EMAIL NOW – Or this will be approved next week:

Bromley council’s planning officers have recommended that our Development and control committee should approve a 12-storey high rise to be built over the former Maplin’s shop on the corner of Ethelbert Road.  This means that it’s almost certain to go ahead.

vertical car park block towers over high street
Dominates the high street
vertical car park building
66-70 high street proposed 12 storeys behind Maplins

Bearing in mind the council elections are in May, please email as many of the following as you can?

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Write to say ‘No’ to the Draft Open Space Strategy

This draft strategy is the plan for our Parks, open- and green-spaces for the next ten years. The devil is in the (very) small print: to rank and ‘dispose’ of an unnamed number of parks/open spaces. The council has provided a survey for you to input your views. However, it seems to mislead the participant into (1) filling in their open space usage (2) focussing on the least controversial content of the Strategy (which is conveniently hidden in size 6 font in a sideways table). Instead, you might also want to email: william@ocat.co.uk (portfolio holder) James.Hilsden@bromley.gov.uk & will.harmer@bromley.gov.uk with the following points (putting them in your own words would be good):

* we need is an Open Space Strategy in which the Council “brave enough” to resist ‘repurposing‘ of any more Open Space. This comment leads on to our conviction that open spaces are a precious amenity and there should be no question of ‘development’ or ‘disposal’ for whatever reason.

* Maintenance has already been cut to the bone and reduced to mainly grass cutting and pruning where once it was used for wonderful floral borders and creative planting. We need more, not less, maintenance funding, if our open space heritage is to regain even a small measure of their previous appearance.  There should be an investment in the un-made footpaths on our parks and commons to cater for the increased dog ownership following the work from home trend.

* ‘Increase commercial use of the Open Space Portfolio to offset management costs and a sponsorship strategy to provide more innovative income streams‘ sounds like privatisation of our public parks for commercial profit, (to offset council maintenance costs) and resulting in the compromise public enjoyment of the space. This strategy is not the place for such objectives, and they be put forward in a separate plan for people to comment on.

* Make sure that the “events programme that supports the Bromley and Local economy” does not include large-scale events. People do not want to find that our parks suffer like Clapham Common (and half a dozen other London parks) that become seas of mud, fenced off from residents from March to September every year.

* There should also be concrete plans to restore our heritage Palace Park, its plantings and it’s listed structures – such as the recently collapsed ice house.  The stated plans for restoring the vulnerable brickwork at Scadbury Park, and the bandstand in Croydon Rec are good, but the Palace Park is actually more historic.  We do not want to be held to ransom for the community levy payments from unwanted high-rises in the town centre.

However, if you want to fill in the survey, here, we have some suggestions of entries you could make that reflect these serious problems, further down the page, here.
satellite view with green patches

Mayor of London map of Council owned land in LBB – zoom in at https://apps.london.gov.uk/public-land/ to see how much is around you (that could be built on)

