Queen’s Garden campaign.
This planned development, along with a terrace area outside the garden, would take some of the southern end of Queen’s Garden to build five restaurants. This particular area was added to the garden in 1990 in compensation for the northern part, adjacent to Market Square, then taken to build The Glades shopping centre. We believe that this proposal is unacceptable for the following reasons –
· Loss of public green space, which Bromley council says they greatly value for peoples’ healthy lifestyles and well-being.
· This space is within a Conservation Area.
· Use of this space for development is contrary to statements in the Bromley Town Area Action Plan (AAP) which was approved by the full council, after a long public consultation. We would support a small café on the Terrace area only, as identified in the AAP.
· Additional restaurant development here will compete adversely with other council plans for the revitalisation of the nearby Bromley North Village. There are already several empty restaurants in this area and a new one (ex Post Office) is about to open!
· This could set a precedent for future development in some other parks in the borough (LBB: “provision of parks is not a statutory duty for the council”).
· Sadly, after two years of campaigning the Glades management has won their appeal against L.B. Bromley rejection of their planning applications to build 5 restaurants on part of Queen’s Garden. Despite much evidence at the enquiry in early May supporting the rejection; from the council, our Friends group along with Bromley Civic Society, and many members of the local public; the government appointed Planning Inspector has overturned the democratic decision by our local councilors. The council’s only witness at the Inquiry was their former Chief Planner who had previously recommended approval of both planning applications. This inevitably came up during proceedings and greatly weakened their case. Presumably the council will now sell this land to The Glades prior to building work starting sometime in the near future.
To see the full report on this issue produced jointly by our Friends group and Bromley Civic Society please CLICK HERE .
The plans for this commercial development have been rejected by Bromley council twice, the last in 28th June 2012.
Town Green application.
To further safeguard this area we also submitted an application for the threatened area to be designated as a Town Green under the Commons Act 2006. In doing this we have used information from the Open Spaces Society and a previous applicant. Over 50 letters of support for our application were received from the local public. Independent legal advice has reportedly dismissed objections to our application, by both the council and CSC Bromley Ltd. Details of a public hearing are awaited. Following an exchange of evidence from ourselves and the two main objectors, Capital Shopping Centres and Bromley Council, the matter was put to an independent lawyer who decided that the objectors' evidence did not show a sufficient case, at that stage, to give a 'knock out' blow to our case and so recommended it go to a public Inquiry. This was held at the Civic Centre 29th-31st May 2013. In this case we were opposed by the combined legal teams of both the developer and Bromley council. The arguments made by their barristers were very complicated and precise, e.g. what constituted a neighbourhood or locality! But it mainly centred on whether we could prove that the ‘Italianate Garden’ had been regularly used by members of the public for at least 20 years before our application in February 2012. As you can imagine this was extremely difficult, what with peoples memories of so long ago. Photographic evidence provided by the council at the very last minute unfortunately seemed to indicate that this area was not publicly accessible until the autumn of 1992, that is just under the 20 years! It was however good to hear several witnesses expressing their value of the Italianate Garden and how it was an integral part of the rest of the Queen’s Garden. This notably contrasted with some rather disparaging comments made in the earlier appeal hearing!
The independently appointed inspector has accepted all but one of our arguments, for the that part of the threatened area known as the Italian Garden, to be officially designated as a Town Green. We only failed on the 20 year period and that by only 6 months. This was a result of us having to submit our application as early as possible. We have therefore written to Bromley council asking for the Italian Garden not to be sold for commercial development. Our case, for the paved area immediately adjacent to The Pavilion, was rejected.
Friends of Bromley Town Parks & Gardens
Promoting Bromley’s green centre
Having been unsuccessful with our long running campaign, against this loss of our public park for unnecessary development, we are awaiting commencement of building works. We have subsequently learned that we are also to lose The Maze adjacent to this site, to give the contractors access from Kentish Way. This was not mentioned in the planning hearing or any subsequent discussions. We wait to hear if and when we get this public space back again. The start of the work has been delayed a couple of months due to access requirements. We continue to have serious concerns about the impact of these works on the remainder of Queens Garden, especially its mature trees.
And now we have heard about the proposed sell off of much of Havelock Recreation Ground! What next?
Updated March 2015.