New life for derelict space?

Derelict site of former Maze.

Derelict site of former Maze.

Where there used to be a pleasant Maze now stands an empty waste! The Maze was sacrificed so that easy access could be provided to construct the five new restaurants. Go to our Queens Garden campaign page to learn more about how this happened. Now Bromley council is deciding what to replace this wasteland with. It is proposed that a rustic ch ildren’s playground will be built here. Unfortunately intuBromley, who currently manage the shopping centre, are only willing to contribute £50k towards this, despite them gaining a valuable site for their multi-million pound development.This sadly is not much money for a really exciting playground worthy of this site. Four companies submitted proposals for this site. The best design, of a poor bunch, ŵas preferred by a local panel and it is hoped that the Bromley councillors will make their decision soon, so that this eyesore is no more.

Church House Gardens proposals

Path though Dickerson's Copse.

Dickerson’s Copse, Church House Gardens

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.