HISTORIC BECKENHAM THEATRE MAY FACE DEMOLITION

The Beckenham Theatre is selling off its building at 46 Bromley Road. Thankfully the theatre company itself is not closing, but they are selling off their current building due to high maintenance costs.

Naturally this site will be prime for residential development and given the high costs to fix up the existing building we anticipate a developer will want to demolish it and build a large block that maximises every bit of space.

Unfortunately the theatre building is not listed, nor in a Conservation Area. Our Associations wrote to the Bromley’s Advisory Panel for Conservation Areas (ACPA) to enquire about the possibility of listing the building or placing it in a Conservation Area but it seems it would not meet the threshold.  Local community groups are carefully monitoring the development here for appropriate design and density.

Community groups are also investigating options to save the theatre building, but it may now be too late given the scale of the works and the sale timetable. It is the sort of project that would need Council support, but given the pandemic it seems unlikely the Council will have any funds to support such a project although the government has committed to investing in the arts post pandemic recovery.  

A history of Beckenham Theatre

The BECKENHAM THEATRE CENTRE, was initiated at the end of World War Two by a librarian working in the children’s section of Beckenham Public Library, who discovered that reading aloud from play-scripts was a fantastic way of teaching English to young people. 

As they grew older, the children she taught developed such an interest in drama that they took to writing their own plays and performing them in local church halls and the like.

At some point, late in the 1950s or early ’60s, some of these children, now grown up, were able to acquire a large Victorian house at very little cost, and over the following few years they spent innumerable hours – and any extra money they could find – converting it into a real theatre.

The theatre had (and has) a proper stage, not only with wings but also with an open gallery above it, enabling pieces of scenery to be dropped in and out on pulleys. Above the back part of the auditorium, a sophisticated control-room was constructed so that the sound and lighting operators could directly see the action on the stage. An extensive costume wardrobe was instated. Rehearsal rooms, a foyer, kitchen, toilets, cloakroom, and even a small bar were also somehow carved out from the space – in short, all of the features that one might expect from a professional theatre, albeit on a bijou scale (the auditorium seats 43).

Not surprisingly, these actors/playwrights were keen to introduce their own children to the joys of theatre, and children’s theatre workshops were established at an early stage.

Over the subsequent years, hundreds and hundreds of plays were duly rehearsed and performed there – including dozens of new works – by an increasing band of teenagers and adults and, separately, by many, many children.

A sensible constitutional structure was set up, with a subscription system topping-up the takings from the box-office, meaning that the theatre was entirely self-financing, on an operational basis, almost from the start.

This model was successfully sustained for more than sixty years. 

However, about two years ago, it was determined that asbestos had been used to fire-proof the basement and the outside storage shed. The complexity and cost of its removal, plus the ongoing maintenance of the quirky theatre conversion was too much for the amateur theatre company. 

On the theatre’s website, Malcolm Jones, Chair of Beckenham Theatre Trustees said “In the end, it is an old Victorian building, converted in 1960 by a group of enthusiasts for amateur theatre, and the fact that it was still functioning in 2021 is amazing and would have probably utterly surprised those pioneers, many of whom I knew well.”

We are very pleased the Theatre Company will continue from new premises and hope that the site is developed with good taste.

Beckenham Constituency Boundary Review – have your say by 2 August 2021

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) is currently conducting a review the parliamentary constituencies, referred to as the 2023 Review. The review is heavily informed by public consultation and local people and groups are invited to provide feedback.

The changes proposed for the Beckenham Constituency are: Bromley Common and Keston ward and Hayes and Coney Hall ward are moved out to the Bromley Constituency; Clock House ward, Crystal Palace ward, Penge and Cator ward are moved in from the Lewisham West and Penge Constituency. The wards of Copers Cope, Kelsey and Eden Park, Shortlands, and West Wickham will remain in the Beckenham constituency.

Current wards in the constituency: Bromley Common and Keston, Copers Cope, Hayes and Coney Hall, Kelsey and Eden Park, Shortlands, and West Wickham.

Proposed wards: Clock House, Crystal Palace, Copers Cope, Kelsey and Eden Park, Penge and Cator, Shortlands, and West Wickham.

Find out more on the Boundary Commission website here.

Feedback by 2 August 2021

The first consultation round ends on 2 August 2021 – this when the Boundary Commission is particularly interested to hear from people about the extent to which the proposals reflect the local ties in the area, and if people disagree with our proposals, how they think they should be amended. Then there will be two further rounds of public consultation.

How to make a comment on the proposals

This can be done online directly on to the new boundary map – the link for the Beckenham boundary map can be found here.

General comments can also be provided online via this web form.

