With the passing of the old year, and the start of another it seemed appropriate to celebrate New Years Day with a walk around all seven of our town centre parks. A hardy few turned up, despite the gloomy weather, to work off any results of the Christmas festivities and to enjoy the open spaces of our parks. On our walk we encountered only a few other park users, either walking their dogs or jogging. Otherwise we had the parks to ourselves. Some overflowing waste bins, and remains of spent fireworks on Martins Hill provided evidence of previous celebrations.
After walking through Church House Gardens we passed by the Mill Pond and the Ravensbourne feeding it, now back to its usual flow of water, a couple of visiting cormorants were sighted as well as two resident Egyptian geese who landed in nearby lake. Also spotted were a large number of golf balls isolated on the now bare mud bank. Occasionally passing members of the public have thought of these as small ‘eggs’! These have in fact floated downstream, probably from a local golf club or driving range.
After visiting several other parks, and finding them in ‘good order’, we finally arrived at Bromley Palace Park (aka Civic Centre Grounds) where we initially had a setback when we discovered that the gates at the Rafford Way entrance were locked.
Undeterred by this we instead managed to gain access to the park via the main entrance, where the automatic doors opened as usual. Needless to say we had the site to ourselves. We visited the listed features including the Ice House and the Pulhamite Cascade which we are campaigning to be restored. We duly took a photo, in front of the listed former Palace building, to celebrate our visit.
We normally end our park walks with refreshments in the on site canteen. But as it was inevitably closed we decided to call it a day and make our ways home, wondering what opportunities and challenges our Friends group would encounter in 2020.
As part of #NationalTreeWeek volunteers recently attended a @BromleyGreenGym event in College Green #Bromley, to plant thirty native tree saplings, as well as a couple of fruit trees. It was sunny and dry, and so with their help all scheduled tasks to were duly completed.
Also volunteers prepared the ground for a new improved willow dome, which will be completed in the next few weeks.
Afterwards the volunteers were able to celebrate all their efforts over a hot drink and biscuits. Everybody mentioned what a good time they had.
The saplings were provided by Mayor of London, and the fruit trees were bought by Bromley Green Gym themselves.
Bromley Green Gym, who help maintain this park, run sessions in College Green, College Road BR1 1PA – every Friday 11am-2pm and welcome anybody to turn up and take part.
This is that time of the year when our parks become really colourful. Whether maple, beech or in this case Gingko the trees turn various shades of brown, red or yellow all too briefly and then shed their leaves as they prepare for winter. In that short time they cheer us up a little, whether sunny or overcast.
On 16 October, despite continuing doubts as to the de-registering of the land as Urban Open Space, the council’s Executive Committee ‘rubber-stamped’ the sale of the land currently occupied by former Joesph Lancaster and Ann Springman buildings. In less than five minutes, and without any public discussion, the decision was confirmed. Later discussions were held in secret session. We now await details fo how this site is going to be developed by the new owner and any implications on continuing access to the adjacent park from Rafford Way.Pa
The item relating to the proposed sale of the land on the Civic Centre, formerly council offices and now called officially “the Y buildings”, was deferred from discussion at yesterday’s Executive Committee meeting. While no reasons were given, it is suspected that this was due to the land on which these buildings are located being still registered as Urban Open Space, and as such cannot be used for housing. A short reprieve perhaps, but expect the council seeking to de-register this land in the coming weeks. I understand that this would include a period of public consultation. So we will continue to campaign on this along with Bromley Civic Society. This is part of the plan to sell off much of the Civic Centre site, including the historic former Bishop’s Palace, currently housing the Mayor’s Parlour. Read more>
Queens Garden has been awarded a Green Flag Award for a second year running, as one of the very best in the world. Queens Garden joins several other green spaces awarded recognition in Bromley.
This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.
“We are absolutely delighted to receive a Green Flag Award for the second year. We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and this award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining Queens Garden to such a high standard. This park has been enjoyed by the public for over a hundred years and we are confident that they will continue to do so in the future.”
Jeff Royce, Chairman, Friends of Bromley Town Parks & Gardens
Filming for a new television series was taking place in Church House Gardens on Sunday. This is understood to be for an upcoming light-hearted comedy pilot. Our town centre parks are no stranger to being used for such activities, as their very variety provides many interesting opportunities.
Butterflies, along with much else of our natural world, is finding it extremely difficult with threats from climate change, agricultural intensification, etc. It is increasingly important therefore to provide suitable habitats in our parks, where possible. So it was with great interest that three of our members (Chris, Julie and Jeff), along with members of other Park Friends groups, yesterday attended an introductory butterfly course at High Elms Country Park yesterday. Led by Steven Lofting (idVerde/RSPB) we learnt how to tell them from moths, as well as their life-cycle, habitat requirements and the many current habitat threats they face. We then had a practical session walking through an adjacent flower-rich meadow. Here we tried out our newly acquired skills, identifying eleven species of butterflies.
We left the course each inspired to search for butterflies in each of our own parks, and where possible to make them more butterfly friendly (not to mention other insects, etc).
There continues to be pollution of the Mill Pond, in Glassmill Lane, Bromley. so the water has become cloudy khaki coloured in appearance. This has been reported and Thames Water have been tasked to investigate. There is some suggestion that this may be related to a burst water main in the Masons Hill area earlier today. We await any further news. The appearance has been made worse by the current very low flow rate on the River Ravensbourne due to the recent lack of rain. Any significant rain should eventually disperse this downstream and into the Thames.
There have been many previous pollution incidents here. These are often the result of incorrect waste connections in either domestic or business premises. Thames Water along with the Environment Agency are working to identify such incidents and identify the culprits.
A Public Notice was recently published in the News Shopper in which Bromley council has announced its proposed sale of part of the grounds of the Bromley Palace Park (aka Civic Centre) for development. This despite there being no planning application, or indeed any details of what would be built, so we the public are therefore a unable to judge whether this sale is justifiable. This ‘back door’ sale is very similar to the earlier attempt to sell off park of Library Gardens for the Churchill Quarter development. In this latter case campaigning pressure made the council withdraw their public notice of sale – at least for now. It seems that the council have not learnt!
So our Friends group have sent in a letter of objection, copied to the Bromley Town ward councillors. The palace site contains several Grade 2 listed features and indeed one of them, a Folly, is within the land to be sold off to private developers! This area is a highly valued public green space of great importance to both our group and the wider Bromley public. How the council deal with it should properly reflect this. We hope that members of the public will support us in this.