Here’s the location of (Bromley’s) Open Space Strategy: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XNWWJGC.  We have also drawn up a list of actions that are promised for individual parks: (our post here) For comparison, the Open Space Strategy that Lewisham drew up this year, included the following:
* [Lewisham] to inject £1 million of extra facilities and improvements to parks and open spaces over the five years via the ‘Greening Fund’
* [Lewisham] is divided into three themes based on public consultation responses – social, economic, and, environmental – and lists the priorities and goals of those themes.
* [Lewisham] to refuse planning permission for all “insensitive development, on site or on surrounding land that significantly erodes the biodiversity value, quality, use, access or enjoyment of designated green and open spaces”.
* [Lewisham, Economic] Priority –To preserve and where possible, enhance the quality of existing green and open spaces, to deliver eco-system services and a range of public benefits, including play, habitat creation, landscape improvements and flood storage
* [Lewisham, Economic] Priority – To achieve a cost effective high quality parks service that delivers continuous improvement
Filling in the Survey: We have some suggestions as to what you might like to enter for the Open Space Strategy survey (here) which organises our points into the questions of the survey:
10. Do you think that the strategy will help improve the Bromley Council Open Spaces? section “Please let us know why you have indicated this?”
Please enter ‘No’, as we think that the idea of ‘redevelopment and disposal‘ should be removed (belongs in the Local Plan).  The Strategy lacks vision and investment (as opposed to Lewisham’s £1m); and it lacks specific targets for biodiversity, tree planting, or even a baseline for such targets; it decreases investment in maintenance (which needs increasing to address the increased post-covid usage); that it does not address improving non-park open spaces like grass verges.
11. Have we identified the main challenges that drive the strategy (these are shown at pages 12 and 13)? Please enter ‘No’
The Strategy is orientated towards selling open space and reducing maintenance costs; it is not orientated towards engaging the community and friends towards embracing, jointly improving, and investing in their open space heritage.
12. The strategy includes 8 strands at pages 15-22. Would you please put each of these in priority order?
These KSS themes are vague but laudable and we feel the Council should have the ambition to achieve all of them, and therefore doesn’t need prioritising.
(KSS1) Next to “Strategic Open Space”
We feel that none of the open space should be disposed of, and there should be community-consultation-based improvement schemes for poorest sites.
“KSS2 Natural Open Space”, “KSS 3 – Healthy and Active Open Space”, and “KSS 4 – Welcoming Open Space”, “KSS 6 – Community Open Space”, and “KSS 7 – Learning Open Space”
These are good themes, but somewhat obvious; and without detail, plans and targets, they are fluff and should not be included in the Strategy.
“KSS 5 – Sustainable Open Space”
The concern here is that, turning our parks (not other open space) into green energy provision – solar, wind and heat pump – would involve fencing out the communities they provide amenity for, and these structures, with their limited biodiversity improvement, should be applied to barren arable land not public parks.
“KSS 8 – Funding our Open Space”
This option is also vague, but could imply privatisation of our open space and excluding the communities from them. Without detail, it should not be included.
13. The strategy has 5 objectives and an example of these at pages 23-33, do you have any comments about them?
SO1 Fit for Purpose Open Space portfolio
There should be no Action or Objective for ‘redevelopment and disposal’ of any open space; the council should invest in the poorest open space to deliver amenity for the community. Open spaces are a precious amenity and there should be no question of development or disposal for whatever reason.
SO2 Sustainable Assets, Built Form, Function and Open Space
The Glassmill reservoir work has had much preparation work already done by Thames 21; this project should be priority and not put off until 2022/23 and should be considered as a major historic visitor attraction it has the potential to be.
SO3 Delivering Net Zero Carbon
“a ’green town’ concept model and obtain approval to proposal…and initiate pilot projects at the town centre parks”. What is a green town model? What is the impact on our town centre parks? Will people still be able to enjoy the parks? Will the heritage ornamental gardens be restored?
SO4 Supporting the Bromley and Local Economy
The proposals ‘Investigate re-purposing urban centre open spaces, to support the local economy‘, ‘Develop key town centre open spaces to support a growing night-time economy‘ and ‘Deliver a sustainable events programme that supports the Bromley and Local economy‘ are quite threatening. These proposals should have precise details for community consultation; and reassurance that the amenity of the town centre parks will be enhanced, and do not include large-scale events. People do not want to find that our parks suffer like Clapham Common (and half a dozen other London parks) that become seas of mud with large events, and fenced off from residents from March to September every year.
SO5 Financially Viable Open Space Portfolio
Increase commercial use of the Open Space Portfolio to offset management costs and a sponsorship strategy to provide more innovative income streams‘ needs explanation as it could imply of privatisation of our public parks for commercial profit to cut council maintenance costs risking detriment to the public benefit, for private commercial gain.
14. Do you have any other comments or observations about the strategy?
The alarming and unwelcome proposals are buried in small print, either in infographics or in a very small font, orientated sideways in tables. This makes the careful reader suspect the intentions of the council and erodes trust. These proposals should be spelled out in full in the main document. The case studies could be relegated to the appendices.
15. Overall, how much are you in support of the strategy?
You could chose the ‘Not in Support’ and in ‘Tell us why you have made this choice’. Bromley deserves an Open Space Strategy that aspires to improve all open space to be good quality amenity for the community. Replace the bloat with vague principles and uncorroborated aims.  Instead, have uncontroversial goals, that have clear and specific plans to achieve them, and the criteria by which their achievement is evaluated.
A note on the document structure of Bromley’s Open Space Strategy: all the alarming and unwelcome proposals are buried in small print, either in infographics or in a very small font (size 6!), orientated sideways in tables. Around these are glossy pictures and out-of-borough case studies that, whilst inspiring, do not align with the stated objectives of reducing investment and maintenance. The Strategy also mentions putting wind turbines at Martins Hill and solar panels in Library/Church House gardens. As these proposals are ridiculous for a town centre park, it is possible that these are only here so they can be removed later ‘because of public opinion’. Therefore we don’t think it’s worth your time commenting on them. 
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SAVE our Neo-Georgian Shop (AGAIN)

