Press Release – 20-storey Tower over former Maplins at 66-70 High Street

BROMLEY CIVIC SOCIETY

Press Release

20 storey tower proposed on the site of the former Maplins store

Like circling vultures waiting to pick the bones of our historic old town developers are being lured by the Council’s ill-conceived Masterplan and the Site ‘G’ designation for the redevelopment of the west side of Bromley High Street from the Library down to the railway and beyond.

Bookending what would be an army of tower blocks is the Council’s existing St Mark’s Square development, aka the ‘Titanic’, at one end and their proposed 15 storey ‘Churchill Quarter’ at the other now said to be Phase One of the Masterplan. This is still awaiting a decision and if approved will overwhelm Library and Church House Gardens and used to set the general height standard of the Plan.

Spurred on by this, S2 Estates, are now proposing a 20 storey High block rising straight up from the pavement where Maplin’s used to be. Ironically, the Masterplan sets aside this particular site as being ‘Buildings of townscape merit’ and is one of the few areas not earmarked for development. The building proposed is also much higher than anything envisaged in the Masterplan. Tony Banfield, chair of the Bromley Civic Society said:

“Whilst the Masterplan has been condemned by the Ward Councillors as being destructive to the essential character of Bromley, this proposal, at 20 storeys on a clearly unsuitable site, goes above and beyond even that envisaged in the Masterplan. Councillor Peter Morgan, Portfolio holder for Renewal responsible for the Plan, has clearly unleashed a raging beast on our Town Centre environment. We hope and expect the Development Control Committee of the Council will refuse permission.”

This opportunistic proposal by S2 estates highlights the need for protection of the buildings deemed to be of architectural and townscape merit in the southern part of the High Street. These properties will be particularly vulnerable given all the development likely to take place around them. BCS have suggested in their response to the Masterplan that 66-70 High Street (formerly Maplins and adjacent properties) and 54-62 High Street (Laura Ashley and adjacent properties) should be included within ‘island’ extensions to the Conservation Area to give them long lasting and effective prevention. We hope that the Council will now see the merit in this and will go along with this suggestion.

It is not too late to have your say, there’s a feedback form at: https://highstreetbromley.co.uk/

The Masterplan can be viewed at www.bromley.gov.uk/downloads/file/3514/bromley_town_centre_site_10_masterplan

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Former Town Hall extension – Heritage Building Profile

The neo-Georgian style former Town Hall extension (now Exchequer House) in Widmore Road, was built in 1938-39 and designed by Charles Cowles-Voysey (see wiki), well known for his work on town hall and public buildings in the 1920’s and 1930’s. He was the son of Charles Voysey, one of Britain’s most influential architects.

blue-slate roofed 2-storey neo-georgian building

Neo-Georgian Town Hall Extension

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Former School of Art & Science (now the Clockhouse) – Heritage Building Profile

The School of Science and Art stands opposite the Edwardian Town Hall. The external relief terracotta panels include representations of science and art. The original building was designed by John Sulman and was built in 1878 by J C Arnauld at a cost of £3,000. The public opening included a display of the first working telephones ever made. The building was extended in 1894 to provide the town’s first library.

It was sold and converted into flats.

stylish copper green cupula on hexagonal tower

Cupola of the old Arts and Science college in 2006

In the 1960s

 

 

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Former Town Hall – Heritage Building Profile

The former Town Hall in Tweedy Road was built in 1906 by R Frank Atkinson in a neo-Wren style. The hipped slate roof has a central cupola constructed in timber, set above a fine entrance porch.

slate roofed, brick with stone pointing, 2-storey with round columned porch

Neo-gothic style to recall Wren’s buildings.

Officially opened by Mayor Alderman R W Jones JP on 25 September 1907, the building cost £35,000 including furnishings.

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Community House (former Magistrates Court) – Heritage Building Profile

The former Magistrates Court was designed in 1939 by C Cowles Voysey and forms part of an identifiable group of public buildings with the Fire Station and the Town Hall complex.

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The Fire Station – Heritage Building Profile

The Fire Station was designed by Stanley Hawkings, the Borough Engineer, and was completed in 1905 at a cost of £5,191 12s 6d.

town fire station with striking brick and stone stripes around the bay doors

Bromley Town Fire Station

Before this the fire brigade was located on West street opposite Sainsburys.

1910 firemen with fire engine and horses

 

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Number 8 South Street – HG Wells Dame school

No. 8 South Street is where Mrs Knotts dame school was attended by a young H.G. Wells between 1871 and 1874.

attentive boy of about 8 sat at a table with a book open

HG Wells at school age

We have more about HG Wells in Bromley at our page here.

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West Street – former post office

The former Post Office in West Street was completed in 1896, it was occupied in 1897 and enlarged in 1913. The previous premises in Market Square had become too small to cope with the rapid expansion of the town.

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No. 19 East Street (former Local Board)- Heritage Building Profile

Number 19 East Street was formerly the offices of the Local Board (the first body of local administration in Bromley). It stood at the junction of East Street and West Street. The purpose of the local board was to provide such essentials as street lighting and an adequate sewage system for the town (the latter was not done especially well).

model 2-storey town building with large hexagonal bay window

19 East Street The Local Board building decorated for Queen Victorias Jubilee

.In April 2018:

whitewashed 2-storey building with large hexagonal bay window

19 east street

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The Old Drill Hall (now O’Neils) – Heritage Building Profile

The Drill Hall, Nos 27-29 East Street, was opened in 1872 for use by the Bromley Volunteer Rifle Corps. Town celebrations and events were held here. It became a public house in 1997.

a street with soldiers assembled and people watching

1914 advance guard departing to Dover

Hall with decorated stage and lots of chairs

1872 Decorated for opening concert- when Sir Arthur Sullivan (Gilbert & Sullivan) played piano.

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