In November our new flag pole was installed at the Kentish Way entrance of Queens Garden, after a long campaign. This replaced an earlier one located nearby, now occupied by the Children’s Playground, which was redeveloped along with several small restaurants in what used to be part of the park. To celebrate this we were able to raise our Green Flag awarded for 2021/2. This was the third year in a row this park was successful. We will soon be aiming for this valued public green space, right in the town centre, to again be recognised in this manner.
Green Flag Award is a national award, a quality mark for parks & green spaces – and is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Its criteria are –
Opposition to the Churchill Quarter development is growing. Buildings will tower over the High Street and Library Gardens, casting a shadow over the latter and altering its peaceful character. We are pleased to be working with Bromley Civic Society, and others in campaigning against this proposed development.
See the before and after photos below to gain an impression of its impact – and how you can make your opinion known.
Following our leafletting campaign in September, it is clear that there is a groundswell of opposition to this development. Many people have written to us expressing their horror at this proposal.
● “That LBB are considering such a proposal is appalling and horrifying in the face of the past 4 years of HUGE opposition from the public, Historic England, residents’ groups, associations, councillors, etc.This vast, ugly and overwhelming development will brutalise the character of our beautiful and historic Town Centre.”
● “Has infrastructure been considered?
1…Oversubscribed doctors’ surgeries, 2…Oversubscribed schools. 3…Car parking 4…What effect of these vast buildings is it estimated to have on our Victorian sewerage and water systems? 5…Untold detrimental effect on wildlife.”
● “I will be able to see this from our house in Shortlands and it is worrying that it is being proposed again.”
● “This proposal directly flies in the face of the policy against ‘tall buildings’ which is supposed to inform planning in the town centre and be adhered to. The need is for lower rise development.”
● “I would strongly oppose any tower blocks being built as they are unsightly, why not construct buildings no taller than existing ones? Bromley High Street has retained its charm & the park offers peace & tranquillity without having any intrusive tower blocks overlooking it.”
● “Whilst [I] am in favour of modernisation and development done appropriately, I am afraid to say that the proposals fall far short of this. The significant reduction to the green spaces and creation of excessively tall buildings is something I cannot support. If this goes ahead it will only mean a worse quality of life for Bromley residents and a degradation of the existing area.”
● “The plans destroy the current entrance to Library Gardens.”
● “… entirely out of keeping with the historical character of this market town and its surroundings.”
● “All the features that single Bromley out as the fine and lovely market town that it is … would be permanently spoiled by the construction of monolithic tower blocks. The impact on and damage to the environment, the wildlife and the Conservation Area would be irreparable.”
● “There are neither the amenities nor the infrastructure to support a high-density population that would result from these tower blocks.”
● “How much would this development really contribute to affordable housing and meeting the housing need?”
● “The whole design of the development would take away the character of Bromley and Bromley would not be Bromley anymore.”
What can you do?
In advance of the opportunity to make formal objections to the planning application, you can voice your opposition by lodging your comments with Countryside Properties at:
The developer resubmitted their planning application (Ref: DC/21/03120/RESPA) on 12th July for the change of use of these buildings, in the grounds of Bromley Civic Centre, to enable them to form 73 very small residential units. This application was previously rejected by Bromley council planning committee as they considered it part of the curtilage of the Bromley Palace. Despite this the developer has re-submitted their application in which they argue against this. To see this application CLICK HERE. If you have any comments on this you should submit them by the end of July.
We continue to object to this application, as it will impact the adjacent on the following grounds –
It is an over-development of these buildings, each residential unit being far too small for housing needs.
It will seriously impact the public access to the park via the Rafford Way access.
To find out more about Bromley Palace Park and our associated campaigns please CLICK HERE
Yet again the Mill Pond in Glassmill Lane has been polluted, this time with either petrol or light diesel oil. This was spotted on Saturday morning and reported to the Environment Agency. Thames Water staff have now fitted booms to contain the problem, both at the entrance to the pond, as well as downstream just inside Queens Mead.
This incident is particularly worrying as it comes when ducks etc are starting breeding. Already several moorhen chicks have been lost. This also greatly impacts smaller invertebrates living in the water or silt. In the absence of any rainfall it is to be sincerely hoped that this pollutant will soon dissipate. This part of the Ravensbourne is sadly recognised by Thames Water as a portion ‘hot spot’, with illegal dumping and domestic plumbing misconnections. They are having some difficulties locating many of the sources of such pollution.
The Mill Pond is currently the subject of a plan to upgrade this historic pond. Led by Thames21, with support from the Friends of Bromley Town Parks & Gardens, Environment Agency, Thames Water, etc. it is hoped that funding for this can be agreed in the coming months. In the meantime you can find out more about our plans at http://bit.ly/2hrtoyp
If you wish to get more immediately involved in volunteer days at the Mill Pond please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Parks are often places where we each can experience personal memories, both fleeting and life changing. Occasionally we also come across instances where people wish to mark life events important to them, from the unusual such as this ‘pagan’ celebration of spring found some years ago in Bromley Palace Park…..
…or the celebration of a life sadly lost, as in the following found very recently in Church House Gardens. In this latter case it sought to inform us all of life changing issues and how to help overcome them. A very positive message.