The developers who own the shop, that was formerly Maplins, have amended and re-submitted their planning application – please object! Here’s the link to the application (so click the Comments tab, then add a comment, chosing ‘Objection’ as the reason) https://searchapplications.bromley.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=Q0UFGIBTHXZ00 Unfortunately, it looks like this one will go to appeal, and the more objections to this latest manifestation would really help the case.

Iceni Projects (the developer?) has produced rebuttal documents to counter the reasons from the last hearing. However, they don’t seem to have taken on board that their building is oversized, out of character, and ugly. Though they have reduced the height, we feel that:

* at 12 storeys it is still over-sized, and out of step with the rest of the buildings in this part of the high street, that are only 2-4 storeys high.

* The proposed building is right on the top of the ridge and much too high. It will stick out like a sore thumb when viewed from the railway. It will overlook the flats above the high street shops, Ethelbert and Ravensbourne Road. If the white in the picture is concrete then it will be black and mouldy after ten years.

* It is out of scale and character with the area and adjacent Conservation Area (contrary to Council policy 42) – a cheap squat concrete car-park style building which will stick out over the High Street and surrounding areas.

* It is ugly and poorly proportioned building. Definitely not a good quality or appealing design, and the statement that it is “delivering high quality development” is clearly false.

* the facade proposal is horrible. Instead of retaining the lovely Neo-Georgian shop, there is just the very front left, placing a really ugly cheap dark storey behind – it is not complimentary and clashes badly.

We also note that there will be no Affordable Rent flats provided, just Shared Ownership (Affordable Rent housing is not provided on ‘viability’ grounds).

Ugly squattish 12-storey oversized building
The ugly 12-storey proposal from Iceni Projects, reducing our lovely Neo-Georgian shop to a thin brick frontage to an ugly dark fronted building.
The over-sized and over-shadowing proposal for the former Maplin shop

The lovely Neo-Georgian shop that they are replacing:

The existing shop, formerly Maplin’s. Neo-Georgian brick building with fine pediments.

The existing Neo-Georgian shop parade, built in 1930 for Fifty Shilling Tailors – more details about this building, describing the history and architectural embellishment, here.

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Comments on the Supplementary Planning Document consultation

oval of proposed high-rises compared with oval of nicer ones
comparison of proposed overbearing designs with nicer modern developments (as built in Kent this year)

This summer the council has run a consultation to decide whether to issue supplementary planning guidance for Bromley and Orpington town centres.

The consultation was run by Commonplace and closed 5th October 2020. You can view the comments people made by clicking the [View Comments] button at the bottom of each theme’s page: overview.

