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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