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.
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.
While it is great to see responsible dog owners walking their pets in nearly all of our parks, there are some areas in which dogs, other than assistance dogs, are unwelcome. This is to ensure that in these ‘dog free’ areas wildlife, along with people, especially young children, can remain safe. For example children can get an infection from dog waste left on the grass that they play on.
Such ‘dog free’ areas are; Church House Gardens (part) and Queens Garden. The entrances to these areas are clearly marked (as in above image). Sadly in a very few cases irresponsible dog owners ignore such restrictions and deliberately take their dogs into these areas. So doing they risk the well being of children and other park users and a possible £80 fine.
If you come across any such a miscreant, please call Bromley Council Enforcement on 0208 313 4870, or Ward Security on 0845 476180
Sadly an example of the misuse of a good new idea by a few anti-social people. Somebody has thrown an e-bike into the River Ravensbourne at the Mill Pond, in Glassmill Lane. This follows another e-bike that was dumped into the lake in Church House Gardens about the same time, but was later removed by the idVerde parks maintenance team.
The Lime e-bikes have been introduced into Bromley town centre about a week ago. Let us hope that such events do not sour this scheme.
With the recent record high winter temperatures the natural world could be forgiven for believing that Spring has arrived, as shown in above image? Just twelve months after the ‘Beast from the East” snow showers, we have been more than 20 deg C higher! Hopefully not all will be lost when the cold weather returns. The crocuses, daffodils,snowdrops & snowbells beneath the steps in Church House Gardens are so beautiful. The Egyptian geese pair are almost certainly preparing to nest here this year, and two Mallard pairs already have a nests.
Friends members cleared the water, mud and stones out of the pond, with some help from the local idVerde team. In doing so they chad carefully relocated some six smooth newts found in the mud. A small but long crack was identified as the reason for the slow leak in this pond. This and other cracks would be repaired as soon as possible; and then refilling and restocking with suitable plants to make it attractive again for frogs, newts, etc.
This concrete lined pond is found, where the entrance hall of the former Church House was located. This building was very badly damaged by bombs in 1941. Only the faintest outline of this building can still be found on the ground.
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 High Elms Country Park 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.