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2020 BROOMTIME IN BROMLEY

Broom bushes on hillside covered in flowers
This year’s broom flowers on Martins Hill parkland

Here’s the first of the articles from our August 2020 newsletter, the full contents of which, has been sent to members. Please support our work to promote and save our heritage, by joining the town’s civic society – a snip at £10 a household. 


Thank goodness for our wonderful Town Centre Parks which have offered such a respite from the lockdown! 

Albeit that they’ve been a bit overwhelmed at times by people with nowhere else to go.  

Martin’s Hill (pictured here) was ablaze with colour from our namesake flowering shrub, the Broom from mid April to late May.  The grassland is a rare example of acid grassland. It is good to see how good it looks after the work to clear invasive bushes.

Queens Mead took on something of a festival air reminiscent of Victorian and Edwardian times when it was the venue for fairs, circuses and fetes. In those times, too, enjoyment of our open spaces was a fundamental part of a visit to Bromley. In recent times they have been almost forgotten but now is the time to reinvent what Bromley is all about and rediscover the significance of our precious green space heritage.

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Join BCS (and calling all existing members!)

If you care about Bromley and its heritage and green spaces, please support us by joining the Society. Membership per household is only £10 per year. You can join or renew your membership either by visiting our membership portal. or by sending a cheque with a letter giving your full name, postal address, where possible your email address, and a contact telephone number to the Membership Secretary, 3 Hayes Road, Bromley BR2 9AF.

Joining will mean that you receive our regular newsletter emails, and help fund our efforts to save our historic town centre being dominated by tower blocks.

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

high rises tower above the trees
Proposed buildings ruin the protected view from Queens Mead

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.

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Robert Dyas – a surprise Bromley resident

victorian gentleman with fine moustache
Robert Dyas

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

S2 Estates have put in an application for a 16 storey tower on the site of the former Maplins store.  Their supporting statement said that they felt it would help locals find the High Street.

lovely neo-georgian shop
66-70 High Street, lovely example of a Neo Georgian Shop

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

two people in costume in front of georgian building
Jane and Peter leading a guided Walk at the BIshops Palace


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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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
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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.

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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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2020 Draft Open Space Strategy – List of Parks with Actions

These are actions, against specific parks, in the Draft Open Space Strategy here: https://cds.bromley.gov.uk/documents/s50083222/Idverde%20Draft%20OPen%20Space%20Strtaegy.pdf

Please excuse any duplicates that have not been spotted; they were repeated in the different strategic-objectives tables. 

It is expected that many of these will not be welcomed by their park’s community.

And… what if your park has no objectives?

Town Centre Parks:

In General“Investigate repurposing urban centre open spaces, to support the local economy (As identified in the Bromley Local Plan)” (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Actions column, item 1)
In General“Develop key town centre open spaces to support a growing night-time economy” (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Actions column, item 2)
2022/23:“Improve the Open Space Portfolio built form opportunities in Bromley’s key town centres starting with a Pilot project improvement scheme for The Glasmill Lane Reservoir at Church House Gardens” (SO2 Sustainable Assets, Built Form, Function and Open Space, page 26, item 10)
2022/23:  Develop (built? sustainable?) proposals for Church House Garden (SO2 Sustainable Assets, Built Form, Function and Open Space, page 26, item 13)
2022/23:  “Deliver feasibility study into town centre open spaces and ways in which they may contribute to the Bromley economy”   (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, item 1)
2022/23:  “Create a ‘green town’ model programme and initiate pilot projects at Church House Gardens, Queen’s Gardens, Library Gardens, Martin’s Hill, Queensmead, Palace Park and College Green” (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, item 1)
2023/24:“Undertake feasibility study into solar and wind power on Martins Hill and Church House Gardens” (SO3 zero carbon, page 28, item 3)  
2023/24:“Create a ‘green town’ model programme and initiate pilot projects at Church House Gardens, Queen’s Gardens, Library Gardens, Martin’s Hill, Queensmead, Palace Park and College Green”  (SO3 zero carbon, page 28, item 4)

