally meaning Broom meadow.

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Building works at Churchill Theatre – grey painted concrete instead of Lakeland tiles?

The High Street fontage a few years ago before the nails holding the slate tiles started to fail

Just to let everybody know about the plans with the lakeland slate tiles that are falling off the cladding on Churchill Theatre:

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BCS Newletter and February talk

The latest BCS newsletter was published before Christmas containing all the latest information about town centre planning and other important issues.

One important story concerns the approval given for the revised planning application for the Royal Bell hotel on 13 December. Benedict O’Looney, one of the architects, will be giving an update on progress with the Royal Bell at a talk  in February (see below).

Benedict O’Looney
Talk on 28th February 2019, 7:30pm, in the Parish Rooms, Church Road, Bromley BR2 0EG:
‘Conserving and celebrating the historic architecture of South London’
Benedict will be able to give us an update on progress with the Royal Bell – also his experience in restoring and building new work around Peckham’s historic townscape and what was involved with the initiation of central Peckham’s conservation area
(£3 voluntary donation).

 

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London Forum

Photo by Heidi Sandstrom. on Unsplash

Bromley Civic Society is a member of The London Forum which works to protect and improve the quality of life in London. It is a most influential body with input into Government and London Plan policy.

Take a look at their regular NewsForum bulletins and see what is going on elsewhere and what other Societies like ours are dealing with.

We are not alone!

The 2018 summer edition is now available here for viewing and downloading. Do please pass this on to others who may find it of interest. You can find all previous editions of newsforum on the London Forum website.

Next London Forum Open Meeting 26th September; London Forum AGM on 30th October

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Churchill Quarter Planning Application

The planning application for the “Churchill Quarter” development in Bromley town centre has now been submitted (planning reference: 18/02181).

The development, adjacent to library gardens, is a co-development with the Council providing the land and Countryside Properties responsible for building and operations.

Before and after images showing the effect of the development can be seen on the right.

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Heritage Building Profile – 27 Market Square, David Greig’s building

Built in 1912 for the David Greig chain of supermarkets. It has an orate stone frontage in Neo-Baroque style.

” From a base established in Brixton, south London, in 1888 David Greig expanded to include around 220 shops. These were located throughout London and the Home Counties, with some scattered at far west as Wales and Torquay.

“… in 1912, settling at The Red House, Southend Road, Beckenham, Kent. This mansion had its own museum and expansive grounds; neighbours included the Robertsons of marmalade fame and the Craddocks, later to excel as TV cooks.” from The Legacy of David Greig pages.

White stone French Imperial style building
Stone Neo-Baroque ornate frontage of David Greig’s 1912 building

Interestingly, Gordon Dennington says on the David Greig Legacy pages(here)

When I worked in Sainsbury’s Stamford Street Head Office in the late 1950s it was widely believed there was a distant family connection with David Greig’s. Don’t know if true. Rather ironic that under the informal arrangement between them not to compete in the same districts, David Greig living in The Red House, Beckenham (now a nursing home) he was unable to open up in Beckenham itself. Sainsbury’s was there ! 

The David Greig memorial:

David Greig memorial at Magpie Hall Lane, by Paul Ylaes in July 2019.
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Archive: 2012, June: Jonathan Clay talk at AGM

Thursday 6th June 2013: BCS AGM.

The society’s Annual General Meeting took place at the Parish Rooms, Church Street, Bromley. After our formal business our guest speaker Jonathan Clay spoke eloquently about the campaign by Gravesend Civic Society against disastrous local town centre development plans.

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Archive: 2012, July: Town Centre Festival

Sunday 29th July 2012: BCS taking part in Bromley Town Centre Festival.

We will be taking part in this important event in Bromley High Street, 11am—5pm. There will be lots of events celebrating local Arts, Sports, Leisure and Heritage. We will be manning a stall, together with the Friends of Bromley Town Parks & Gardens in the pedestrian only part of the High Street. Why not come along and find out more about the local area and what we stand for? We will also be leading walks around the historic town centre.

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Archive: 2012, March: Heritage Trail Launched

31st March 2012: Heritage Trail launched

As part of the council’s Easter events an heritage trail around Bromley North Village was officially launched in the Market Square. Councillors Morgan & Manning were in attendance. Two separate walks were led by Marc Timlin (BCS).

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Archive: 2013, September: West Side of High Street

Site G

Community G Meeting

Site G Leaflet

Community G Street Party: 22nd September 2013

BCS was pleased to be invited to the street party organised by the community of people seriously impacted by council plans. Bob Ogley was a guest speaker.