Of course not all such ‘memorials’ have to be temporary. In several of our town centre parks permanent memorials can be found. From a tree planted in celebration of a town twinning (Bromley Palace Park), or an anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II (Queen’s Garden), or indeed the opening of the park itself in 1900 (Queen’s Garden).
Alternatively on a more personal level, a tree or memorial bench for a much-loved family member. The latter can be found in a number of our parks often linked to that person. Unfortunately this can sometimes create a bit of a problem, with some favoured spaces becoming potentially overwhelmed with them. So in each case we and the parks administration endeavour to work sympathetically, with the family requesting such a memorial. These benches can be expensive to both install and maintain, so much care is taken on the most appropriate type of bench and its sighting, and so to best satisfy everybody’s needs.
So as you take a rest in our parks, please have of look, and if appropriate, why not give a thought about the person whose life is celebrated by the bench you are sitting on.
With the daylight hours gradually getting longer and weather a bit better our thoughts turn to spring; with its flowers, birds, insects, etc. emerging to cheer us up. However this blog isabout another sort of spring! I am referring to those occasional rivulets of water that emerge, seemingly from nowhere, out of the ground. This phenomenon often occurs at a ‘spring line’, that is a layer where an overlying porous soil meets a more impervious layer below. If this occurs on a slope, at this point the water emerges as a spring line. Such an emergence is more likely to happen if there has previously been a period of heavy rainfall, thereby topping up the amount of water temporarily stored underground in the aquifer.
Due to its geological nature, with a sandy and stony soil (i.e. Blackheath Beds) underlying much of the town centre, there are several such springs in central Bromley. Indeed there is one in Bromley Palace Park, which is called St.Blaise’s Well. There are also some springs on the lower slopes ofMartins Hill. Here water encounters a layer of clay and emerges, then running along on the surface until it ten gradually seeps away into the surrounding soil. In the areas more rural past these springs often fed small ponds where animals could then drink from. The lake in Church House Gardens, were originally a number of fish ponds, fed by a spring. This caused some significant problems when the foundations of the Churchill Theatre were excavated.
Each year several of our Friends group has conducted a tour around our local springs, entitled “The Secret Springs of Bromley Town” (see below). This has been popular with the public, but last year sadly this had to be curtailed due to the coronavirus restrictions. It seems that such a public walk will not be possible in 2021. However in the meantime you can still investigate individually – but wear suitable shoes it can be muddy – enjoy!
In the past few weeks Bromley council have been consulting on their draft Open Spaces Strategy. The closing date for submissions was 7th January 2021. We as well as other Friends groups, other groups and members of the public from across the borough, totalling about 800, are understood to have responded to this draft document. We felt that the document was poorly laid out and very difficult to read, and that the associated online survey was severely limited in its options. So therefore instead we sent them a detailed submission.
The main points of our response included –
We welcomed the recognition of important role of Friends and other local community groups.
The true financial value to our health and well being (aka ‘Natural Capital’) of our green spaces is not to be quantified, as against asset value by “repurposing” (e.g. sale for commercial development).
Concerned that main aim of this document appeared to be to justify the exploitation of our green spaces as assets; for either inappropriate income generation, either by ‘repurposing’ for commercial purposes, or even disposal for building developments.
Our strong opposition to any suggestion of installing turbines or solar cells on Martins Hill, a recognised site of biodiversity.
No realistic measurements of success seem to be provided in this document.
Councillor Huntington-Thresher, Executive Councillor for the Environment, has released a statement stating that they “……were notabout to sell any park and that we adore our green spaces and environment.” However our previous experience is that the council has been only too willing to sell off parts of public parks for commercial development; e.g. parts of Queens Gardens, part of Bromley Palace Park.
The council have advised that they have received some 800 submissions and that “The final analysis alongside an updated Open Space Strategy will be discussed at a future meeting of the Environment PDS Committee before the long-term strategy is adopted.” Our Friends group shall be following this ongoing process very actively.
For a third year running Queens Gardens has been awarded a prestigious Green Flag award. This reflects the continuing very high standard of this much valued public park, achieved as a result of the maintenance of this space by the parks contractor idVerde. This has been achieved despite the furloughing of many staff members during the height of the coronavirus lockdown. Seven other public green spaces across the borough also gained awards.
Queens Gardens is an important public green space located between The Glades shopping centre and Kentish Way. It therefore provides a welcome restful oasis from the much busier places adjacent. This is especially true in the current pandemic. You can find out more about this park HERE
The Green Flag Award® scheme recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.
This flower bed in Queens Garden, previously the “Darwin Bed”, is looking very good at the moment. It includes various plants, including several attractive grasses, from around the world. This was replanted, by idVerde staff, a couple of years ago to replace the earlier flower scheme which had been part of Bromley council’s iff-fated application for World Heritage status for the Downe area associated with Charles Darwin.
With the other flower beds in the garden currently still awaiting the summer bedding to be planted, this is the main flower display in this park. We hope soon see their contributions to the beauty of this well loved space.
Perhaps with the gradual easing of coronavirus restrictions it will not be too long before the customers of Cafe Giardino will be able to gaze down upon this attractive scene. However in the meantime we can all enjoy this, and the rest of this garden’s attractions, from ground level.