Alexandra Recreation Ground

2022/23: Develop proposals (built? sustainable?) for (SO2 Sustainable Assets, Built Form, Function and Open Space, page 26, Column 2022/23, item 13)

Betts Park

2021/22: Review and plan the redevelopment of play areas (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2021/22, item 8)

Develop plans for the provision of new play facilities (2021/22 action page 39)

Biggin Hill Recreation Ground

2021/22: Develop detailed proposals for initial phase of pilot projects (built? sustainable?) within 3-year programme (SO2 Sustainable Assets, Built Form, Function and Open Space, page 26, Column 2021/22, item 8)

2023/24: Develop pilot proposals (clean energy generation) (SO3 zero carbon, page 28, Column 2023/24, item 2)

2022/23: Deliver improved grass root sports facilities (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2022/23, item 5)

2022/23: Attract larger scale funds for strategic open space aspirations – as key open space (SO5 Financially Viable Open Space Portfolio, Page 32, Column 2022/23, item 2)

Croydon Road Recreation Ground

2022/23: Develop and deliver a grant funded restoration programme to the Edwardian bandstand to create an enhanced community facility (SO2 Sustainable Assets, Built Form, Function and Open Space, page 26, Column 2022/23, item 12)

2023/24: Develop improvement plans to reflect their uniqueness, history and horticulture, customer expectation and to support the local economy”  (SO2 Sustainable Assets, Built Form, Function and Open Space, page 26, Column 2023/24, item 3)

2023/24: Develop improvement plans to reflect their uniqueness, history and horticulture, customer expectation and to support the local economy (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2023/24, item 2)

2023/24: Attract larger scale funds for strategic open space aspirations – as key open space (SO5 Financially Viable Open Space Portfolio, Page 32, Column 2023/24, item 2)

Crystal Palace Park

2021/22: Develop and implement an environmental awareness and opportunities programme predominantly through BEECHE 2-year programme (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2021/22, item 5)

2021/22: Management regime review environmental awareness programme  (2021/22 action page 39)

2022/23: Develop and implement Year-2 of the environmental awareness and opportunities programme” (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2022/23, item 4)

Farnborough Recreation Ground

2021/22: Develop and deliver grant funded projects improving cricket and pitch playing surfaces (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2021/22, item 7)

Deliver projects (2021/22 action page 39)

Goddington Park

2021/22: Secure and deliver a grant funded improvement scheme for facilities supporting grass root sports (SO5 Financially Viable Open Space Portfolio, Page 32, Column 2021/22, item 6)

High Elms

unknown – Transform the Bromley Environmental Education Centre at High Elms (BEECHE) into an accredited centre for learning (KSS 7 – Learning Open Space improve BEECHE income generation)

2023/24: Investigate wind/solar power and ground store heat exchangers and deliver Pilot projects (SO3 zero carbon, page 28, Column 2023/24, item 1)

2023/24: Assess feasibility of health and wellbeing and other opportunities for physical activity for children, youth and seniors at rural locations (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2023/24, item 2)

Hoblingwell Wood Recreation Ground

2021/22: Secure and deliver a new grant funded cycle track and community club (SO5 Financially Viable Open Space Portfolio, Page 32, Column 2021/22, item 7) & (2021/22 action page 39)

Kelsey Park

2023/24: Develop improvement plans to reflect their uniqueness, history and horticulture, customer expectation and to support the local economy”  (SO2 Sustainable Assets, Built Form, Function and Open Space, page 26, Column 2023/24, item 3) & (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2023/24, item 2)

2023/24: Attract larger scale funds for strategic open space aspirations – as key open space (SO5 Financially Viable Open Space Portfolio, Page 32, Column 2023/24, item 2)

Kings Meadow Recreation Ground

2021/22: Deliver enhanced play provision (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2021/22, item 6) & Deliver projects (2021/22 action page 39)

Norman Park

2021/22: Develop detailed proposals for initial phase of pilot projects (built? sustainable?) within 3-year programme (SO2 Sustainable Assets, Built Form, Function and Open Space, page 26, Column 2021/22, item 8)