Public Meeting on West Side of High Street, Bromley

About two hundred people attended a public meeting on Thursday 25th July  2013 at Bromley Town Church, to learn more about Bromley Council’s proposals  for the west side of the High Street from Churchill Theatre down to Bromley South station. (This is Site G in the Bromley Town AAP): A_Site G Leaflet

[Now Site 10 in the 2019 Local Plan]

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Archive: 2012, January: Former Army & Navy Store Ringers Road

The application by Crest Homes for the erection of 1×11 storey (plus upper basement) and 1×9 storey (plus lower and upper basement) building comprising 148 flats (48×1 bedroom and 100×2 bedroom), 460sqm commercial unit (Class A3/A4), 77 car parking spaces has been refused by the council’s Development Control Committee. This is the former Army & Navy site overlooking the Ravensbourne Valley and is part of the much larger AAP Site ‘G’. [William House]

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Archive: 2013, June: Loss of the Italian Terrace

QG_report_Nov_2011

This planned development, along with a terrace area outside the garden, will take most of the southern end of Queen’s Garden to build five restaurants. This particular area was added to the garden in 1990 in compensation for the northern part, adjacent to Market Square, then taken to build The Glades shopping centre. We believe that this proposal was unacceptable for the following reasons –

  • Loss of public green space, which Bromley council says they greatly value for peoples’ healthy lifestyles and well-being.
  • This space is within a Conservation Area.
  • Use of this space for development is contrary to statements in the Bromley Town Area Action Plan (AAP) which was approved by the full council, after a long public consultation. We would support a small café on the Terrace area only, as identified in the AAP.
  • Additional restaurant development here will compete adversely with other council plans for the revitalisation of the nearby Bromley North Village. There are already several empty restaurants in this area and a new one (ex Post Office) is about to open!
  • This could set a precedent for future development in some other parks in the borough (LBB: “provision of parks is not a statutory duty for the council”).

Our case was that the area under threat is an important and valued part of the gardens and was given to the public when part was taken to build The Glades, some 20 years ago. The restaurants would ruin the gardens and were unnecessary with other areas nearby better suited for this use, especially in an upgrade Bromley North Village.

You can view the PDF document submitted jointly by our Friends group and Bromley Civic Society: A_FoBTPaG_BCS proof of evidence. Several members of the public also spoke against the development.

Town Green application

To further safeguard this area we have also submitted an application for the threatened area to be designated as a Town Green under the Commons Act 2006. In doing this we have used information from the Open Spaces Society and a previous applicant. Over 50 letters of support for our application were received from the local public. Following an exchange of evidence from ourselves and the two main objectors, Capital Shopping Centres and Bromley Council, the matter was put to an independent lawyer who decided that the objectors’ evidence did not show a sufficient case, at that stage, to give a ‘knock out’ blow to our case and so recommended it go to a public Inquiry.  This was held at the Civic Centre 29th-31st May. The Inspector’s decided in our favour with regard to the Italian Garden (but not terraced area) in all respects, except for the 20 year period which we missed by some 6 months! Despite this the council have proposed to sell this part of the park to the developers. BCS have submitted a formal complaint to the council on the manner this decision was made and a response is currently awaited from their Chief Planner.

[Latest News]

Although The Glades management have won their appeal against refusal by Bromley Council of their planning application and are therefore appear ready to build 5 restaurants on part of this public park designated the Italian Garden. We are still awaiting a decision on our application for the threatened area to be officially designated as a Town Green which might stop this.However we are not taking any chances and are asking the council not to sell this land to The Glades.

Picnic in the Park

Several supporters met in on Sunday 28th July 2013 in Queen’s Garden. This event was in support of this public park, part of which is threatened with sale by Bromley council for commercial development. We enjoyed food & drink and meet other lovers of this park. Will Harmer & Nicky Dykes, Bromley Town ward councillors attended. This event was part of Love Parks week: http://www.loveparks.org/home/1816

Local people oppose sale of public park

At the recent Bromley Baptist Church anniversary street party a petition, opposing the sale by Bromley Council of part of Queen’s Garden for commercial use, was signed by 334 people. This has been sent to Clr. Carr (Leader of Council) and Clr. Smith (Portfolio Holder). You too can sign the petition and make a difference. Just sign our on-line petition: A_Petition Save Queens Garden from redevelopment

3rd June 2013:  Queen’s Garden Appeal Decision.

Sadly, after two years of campaigning The Glades management have won their appeal against L.B. Bromley rejection of their planning applications to build 5 restaurants on part of Queen’s Garden.

We will continue to oppose the sale by Bromley council of this land and closely monitor any impact upon the rest of the gardens.

28th June 2012: Planning meeting again rejects Queen’s Garden development!

Planning applications (12/01339/FULL1 & 12/01340/LBC) by The Glades to build 5 restaurants on part of Queen’s Garden, and move the Grade 2 listed gates, were rejected for a second time at a Development Control Committee (DCC) meeting held on 28th June 2012.

28th June 2012: Planning meeting to decide on Queen’s Garden Development.

Planning applications (12/01339/FULL1 & 12/01340/LBC) by The Glades to build 5 restaurants on part of Queen’s Garden, and move the Grade 2 listed gates, will be decided at a Development Control Committee (DCC) meeting held in the Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley BR1 3UH. Attendance by people opposing these applications is crucial.

Friends of the Parks

On 18th June 2012, at the Friends Forum AGM we received overwhelming support from representatives of other Park Friends groups in our call for Bromley council not to selloff our public parks for commercial development. Accordingly an email has been sent to Clr. Carr, Leader of Bromley Council.

