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240 acres (85 hectares) of open space. Ancient Woodland, Grass/meadow areas, Riverside and Heritage features.

History  

Buildings

Interior Plaster Decor

Nature Trail    

Gardens

Sensory Garden

Woodland  

Ancient Trees   

Meadows  

Riverside  

Wildlife  

Golf Course

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Newsletters Archive


Newsletter for January 2017.   also see Events page for current and old newsletters links, as well as events for the coming months.

News:
March 2017 Tree Planting: see
Woodland

(Jan2017) Environment Agency flood alleviation scheme latest from the EA,
"Works we’re proposing which would reduce the risk of flooding to Lewisham and Catford.  You may already be familiar with our proposals via my colleague Richard Peddie, or following the public consultation that we carried out in the summer of 2014, when the scheme was at an earlier stage of development.

We are now starting to undertake detailed design and there will be another public consultation this summer when there will be a further opportunity to see the latest proposals and influence the design.

The reason for contacting you now is that contractors working on our behalf will be at various sites close to the river Ravensbourne over the next month to check ground conditions.  Please see the attached briefing notes for more information.  One gives general background about the scheme, and the other provides some details about the ground investigation works."

2 file links here:   Ground Investigations       Flood Scheme overview

Mansion Leaseholders:(Dec2016) Sydney Thornbury is managing the Mansion for the next 22 months for RJK Properties on lease from Lewisham.  Several improvements are underway in preparation for events and activities.  Some refreshment facilities are available while work is underway. The old toilet block next to the mansion has been reopened and cleaned up by Lewisham park management. Fuller info in articles in the current newsletter.

The Friends Visitor Centre continues to run on Sunday afternoons 1.30 to 3.30

A Planning application for Lottery bid related work(Dec2016) has been submitted on Lewisham's website and viewable at the planning offices in Catford. See this link.
The consultation period is officially over but written comments may be sent up until the  application goes before the full council (we believe). Consult Lewisham planning department if you wish to comment.

Information received from Save Beckenham 18 campaign:  Lewisham have organised and invited objectors to attend a 'Drop-in-Session on  Wednesday 25th January at The Barn, Green Man, 355 Bromley Road, SE6 2RP. They have advised the session that will be attended by Local Ward Councillors and we assume members of the Regeneration scheme Gavin Plaskitt and Allison Taylor.
The purpose of the meeting the Council advises is " enable the councillors to be made aware of the concerns of local residents before the application is considered by the Council Planning Committee. This is an informal meeting and on the basis this is not a formal meeting there will be no minutes of what is said and what answers are given therefore your committee has genuine concerns about its value.
We have made representation to Suzanne White based on the Council’s advice about Planning Committees. Where they state that in respect of "When would an application be referred to a planning committee"  It says "When three or more objections or petitions are received or if an objection is received from an amenity society e.g.(Blackheath Society, Telegraph Hill Society) then the application will automatically be referred to planning committee.

It’s important to us that we are given that formal Planning Committee at which the public can be present and where there is an opportunity for one objector to formally speak ( take a look at the council website).

Cyclocross Event and Conservation.
Perhaps a too hastily arranged event for cyclists who enjoy cross country riding. This has raised concerns, not least from the Friends.  The intention to remove golf course trees to open the parkland vista as it might have been in the 18th century seems illogical if its only to have a muddy scar across it from such events.  Among concerns are that now it will be used by other cyclists and walkers to make it a permanent desire line. It may have damaged some ecological features rare in Lewisham.  Lewisham's own claim to conserve the heritage is undermined by intensive use events which are desired by the Council.  We hope to moderate the impact of events through discussion on forums which have been set up to address Events, Schools and Children,  Nature and History.  The park can be enjoyed by people but its environment and biodiversity is delicately balanced. We urge park users to keep to paths as much as possible and avoid trampling woodland floor plants.   Bluebells and other plants are being reduced year on year by increased footfall in woodland particularly.

