Library Gardens Campaign


After several years Countryside Properties have recently published new proposals for their development immediately adjacent to this public park. However there are only very minor changes to their previous plans. The tower blocks continue to dominate the area around the High Street including this park. Currently this area is a sunny and well-loved peaceful area. The proposed development would completely change its nature, turning it into a commercial hub and act as an access to their oversized buildings. These tall buildings will also cast large shadows over this park for much of the time.

While the major part of this would be built on immediately adjacent land it will still seriously impact this park. Bromley council intends to compulsory purchase private houses in Ethelbert Close, and adjacent properties and their subsequent demolition, as part of their plan. Since 2017 we have taken part in discussions with the developer, Countryside Properties, in a vain attempt to reduce the overwhelming impact of this development. This is just Phase 1 of a much larger planned development covering much of the town centre, the Masterplan for which was rejected in later 2018. This plan was produced, for the council by Countryside Properties themselves, and so will not be surprised to learn that this Masterplan justified their own development! Without a sensible independently produced Masterplan, fully accessible to the public, every such development will be proposed and approved piecemeal, rather than as part of a democratically agreed whole.

As has been clear to us for some time our town centre parks are increasingly under threat from private developers. This at time when public parks are increasingly recognised nationally as critical for both physical and mental wellbeing.

We thereforeĀ remain opposed to this development for the following main reasons.

  • It enables development likely to be harmful to the appearance of the Conservation Area of which this park is part.
  • The proposed buildings would dominate the parkland and overshadow it.
  • Part of this public space, as donated to Bromley council by Emily Dowling as for public use, will now be taken for commercial benefit.
  • The ‘active frontage’ proposed in parts of the Library Gardens will commercialise this public green spaces and therefore detract from its current restful nature.

Original development timescales (as at June 2018)

  • August 2017 – Conditional exchange of development agreement.
  • May 2018 – Submit planning applications and prepare CPO documents.
  • Late Summer 2018? – Secure planning consent.
  • Summer – Start CPO process.
  • Spring 2019 – CPO Inquiry.
  • Spring 2020 – Commence development.
  • Winter 2023-2025 – Completion of development.

Please revisit this page for further updates on this proposed development and our campaign against it.

More about this park >

6 thoughts on “Library Gardens Campaign

  1. Hallo

    It must be possible to develop Ethelbert road without taking the green space. Just build a fewer number of properties.

    Also is it possible to put tree preservation orders on all the trees on the areas under threat?


    • The answer to your first question is yes. Greatly reducing the height of the two buildings (16 storeys?) would also help reduce shading of the park. Unfortunately the council do not put TPOs on trees on their own land – as they are safe eh!! However we will be vigorously fighting for the retention of the Cedar tree next to ‘toilet block’, and all other significant trees on this site. Your and others ongoing support is critical to this – so please let your ward councillors know your opinions. Details on how to contact them is our recent leaflet, and also via Bromley council web site.


  2. I am opposed to the whole idea. Apart from the fact that we don’t need any more food outlets, families need houses! I object most strongly to the development. The people of Bromley should be mindful of the fact that our green spaces are slowly being destroyed and we shall become a replica of Croydon.Is that to be celebrated? No, I don’t think so.The Council welcomes the idea of flats because the revenue that it brings in rates is more than it would be if houses were built instead. Bromley Council should be ashamed of themselves!


    • While I personally sympathise with your points on local housing policy, our Friends group campaign is specifically targeted against the use of our local parks for any type of development. Currently Bromley council’s selling off of parts of this park has been put on hold, however we are very concerned that this could still happen. We are also worried that the height of these proposed buildings will totally dominate this adjacent park, and cast a deep shadow over it! We will be working with other interested parties, to try and influence the plans for these buildings, to significantly minimise its impact. I suggest that you can help fight for our parks by becoming a member of our group, as well as making your local ward councillors aware of your views.


  3. The maisonette are import to families and persons where access to Bromley is limited by distance. They need to stay as part of Bromley town accomodation. We do not need blocks of flats when there are empty building – like the council buildings in Widmore Road, Council/school in Westmoreland/Mason Hill. The arrival of more shops is not needed as there are many empty properties on the High Street and on the new ( but still not finished) St Marks Square. If you want high rise flats move to Croydon.


    • Thank you for your comments. Communities such as in Ethelbert Close is very important. I urge you to send in your objection to this planning application. You along with others can make a difference.


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