Bromley Trading Standards: Scam roofer operating in Beckenham – Surefix Roofing and Construction

Bromley Trading Standards has responded rapidly to incidents in Penge and
Beckenham where exorbitant prices have been quoted for roofing work. We are
also investigating claims made by the trader that the roofs are unsafe.
Following a neighbour’s intervention, we ensured one householder did not pay,
whilst the other case is ongoing.


Trading Standards is asking for any information regarding Surefix Roofing and
Construction giving a London N13 address which is suspected to be false.
Please contact our Rapid Response line on 07903 852090, if you are affected, or
through the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Remember, dealing with doorstep cold callers, or responding to a leaflet without
following our advice below risks: shoddy work, a fraction of what was quoted
being done, having no recourse, and being substantially overcharged.

CCARA letter to Council in support of continued live streaming of Council meetings

The Government’s COVID rules which allowed Councils to conduct decision-making meetings online recently came to an end. Councils must now return to the Council chambers for in-person committee meetings. However, the rules do not stop Council’s continuing to live stream meetings. The Council are considering whether to do this at a meeting tonight. Our Association strongly supports live streaming as it gives local people more access to local decision making – read our letter here.

Our letter to MP – Planning Law changes

Our Association (Copers Cope Area Residents’ Association) and sister Association (West Beckenham Residents’ Association ) has written to our MP Bob Stewart regarding the Governments proposed planning law changes. We were joined by both the Shortlands and West Wickham residents associations in relaying our concerns that the proposed changes, which require local authorties to zone all land to streamline development, will take away the current rights of local people in the planning process. You can read our letter here (and the Oct 2020 letter here).

In his reply, Bob Stewart said he agreed with our concerns “about planning proposals and the “zoning” of local authority areas as well as the removal of rights of residents to participate in planning decisions on a case by case basis.” He also suggested that the Government may be having a re-think.

major new housing development at worsley bridge road, June 2021

A major new housing development is being planned at the former British Gas sports ground on Worsley Bridge Road, at the junction with Copers Cope Road.

The proposed development, situated on Metropolitan Open Land (MOL), is for 121 new homes comprised of 39 three-bedroom houses and 82 one and two-bedroom flats and 100 car parking spaces.

newhomescb

 

The developer is holding online Q&A sessions today (Tuesday 8th June) and tomorrow (Wednesday 9th June)

Here is a direct link to the consultation where you can find detailed information about the proposals and register to join one of the online Q&A events.

The developer’s letter to local residents is below:

 

Caerus Beckenham Q&A letter

 

 

 

 

 

BIGGIN hILL AIRPORT EXPANSION – HAVE YOUR SAY BY 26 mAY 2021

We have been advised by other Bromley Residents’ Association’s that Biggin Hill Airport have requested requested a variation to their lease with Bromley Council to allow “private flying including by accepting individual farepaying passengers”. Concerns have been raised that this change may increase air traffic, and in turn passenger traffic to the airport, and also that the current restictions on air movements of 50,000 a year set in 2016 was only for 5 years. Associated pollution and noise concerns have also been raised. The Council Executive are due to make a decision at a meeting on 26 May 2021. The formal proposal can be seen here and the meeting agenda here.

Residents who wish to comment are encouraged to email the Leader of the Council Colin.smith@bromley.gov.uk and their local councillors (see contact info here).

Do you know of any mistakes on the War Memorial? – Let the council know by 17 May 2021

As we reported in our last newsletter, the Express Review, Bromley Council have agreed to put an addendum plaque on the memorials in Beckenham and West Wickham to correct the spelling of the name of Private Alfred M Fullex. Private Fullex, a World War I soldier has had his name spelled incorrectly on both the Beckenham and West Wickham war memorials for over 100 years and when this came to light following contact from a relative of Private Fullex.

The council is inviting Bromley residents to come forward if they are aware of other misspellings on any war memorials in the borough so that the council can look into making any further amendments that may be required.

Interested parties should email suggestions to towncentres@bromley.gov.uk by 17 May 2021.

Council decide £40M Crystal Palace Park Regeneration Scheme this week, March 2021

Bromley Council are meeting on Thursday 25 March to consider their Crystal Palace Park regeneration scheme for outline planning approval. 

Plan of the Park and proposed changes  (red dots and text added by CCARA)

The major project, first submitted last spring, involves the conservation and repair of heritage assets across the Park, landscaping, new paths, the demolition of some existing buildings, the change of use of some land and the construction of new buildings, including two housing developments.

Around half of the £40M cost of the scheme is to be funded by the two new residential developments.  The existing caravan park, at Rockhills in the northern corner of the Park, would be cleared to make way for 140 new flats built on part of the land with the remainder being returned to public access.  Further east, along Crystal Palace Park Road, the existing nursery building, St John’s Ambulance station and Park Rangers’ maintenance building would be demolished and replaced with a second housing development of 70 new flats called Sydenham Villas.  The London Plan requires developments on public sector land to provide 50% affordable homes, however the Council is proposing only 24 flats of this category.