Christmas Event Sunday 4th December.  The event was well attended by approximately 1200-1500 people.  A good result considering the short amount of time available for organising it.  Hopefullly this event will be repeated next year and there is something to build on. The Friends ran a christmas card making workshop.  Other groups did lantern making and medalion making with woodland materials.  The snow machine was popular with adults and children.  Apologies to people who had to wait to get in as the mansion was full to bursting on several occasions. We hope to work with Sydney and the leaseholders on this and other events in the future. Directions such as satnav and online directed people via the private road but this is being addressed, google now has directions for the Beckenham Hill entrance.

Golf Course, and toilets in the mansion are officially closed from the end of October 2016. Tennis Courts will become unavailable at some time in the near future. The visitor centre is to be kept open on sunday afternoons as usual.  The toilet block adjacent to the mansion has been reopened.  See Sydney Thornbury article in the newsletter for cafe facilities details.

Park Lottery Bid, progress report in the newsletter.
The stage 2 bid was approved in mid December, see the article in the newsletter from Alison Taylor, Lewisham's Project Manager.



Golf Campaign
Closure of the Golf Course proposed by the Lottery bid has prompted a Save Beckehham 18 campaign to oppose  closure.  search Google for it, there is an online petition, website, facebook and twitter presence. Closure of the course would deny more than 500 park users access to golf locally and this decision is based on the preference of about 60 people in a survey of people who dont use the park.
 

Lewisham Parks Forum 
a group made up of representatives of park Friends groups, for  example Friends of:  Chinbrook Meadows, Ladywell Fields, Telegraph Hill, Blythe Hill Fields, Hilly Fields, Sydenham Wells, Home Park, Mayow Park to mention a few.  The Forum will address issues and problems arising in park use and management. See the Forum page and newsletters.

Sensory Garden - Our volunteer team regularly undertake work once a month and often every 2 weeks in the growing season. Sensory Garden pdf   A leaflet explaining the uses and design of the sensory garden. Volunteers welcome. currently on 2nd saturday mornings 10am to 12noon.

Beckenham Place Nature Trail: the leaflet is on this link pdf file and on our pamphlets page via 'Events' page, or use this easy to print file for directions.  Also a .kml file  of waypoints which will work with smartphone, google earth and tablet map and gps apps to show the waypoints for the nature trail. Also, a .gpx file of the route so that you technofiles can have all the electronic aids available. I like the Maverick Android mapping app. Leaflets are still available in the visitor centre. We are working on a version that wont display upside down on a digital screen.

Contact us at bpp.friends@ntlworld.com

The Visitor Centre is open 1.30 to 3.30 on Sunday afternoons.

Park Features:

About the Park (see other pages for full history etc.)

The first time or occasional visitor to BPP may not appreciate its true extent. The Park lies on the Lewisham/Bromley border strictly speaking between Downham, Bellingham, Beckenham and Shortlands.

It was acquired from the Cator Estate by the LCC circa 1927, passed through the hands of the GLC and then on to the London Borough of Lewisham. A 'well kept secret' from many Londoners, the park has been thought of as a private golf course or private house and grounds as it is not widely publicised. It does lie on the Green Chain Walk and Capital Ring. A railway bisects the park and the only routes joining both parts are the bridge north of woodland called the Ash Plantation or by leaving and re-entering the park in the viscinity of Ravensbourne Railway Station or bridge near Beckenham Hill Station. Hence the railway effectively divides the park into West and East.

Beckenham Place Park is the surviving nucleus of what was once a large estate of park and farm land.

The history of the park and its environs is extensive and is covered in other Friends publications and the About and History pages on this site. Information is available in the Friends of BPP Visitor Centre (see navigation hyperlink). Various references to Beckenham Place Park, The Cator family and the history are on the internet and other publications, all are subject to some correction as varioius assumptions have been made. We attempt to seek accuracy where possible. The best references have been written by Pat Manning and the late Eric Inman.  Even these are updatable by more recent discoveries enabled by records appearing on the internet.

The park's life as a public recreation area began around 1927/29 when the park was purchased by the London County Council and London Borough of Lewisham to satisfy a need for public open space in the area as the large housing estates of Bellingham and Downham were being developed.

The historic and 'listed' buildings in the park include The Mansion, The Stables and Homesteads (and Garden Cottage), Southend Lodge (gatehouse). See the About the Park page and other pages of this website for more information.