The continuing support we have received from local people has been very encouraging and a public petition, opposing the sale of this land, has been published. Already 334 members of the public have signed this petition. You can also show your opposition to the sale by signing our on-line petition which can be found at the following:-

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-queens-gardens/.

15th May 2012: Queen visits Queen’s Garden.

During her visit to Bromley, as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations the Queen & Duke of Edinburgh visited a fashion show held in Queen’s Garden. This public open space was given to the people of the town in 1897 for their use, in celebration Queen Victoria’s own Diamond Jubilee.

16th April 2012: Site M: Queen’s Garden new planning application submitted.

Capital Shopping Centres plc, who own The Glades presented plans which are only slightly different from those rejected by LBB. This will still build on part of the gardens. We continue to oppose this development, along with the Friends of Bromley Town Parks & Gardens.

2nd March 2012: Application for registration as a Town Green.

Over 50 letters were received from the local public in support of our application for Town Green status of the threatened area of Queen’s Garden. These have been handed in to the council and we now await this application to be progressed.

10th February 2012: Application for registration as a Town Green.

BCS & Friends of Bromley Town Parks have submitted to the council an application for registration of threatened Queen’s Garden as a Town Green. This is part of our campaign against this unwelcome development. Decision scheduled to be made on Tuesday 14th February at a planning meeting at Bromley Civic Centre.

4th February 2012: Site M: Queen’s Garden development rejected.

L.B.Bromley Development Control Committee narrowly rejected Capital Shopping Centres plc plans to build on part of Queen’s Garden on a number of grounds including that no development was approved in the council’s own Area Action Plan. We suspect this issue has not yet gone away and will continue to oppose along with many other local people.

19th January 2012: Conservationists join fight against restaurants proposal.

In an article in today’s Bromley Times (page 2) The Open Spaces Society has expressed its opposition to the planned development in Queen’s Garden. Their representative, Mark Green said: “If the land is sold and restaurants and café’s built here the land will cease to be open space available for the public to enjoy. The development would be a private, not public, amenity.” The Open Spaces Society is our oldest national conservation body.

11th January 2012: Plans will destroy public open space.

A letter by Tony Banfield, detailing BCS objections to the Queen’s Garden development (Site M), was printed in today’s News Shopper as their ’Star Letter’.

5th January 2012: RVPS objects to  Queen’s Garden development.

The Ravensbourne Valley Preservation Society has decided to formally object to this planning application (11/03466).

December 2011: Queen’s Garden Planning Application Published.

L.B.Bromley have published details of this controversial development. Members of the public are urged to send their objections to L.B. Bromley Planning Department.

November 2011: Site M: Queen’s Garden

BCS working with Friends of Bromley Town Parks & Gardens appeal to other local Friends groups for support in opposing the planned development, part on public open space.

September 2011: Site M: Queen’s Garden

The developer (Capital Shopping Centres) releases proposals to build 5 restaurants on the Terrace adjacent to The Pavilion sports centre and extending into parkland area at the southern side of Queen’s Garden. This would involve the loss of a significant part of this public open space currently owned by the L.B.Bromley.  A planning application is expected later in 2011 with construction planned in 2012. Our society, working with the Friends of Bromley Town Parks & Gardens, are against the loss of any part of this Urban Open Space. More details to follow.

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Archive: 2013, September: Royal Bell

Royal Bell plans: 4th September 2013

Supporters of Bromley Arts & Community Initiative meet with Bromley councillors, in Council Chamber, to discuss plans to make this historic but empty building into an arts centre. More details at http://bromleyartsandcommunity.blogspot.co.uk/

28th March 2013:  Royal Bell meeting

Bromley Arts & Community Initiative held a well attended meeting to discuss possible options for the use of this badly neglected building in the upper High Street.

More details: http://bromleyartsandcommunity.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/open-meeting-of-28-03-13-presentation.html

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Archive: 2013, July: Bromley North Village

Bromley North Village: July 2013

Work to improve the public realm has started with both East Street and the upper High Street being dug up. Some concern has been expressed about the grave impact on businesses.

11th May 2013: Bromley North Plans Approved.

The plans for improvements to the public realm and re-routing of some buses in this part of the town centre have been approved. See LBB press release:

http://www.bromley.gov.uk/press/article/671/bromley_north_village_public_realm_improvements_set_to_go_ahead

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Archive, 2013, September: Site L 1 Westmoreland Road, Bromley


Planning ref 13/02451 – 1 Westmoreland Road, Bromley: 20th September 2013

BCS have sent in their comments on this revised planning application for the development of the ex-DSS building (Opportunity site L). We are concerned at the lack of any significant changes since last application. Our comments can be viewed here: A_BCS comments_ September 2013_Site L_ plan ref 1302451

Planning application for former DHSS site rejected

Telereal Trillium planning application for a hotel-led scheme including a tall building was refused by Bromley council in early 2013. It is understood that a major reason for refusal was the blocking of the view of Keston Ridge from the High Street. This is AAP Site ‘L’.

Despite many objections from local people who will be overlooked by this development Cathedral’s plans for the massive development of this site were accepted by L.B.Bromley Development Control Committee.



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