The nursery would be relocated to a new Community Centre, to be built on the existing caravan park site.  A new Park Ranger’s building would be provided slightly further west from the current building.  St John’s Ambulance would be relocated either to the new Community Centre or a new Information Centre proposed to be built on the site of the existing building, close to the Penge Gate.

A new Cultural Centre is proposed at the Upper Terrace and would be linked to the Subway.  Some of the Farm buildings at the Capel Manor College would be demolished and rebuilt, and others renovated to improve facilities for the public.

The meeting is on Thursday 25th March at 6.30pm and the public can view it via YouTube.

Full details of the proposals, and a link to the meeting can be found here

another large Housing Development Planned on Bromley Road, march 2021

A planning application has been made to the Council for 27 flats and involves the demolition of another large Victorian house in Beckenham, on the corner of Crescent Road and Bromley Road.

The scheme, by Woolbro Group, involves the demolition of the existing two-storey Victorian building and recent annexes, last used as a care home, replacing it with a large, part-three part-four storey block of 27No. flats.  The new building comprises 12No. one-bedroom and 15No two-bedroom flats with the capacity to accommodate up to 82 people.  Only 19 parking spaces are provided.  

Crescent Road proposed elevation

Despite a requirement in the Bromley Local Plan for affordable housing to be provided in every new development of 11 units or more, here is yet another example of a development being proposed in Beckenham which provides none at all, because the developer claims they can’t afford to include it.  The market value of the smallest  1-bedroom flats  in the £10M development is expected to be £300,000 each.

A time of writing, there had been more than 200 objections to the proposal.

Full details of the planning application are on the Council’s website here 20/05008/FULL where you can also register comments.
If you wish to comment on the proposal,  you have until Friday 19th March to do so.  
You must give your full name and address, or your views may not be registered.

Mini roundabout proposed at junction of Bromley Rd, Scott’s Lane and Downs Bridge Rd, March 2021

The installation of a mini roundabout at the junction of Bromley Road, with Scotts Lane and Downs Bridge Road, supported by ward Councillors, is due to be discussed at a meeting of the Council’s Environmental and Community Services Policy Development and Scrutiny committee on Thursday 11 March at 6.30pm (see agenda and attached documents here). Unusually, the Council Officer report states that TfL do not recommend a mini roundabout be installed at this point.

Please let us know your views by email to hello@coperscope.org.uk. Ward Councillors contact details can be found here.

LAST CHANCE – ALBEMARLE ROAD CYCLE SCHEME CHANGES – HAVE YOUR SAY TODAY 3 MARCH 2021

The temporary scheme on Albemarle Rd is being reviewed by the Council (it will be 6 months from implementation in May). Many local residents have provided feedback on the scheme and the Council’s Highways Team have taken onboard some of the comments received and are proposing significant changes. The Council are undertaking a subsequent consultation on 2 options:

OPTION 1 – alter  the scheme by installing traffic lights on Westgate Bridge, make part of Albemarle Rd two way, and keep the trial going

Westgate Road Bridge – 2 way with traffic lights

Our Association raised with the Council that the new cycleway and the closure of Westgate Rd Bridge to road users northbound did not link up with the long-proposed TfL cycle way at Lower Sydenham planned to go along Worsley Bridge Rd. It appeared that the Council had not considered the linkages between the 2 schemes in designing Albemarle Rd.   Cyclists travelling from Bromley from Albemarle Rd to Lower Sydenham would either have to dismount and push their bike over Westgate Rd Bridge where the pavement is not wide enough to do this safely or traverse the hazardous Beckenham Junction which does not have any cycle boxes.

If cycle schemes are to be effective it is essential they are connected to other cycle ways. We are pleased the Council took this on board and have secured funding from TfL put traffic lights on Westgate Rd Bridge so that a more interlinked cycling Quietway can be created from Albemarle Road to Lower Sydenham without cyclists having to negotiate the busy crossroads at  Beckenham Junction.

Our Association understands from the Council that the traffic lights installed at Westgate Road bridge will be ‘smart’,monitoring the traffic and adjusting to avoid unnecessary traffic queues.

This is excellent news for all road users, there are very few places to cross the railway line in Beckenham, and having Westgate Bridge back two-way will alleviate congestion at peak time, whilst encouraging cycle use travelling south to north.

It is important to note that TfL will only fund the traffic lights on the bridge as part of a cycle route – if the Albemarle Rd cycle scheme is scrapped the traffic lights will not be provided.

The exact route of the quiet way from Westgate Road Bridge to Lower Sydenham has not yet been finalised and we anticipate there will be opportunity for residents to give their views.  Our Association will also be engaging with the Council on this.  Please let us know your views at hello@coperscope.org.uk

Albemarle Road to Westgate Road reverts to two-way traffic again

The Council propose to make Albemarle Road two-way between Beckenham Junction and Westgate Road.  This will mean the sharp turn in the road that was installed to direct Bromley Bound traffic off Albemarle Rd and down St George’s Road, past the Harris Beckenham Green School, will be removed and the junction returned to its original configuration.

