Bromley Council are in the process of identifying and seeking funding for a programme of improvements for our High Street. A working group of local community organisations and the Council has been created. Among many potential improvements to regenerate the High Street, one is to re-brand as ‘Beckenham Village’. The Working Group is divided on the issue, some prefer Beckenham to continue to be known as a town, others prefer it to be re-branded as a village.
We would like the opinions of our residents and local businesses to be taken into account. Which most represents Beckenham, town or village? Please vote (anonymously) below. This vote is open to all residents and businesses of Beckenham. Please pass on the web link of this poll to your neighbours, the more votes the better. The results will be passed on to the council. Before voting you may wish to read the comments at the bottom of the page. *** At our AGM (21 March 2012) we conducted a paper poll. The results were: Town (10), Village (6) and Either (1).***
3 thoughts on “YOUR VOTE – should Beckenham remain a town or become a village?”
Beckenham is a town and capital of the one time Borough of Beckenham. We have a multi-screen cinema, twelve stations, trams, many bus routes, several swimming pools, dozens of leisure/dance centres. There are 250 businesses, some 15 churches including, in the High Street, St George’s Church known as the ‘Cathedral of NW Kent’ with its own orchestra and Arts Festival. Additionally the Beckenham Festival celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.
This year two CCARA members sit on the Beckenham Planning Group which is preparing submissions for funds from TfL, HLF, and and other London agencies. To receive £millions we need to be recognised as a major town requiring a face lift and full recognition of our importance as the centre of numerous surrounding villages in BR3.
Blackheath is a mega rich town equal to Bath, Buxton or Harrogate. It does not have too many local villagey residents groups like the ten or so across Beckenham. There is one Blackheath Society owning property, huge sums in the bank and an annual income of £15 pa from some 900 members. There must be one Beckenham representing its 90,000 residents.
I found the descriptions of the two option biased, showing the village option as boring and outdated option with no room for a night-life.
“A town – “Beckenham Town” could evoke a vibrant heritage market town, thriving independent shops, great pub/restaurant dining, bustling nightlife, useful amenities, a weekend destination.
A village – “Beckenham Village” could evoke a quaint, historic village close to London, charming shops, great pub/restaurant lunches, fairs on the Green, pretty outside spaces, an afternoon out.”
A town – planning that disregards the character of the High Street, heavy traffic through the shopping street, unpleasant outside space, stressful shopping/going out experience.
A village – planning that considers the character of the High Street, pedestrian friendly shopping street, pleasant and inviting outside space, enjoyable shopping/going out experience.
Anyone who has been in an urban village, like Blackheath or Wimbledon, will know they are not the sleepy, quaint villages you find in the country, but vibrant and attractive places.
Why will a “village” denomination secure less fund for Beckenham? Being a town doesn’t seem to attract much funding for Beckenham. On the other hand Bromley North and Orpington villages are attracting considerable more funds than Beckenham to make improvements to the area to make it a more attractive place for residents, visitors and businesses.
The CCARA was formed a year after the creation of the Borough of Beckenham in 1935 when it was the richest in Kent. WW2 saw the destruction of our town centre but the spirit of Beckenham’s people remained underfeated. Today Beckenham’s people know each other and it is delightful to be recognised and talk to friends in an envronment evocative of Ambridge, but it is vital that our status as a major town is recognised so that we are heard and receive a fair share of the resources of Bromley which relies on us for 30% of its council tax income.