Library Gardens Campaign

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Bromley council are to compulsory purchase private houses in Ethelbert Close, and adjacent properties, as part of their plan for two very large multi-storied apartment blocks to built on this site. There is very limited information on this development at present. The following image however is a visualisation, based on provisional details published earlier in the Bromley Times. This gives an impression of then possible impact upon this public open space. The new four storey buildings on the right of this picture below will have an ‘active frontage’ at ground level.

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Development timescales (as at 5 July 2017)

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

On 20th June a Public Notice was published in the News Shopper, announcing  Bromley council’s intention to sell off, on a 250 year lease, parts of Library Gardens (aka Church House Gardens) to Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd. as part of this development. This notice was even before public consultations on Site G, Phase 1 has even started! We feel that any such proposal, if still relevant, should only be issued after the full public consultation process has taken place, if this process is to be really meaningful, and not just a ‘tick box’ exercise. This notice was subsequently withdrawn, at least temporarily, on 20 July 2017, partly as a result of some 40 objections being received from members of the public. It could however return as part of any planning application. 

  • Loss of Public Open Space.
  • Loss of Open Green Space.
  • Loss of Urban Open Space.
  • Enables development likely to be harmful to the appearance of the Conservation Area of which this park is part. The two proposed buildings (up to 16 storeys?) would dominate the parkland and overshadow it.
  • Threat of loss of mature Cedar tree (next to closed toilet block) shown in proposed development area.
Below is a copy of the map showing the existing open space boundary (dotted line) and the proposed new boundary (solid line).
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The council contend that they were giving back (eventually) the same area of land that they are taking from us. However this land which is, so-called returned for the use of the public, will remain owned by the developer for at least 250 years rather than the public and, as such, could easily be later used for private development in a similar to the loss of part of Queens Garden to restaurant development. See the enclosed plan showing the loss of public Urban Open Space highlighted in green. The proposed boundaries are in fact to suite the development of multi-storied buildings (4 stories and above) rather than to “smooth out the park boundaries” as claimed! We have other serious reservations on the wider proposed developments, based on the limited information perviously released in the Bromley Times.
We will be engaging with Countryside Properties and other stakeholders, so as to endeavour to mitigate the impact of any such development on our public green open spaces. We will keep you informed on any news as this evolves.
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 as critical for both physical and mental wellbeing.

4 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?

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    • 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.

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  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!

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    • 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.

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