2021/22: Deliver sports improvement scheme (2021/22 action page 39)

2022/23: Deliver a sustainable rolling 3-year events programme – as one of Bromley’s key event and activity sites through the development plan (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2022/23, item 3)

2022/23: Deliver improved grass root sports facilities (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2022/23, item 5)

2022/23: Attract larger scale funds for strategic open space aspirations – as key open space (SO5 Financially Viable Open Space Portfolio, Page 32, Column 2022/23, item 2)

2023/24: Develop pilot proposals (clean energy generation) (SO3 zero carbon, page 28, Column 2023/24, item 2)

Old Hill Playground

2021/22: Review and plan the redevelopment of play areas (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2021/22, item 8) & Develop plans for the provision of new play facilities (2021/22 action page 39)

Palace Square

2021/22: Review and plan the redevelopment of play areas (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2021/22, item 8) & Develop plans for the provision of new play facilities (2021/22 action page 39)

Poverest Park

2021/22: Secure and deliver a grant funded improvement scheme for facilities supporting grass root sports (SO5 Financially Viable Open Space Portfolio, Page 32, Column 2021/22, item 6) & (2021/22 action page 39)

Priory Gardens

2023/24: Develop and consult upon a horticultural ‘Arts and Crafts’ model (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2023/24, item 2)

Scadbury Park

2021/22: Develop and deliver a grant funded repair works project to protect the vulnerable brickwork at the historic Scadbury Moated Manor remains (SO2 Sustainable Assets, Built Form, Function and Open Space, page 26, Column 2021/22, item 10)

2021/22: Develop a 5-year master plan to conserve and create a sustainable open space asset,… (SO2 Sustainable Assets, Built Form, Function and Open Space, page 26, Column 2021/22, item 11)

2021/22: Scadbury Moated Manor repair project, master plan development (2021/22 action page 39)

2023/24: Investigate wind/solar power and ground store heat exchangers and deliver Pilot projects (SO3 zero carbon, page 28, Column 2023/24, item 1)

2023/24: Assess feasibility of health and wellbeing and other opportunities for physical activity for children, youth and seniors at rural locations (SO4 supporting the local economy, page 30, Column 2023/24, item 2)

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North Street Demolished – The Parish School

The Parish school, then known as the National School, was built on the corner of North Street and College Road, in 1854.  The building was especially designed for it, by the eminent architect James Piers St Aubyn, who also designed the romantic additions to Saint Michael’s Mount in Cornwall.

It was locally listed and, protected as a key building in a Conservation Area but nevertheless in 1987 the Council offered it to the Methodist Church to relocate from their existing site which the Council wanted for what was to become the Glades shopping centre. Thus, it was demolished.

The old National School was a successor to the Bromley Charity School that started in 1717, in an old gravel pit that’s now covered by the south corner of Bromley South station.  The children of the working or middle classes were not normally educated in that day and age, so it was remarkable that the Bishop of Rochester (they were Lords of the Manor of Bromley) funded 10 boys, and (surprisingly), 10 girls.  This attitude of not educating poorer people changed with the Elementary Education act of 1880 requiring all children to be schooled,  

According to HG Wells, funding these school places was in opposition to the great and the good of the Vestry (who ran the town until it became incorporated in 1901 with a Local Board), as it was

 “achieved against considerable resistance. There was a strong objection in those days to the use of public funds for the education of “other people’s children”, and he continues to say that the school offered

 “a mere foundation of an education that saw to the children up to the age of thirteen or even fourteen, and no further.”

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Widmore Road Demolished – Homeopathy Hospital

Homeopathy was a popular treatment in Bromley, starting in 1865  when part of the White Hart Inn was opened as a homeopathic dispensary, and when it outgrew this accommodation,  Bromley’s first homeopathic hospital opened in 1889 at 19 Widmore Road.  This backed onto White Hart Field (part of which is now Queens Gardens).