This is good news for pedestrians who found it difficult to cross over St George’s Road at this point, with cars having right of way. This will also benefit the school, as rush-hour traffic will no longer be funnelled down St George’s Road

Albemarle Road partially reverting  back to two-way traffic, and two-way access over  Westgate Road Bridge, will have a significant effect on traffic flows in this part of Beckenham at peak time.

The Council has confirmed that the cycle lane wands on Albemarle Rd will be retained in the section of road that reverts back to two-way. We are following up about the road cleaning around the wands as debris is already building up around them.

The trial will be extended to assess the changes

The Council has confirmed the trial will be extended to assess the changes above. In a few months time residents will have the opportunity to give their views again on the amended scheme.

OPTION 2 – scrap the whole scheme

As the Albemarle Road Scheme is temporary it can be removed in its entirety.  However this will mean that TfL will not fund the traffic lights for Westgate Road bridge. We understand that Bromley Council do not have funding to do this independently.

Many readers will be aware of the £700k scheme in Kensington and Chelsea that was removed. In response TfL are reported to have said it would be unlikely to fund any schemes in the borough in the near future.  In Beckenham alone there are so many important highways schemes that need funding, a pedestrian phase at the lights by Corner Ways Surgery / Beckenham Theatre, crossings by schools, a crossing by Beckenham Place Park to name a few – none of these are likely to be funded directly by the Council, and without TfL funds may never be realised.

COMPLETE THE SURVEY BY 3 MARCH

Online session on bromley covid vaccination programme 10 march 2021

Bromley Healthcare invites all Bromley residents to an online event on the 10th March (3 – 4pm). Book your place before 7th March.

Get the latest information on the COVID vaccination rollout in Bromley.

In this session there will be an update on where NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group are with the vaccination programme in Bromley, how you can help them reach different communities, what information would be helpful for the public and reflecting on the volunteer support to the vaccination programme.

Please register here. Deadline 7th March.

census day 21 march 2021

The next national Census is due to take place on 21 March 2021, managed by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The Census is a once in a decade opportunity to determine the profile of our resident population. Many funding decisions are based on the data collected, so it is important to maximise opportunities to engage with residents, especially hard-to-reach groups, and to raise awareness to ensure a maximum return rate. 

This time, the Census is digital first, with 90% of households being sent a pack that includes an online access code for completion.  The remaining 10%, identified by ONS as likely to need them, will be sent a paper version.  Residents can request paper versions if they receive an online pack and are unable to use it. ONS has a range of support mechanisms in place to help complete the census such as questionnaires in a range of formats/languages, a network of field trained support staff, as well as contact centre support via phone, web chat, social media, text, etc.

Postcards are to be sent to all households in mid-February informing them the census is coming and, from 3 March, packs are to be sent asking people to take part and explaining how. A range of reminder campaigns will follow throughout April and field campaigns in May in areas of low completion.

For more information go to www.census.gov.uk

If you are a Twitter user, you can follow the Census coverage at @Census2021.

Update on southeastern train timetables Feb 2021

New timetables for Southeastern train services have been issued on 22 Feb 2021. Please note:

Hayes line: no direct services from Beckenham to London Charing Cross at off-peak hours (between 10.30 and 15.30); service to Lewisham/London Bridge every 15 minutes

Victoria line: service from Beckenham to Herne Hill/Victoria every 15 minutes; service into London Blackfriars/City Thameslink/Farringdon/St Pancras International via Herne Hill every 30 minutes

Thameslink services between Orpington & Luton via Catford will have two services a day in each direction
Sevenoaks to Blackfriars services via Catford continue to operate two trains per hour

Further details at: https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/travel-information/live-travel-information/timetables

BROMLEY VACCINE & COVID UPDATE Feb 2021

BROMLEY VACCINE & COVID UPDATE

An update on the vaccine rollout across Bromley from NHS South East London CCG shows the percentage of each priority group having received a first vaccine dose as of 18 February 2021:

80 years and over – 91.61%

75 – 79 years old – 90.95%

70 – 74 years old – 90.95%

Clinically extremely vulnerable – 85.33%

65 – 69 years old – 75.27%

The NHS is offering everyone in the top 4 priority groups a vaccine and will be contacting the next 5 priority groups, starting with the over-65s. If you are over 65 years old, clinically extremely vulnerable or a health and social care worker, you can book a vaccination appointment: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/

Bromley’s infection rate has dropped to 85.5 cases per 100,000 people, its lowest since mid-October. Lockdown has helped ease pressure on the NHS and our local Trust has seen the number of patients in hospital with coronavirus almost halve since the January peak.