Church House Gardens proposals

Path though Dickerson's Copse.

Dickerson’s Copse, Church House Gardens

We have been advised by Bromley council that they will be sending out a document to various commercial interests.

The document says:
 “The Council is exploring potential Leisure opportunities at Church House Gardens. Expressions of interest, subject to contract, are invited for Leisure and / or Catering projects. Interested applicants are asked to provide outline proposals.” and “Church House Gardens has been identified as having further potential for complementary leisure activities to enhance the attractiveness of Bromley as a retail and leisure destination” 

We had a meeting with a senior manager within the council’s Streetscene &Green Space (i.e. parks) department but, as this policy is being implemented by another part of the council administration we have written to the council Chief Executive further expressing our concerns. In brief these are –

  •  Although any new leisure facilities may be a public benefit we are not aware of any identified shortfall or deficiency in leisure facilities in CHG here –only an underuse of what we already have
  • Commercial exploitation of this park, similar to Queen’s Garden, in order to further increase the general council coffers. Any monies generated will not benefit any parks.
  • We question the need for catering since the Gardens are located in the heart of the biggest food outlet centre in the Borough?
  • No mention of planning constraints for the site (e.g. Urban Open Space policy, Town Centre Conservation Area). While the council insist that it is up to the tenderers to “find this out” we are suspicious as they have outlined many other stipulations in their document, but not the important planning ones.

We understand that Priory Gardens, Orpington has also been chosen as part of this pilot scheme. If deemed successful this may be rolled out in other parks.

We have fought, and lost, a 3 year campaign against the loss of part of Queen’s Garden to commercial exploitation and we therefore fear that Church House Gardens, and some other parks, could go the same way. We await the council’s response.


Heritage Green Space walk

Walk leaders welcome people.Tony B dressed as the local rat-catcher & town crier!

Today’s Friends/BCS walk was a tremendous success, with some 60 people turning up! A very pleasant surprise at the numbers, but it was well worth it, with great feedback from all those attending. We visited six of our seven town centre parks explaining their histories, and  the continuing importance of these precious public green spaces. In some cases sadly these are under possible threats from nearby developments. Having started outside in Library Gardens (originally ‘Neelgeries’) we ended up in Bromley Palace Park (aka Civic Centre grounds) where the Bishops of Rochester, until 19th century, held court for about eight centuries. We explained how the public need to support our public parks, so that they are there for future generations. As it states in our groups mandate “We aim is to foster an increased sense of community ownership and involvement in the(se) precious green areas”. To find out more about our parks please go to the ‘Our Parks’ page.

Mill Pond Working Party

Volunteer clearing foliage.

Volunteer clearing foliage.

Another couple of working parties were held on Monday 8th and Sunday 14th February. The water level was helpfully low enough for the bolder volunteers to get onto the island and cut back some of the rampant vegetation. Also a very large of golf balls were recovered from the muddier areas! It is hoped that these may be recycled and perhaps some limited funds can be generated. The less bold were able to get on to more accessible areas and remove rubbish and foliage washed there in recent high flows.

We are only too aware that soon we will have to stop work on the island to allow birds to nest.

Mill Pond working party

Cutting back hedge.

Cutting back hedge.

On Sunday 4th October Thames21 led the first working party of the autumn. Previously we were constrained by nesting birds. About ten volunteers cleared some undergrowth from paths and other key areas. Also the water level was temporarily lowered to increase water speed and so help to clear some silt around the weir. The next working party will take next month.

Bromley Council to sell off parts of Civic Centre.

St.Balise Well & Lake

St.Balise Well & Lake

Newsshopper has reported that L.B.Bromley plans to sell large parts of their Civic Centre. While aware that this is mentioned in the Bromley Town Area Action Plan (BTAAP) we remain concerned at the implications to the associated public open space Bromley Palace Park, including retaining public access. This is a delightful place with a number of officially listed features. We will continue to campaign to retain this quality park for public use.

Mill Pond Review

Weir, Mill Pond

Weir, Mill Pond

On Sunday 13th September several members, and local people, attended a site meeting to discuss comments made by various parties, including the Environment Agency, to the latest Thames21 plan for the restoration of this historic former mill pond, off Glassmill Lane, BR2.

Topics covered included pollution control, water flow & flood control, a revised weir, and biodiversity. Thames21 are aiming to finalise project proposals and estimated costs by year end. In the meantime working parties will be arranged to maintain and tidy up existing vegetation, etc pending the project implementation.

A ‘Lost’ Hero Commemorated.

W.K.Howell plaque & reaths.

W.K.Howell plaque & wreaths.

On Friday 4th. September family of Private William Kitchener Howell attended a brief ceremony to commemorate his death in southern Italy exactly 72 years before. They came from as far afield as Australia, as well as other parts of London to witness the unveiling of his name plaque, recently installed on the War Memorial, Martins Hill. Private Howell had earlier been missed off this list of WW2 casualties, although he was a Bromley lad. He served as a member of the West Kents, with whom he had previously fought in north Africa, but was detached to the SAS at the time he was killed in action. He is buried in the War Cemetery in Bari, southern Italy.

Deputy Mayor & family at ceremony

Deputy Mayor & family at ceremony

The Deputy Mayor, and two members of the SAS Association were also present to lay wreaths and pay their respects to this soldier, now at last properly commemorated alongside all those others from both world wars.