“When a new homeopathic hospital was under discussion, the Lord of the Manor, Coles Child, presented White Hart Field to Bromley in 1897, part given for the hospital and the rest laid out as a public recreation ground.”

“Phillips Homeopathic Hospital had opened in 1900, was enlarged further in 1907, but it was bombed in WWII by a direct hit and although it temporarily became a home for homeless people, escalating costs meant that it was eventually demolished in 1951.”

With the recreation ground next door, patients had used what was then called Victoria Gardens, but now renamed to Queens Gardens, during their convalescence.

* London Gardens Trust: from https://londongardenstrust.org/conservation/inventory/site-record/?ID=BRO061

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New Virtual Tour – A visit to Bromley Palace and Park!

Bromley Palace
The Bishop’s Palace, Bromley

Join us for a close look at the 18th century Bromley Palace, now the nerve centre of Bromley Council – we’ll also ‘walk’ around the secluded Park behind the Palace

The 18th century Bromley Palace was the Georgian home of the Bishops of Rochester. It was transformed in 1845 to the home of Victorian entrepreneur Coles-Child. Now we know it as part of the Civic Centre and is the nerve centre of Bromley Council.Inside we will see the magnificent grand staircase, carved oak panels, Robert Adams fireplace, Mayor’s parlour and the Council’s Cabinet room.The online ‘walk’ will also take in the secluded Park behind the Palace where we’ll see the St Blaise Well, the Pulham Rocks, the Ice House, Ha Ha and Victorian folly.The virtual visit will take the form of a Zoom meeting led by members of the Bromley Civic Society.  If you want to join the ‘walk’ please register for Eventbrite tickets by clicking the button below.

Click here to get free tickets

We like to ‘pass the hat’ after our walks but if you want to donate something now just click here

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Reminices – Gaumont Cinema by Adrian

An extract from Adrian’s contribution to the memories on the Havelock Rec in 2018, he writes:

“On Saturday mornings many of us attended the Gaumont cinema at Bromley South where, for sixpence, we would sing popular songs before watching features like Zorro, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers and Dick Barton – Special Agent.  At one time we had yoyo championships on stage and my pal Pete Gilbert, another Raglan Road pupil, won a dart board and I won a cricket bat which I still have.”

There’s more about the Gaumont cinema, on the lower “Broadway” part of the High Street, in our page High Street No. _44, the former Gaumont Cinema – Heritage Building Profile

Gaumont Cinema on high street
The Gaumont in it’s heyday years
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Reminices – Weeks Ironmongery by Peter

An extract from Peter’s contribution to the memories on the Havelock Rec, he writes:

“I had a regular delivery (of broken coke) to the lady next door at No 109 Homesdale Road, called Mrs Stokes. Her husband was the manager of a large Ironmongers in the High Street called Weeks. Manager or not, he still had to come in the house through the back door AFTER HE HAD CHANGED INTO HIS SLIPPERS AND CLEANED HIS SHOES FOR THE FOLLOWING MORNING. But she was very kind to me. I still remember her giving me a lovely shiny Half a Crown for my birthday in 1943  I dropped it between the floor boards when we were hiding in the cupboard under the stairs. My parents continued to live there until my mother died. Then I moved my father to live near me in Crawley, and he sold the house to a Mr Hennesey in 1986 – I often wondered if he found my half Crown.”

There’s more about Weeks ironmongery, on the north part of the High Street, in our page High Street No. 206 Diners Inn formerly George Weeks ironmongery

gable-topped mid-3-storey terrace, civic pride era shop with green tiles.
Diners Inn at 106 High Street, originally Weeks & Sons, by Paul Ylaes

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High Street No. 111 – Heritage Building

Number 111 is Tweed cottage. This modest 2-storey building marked the southern most end of the High street until the railway came, in 1858.

Since then, this Georgian building has been Barclays Bank, before becoming Tiger shop, selling arts and crafts materials.

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