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As I wasn't aware of the meeting that took place last night I found this on Facebook and have copied it here so everyone can read and make comment. The most important question is at what stage are all these proposals? I've heard of some of them before 'Puffing Billy kids train' (oh dear!).

 

Will Town Centre Manager - Nicola Musto please accept one of this site's several attempts to invite her to join and let the thousands of Beckenham residents who use this community website know what's going on. I think she has a wonderful opportunity to engage us all - (invite sent tonight once again).

 

Please read everyone and comment...

Proposals for Beckenham from the Beckenham Business Association Meeting 6 Sept 2011

An interesting meeting of the Beckenham Business Association last night with a lot of focus on proposed changes to the High Street as part of the Outer London Funding Round one Bid to secure funding for improvements to Beckenham.

I, Justin Flanagan and Anthony Carey of Charles Eden both went to the meeting which was well attended with Bob Stewart MP for Beckenham, several councillors, Nicola Musto (the town centre manager) and many businesses represented.

Some of the measures we heard about which are proposed for Beckenham included a continental "shared space" area in the High Street where pavements would be widened and traffic limited in terms of speed and size of vehicle with a further part of the High Street closed to traffic completely.

There was talk of bringing the River Beck above ground as it comes through the High Street with a bridge to create an attractive feature and add character.

There was also talk of a "Puffing Billy" small train to run down the High Street from what I could gather in the style that you see in some seaside towns.

This was just a selection talked about by Councillor Michael Tickner of what I believe are 58 proposals under consideration.

There was interesting talk about social media, another about rate appeals and an update on policing in Beckenham where we learned that there have been a number of arrests since the damage to a few premises at the time of the riots.

 

 

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It needs to be a space for both, and it has been that for 100 years and you know what it still works. A road whether you like it or not is a life blood or a town it conveys people through it both fast and slow, whether they walk or drive and both really are needed. I'll go back to the simple geography and layout of shops, business and housing in and around the town and unless you wholescale pull down and rebuild just accept the fact that any road closures or narrowings will just cause more hassle for residents on the periphary of the town and why shoudl they suffer(?). It will cause the same hassle/problem as a CPZ. People chose to live in Albermarle or other roads because it 'wasn't' a main road. If they wanted to live on a main road then they could have bought over a shop etc in the High Street.

 

Beckenham is certainly for many a walkable to and from and around town for thousands of us, compared to many towns we are doing well. What Beckenham needs to be is a bit more competitive. And what retailers need or even the community need isn't a glorified race circuit or a concreted over soulless potted plant strewn and town drunks piazza, what it needs is a planning committee that stops multiple copies of the same chain/shop opening, i.e. Betting Shops, Restaurants, Charity Shops, Beauty/Salons and puts pressure on landlords and set business rates that local independent retailers and entrepreneurs can afford to set up and create the diversity that attracts more customers. It needs a genuine weekend market/fair with genuine local traders and community stalls, it give the locals somewhere to make a living, it makes the town stand out and be interesting. It needs a few festivals and art/music/museum centres that are talked about all over London and Kent/Surrey. Diversity and creating a place where entrepreneurs and new business will enliven the town is the answer, not which way traffic should go, or whether road/pavement is wide enough.

 

Give me a reason to walk round Beckenham.... it's as simple as that.

And if I come from a little further or buy 12 bags of groceries or whatever large amazing product a new shop has taken my eye and I must have then a place too for the car is required.

 

Let's forget the road debate... first start simply with if you think about Beckenham what would you say it's well known for and once you start to list things how many of them are ones that would drive people into the heart of the town more regularly, or even attract those from further afield. it's not about roads, it's about content.

Like I say, what do YOU want: a space for people, or a space for motor vehicles?  If YOU can answer that simple question honestly, then it will help lead to the type of priority decisions that need to be made.

 

We don't need history lessons, or lectures on urban planning, or speeches about youth crime.  It really is a simple question designed to help our leaders do the right thing.

Car parking in Beckenham is all off the main highstreet anyway, so pedestrianising it would have little impact.  I presume most park in the side streets, Sainsbury's or Lidl car park.

If people are living on the periphery, then presumably they have less of a need to drive into Beckenham than the rest of us.  How can they suffer?  

Why so pedantic about cars or people?  Both can be accommodated.  However at the moment, it is too biased towards cars, and the traffic is largely passing through, so no help to the high st.  A way of redirecting passing traffic via Rectory road in combination with improving the ease of short term parking for local business.

Perhaps one easy solution would be to make all local car parks free for 60 to 90 minutes. 

There are approx 20 to 30 parking spaces on the high st itself, and if these could be expanded in number, then again its a big help to local business - perhaps a 30 minute rule on those.

The whole High Street is a huge billboard, as you drive through you see the latest shops or even stop for that impulse purchase or information, but limit the vehicles going through the town and you'll limit people's awareness of what Beckenham has to offer and sales will decline.

 

Cllr Tickner if you are reading this please publish the 58 proposals here for all to see - we should be made aware of what a group of Beckenham committees and groups have come up with as we too are residents and all of us will be affected.

 

...And the most important part of the above is that we have not been granted a public meeting on this yet, proposals are being collated at City Hall I believe around the 14th October.

 

Totally agree John about the transformation of East Dulwich. I used to commute along there daily some years ago but I changed my job and returned for the first time last week. I was shocked how the area has changed and immediately noticed how green the outloook of the street has become with many trees planted. This road seems to have many similarities with Beckenham High Street in terms of traffic and the width of the road yet there has been no traffic ban to achieve a remarkable transformation into a vibrant High street. Whoever has managed the project has done a great job.

For those who campaign for full pedestrianisation of the High street you should remember what happened to the numerous small business's which collapsed when the western extension to the congestion charge was introduced with the subsequent reduction in passing trade.

John Reeves said:

p.s.  You only have to look at how East Dulwich has become such a vibrant 'trendy' shopping area to see what can be achieved - but not sure what they did to acheive such change (except increase house prices and an influx of professional trendies with a lot of spare cash to burn)

As I understand it, the original Working Party report on Beckenham Town Centre was published in November 2009, as one of the background reports for the Renewal & Recreation PDS Meeting, 24 Nov 2009: See attached *.PDF file.

 

An item on the agenda for the next Renewal & Recreation PDS - Tuesday (11 Oct 2011) - covers funding for the various Town Centre development plans (incuding Penge) drawn from the Mayor of London's Outer London Fund. Evidently, there was no allocation for Beckenham Town Centre this time, but Bromey Council is putting in a Round Two bid: See attached *.PDF file.  

 


Jon Clarke said:

Cllr Tickner if you are reading this please publish the 58 proposals here for all to see - we should be made aware of what a group of Beckenham committees and groups have come up with as we too are residents and all of us will be affected.

 

...And the most important part of the above is that we have not been granted a public meeting on this yet, proposals are being collated at City Hall I believe around the 14th October.

 

Attachments:

At last night's Renewal & Recreation PDS Meeting, one item discussed was Bromley Council's bid for a share of the Round Two Outer London Fund (OLF), allocations to be determined by the Mayor of London. Total Fund is £40 million, of which £36 million for 'capital works schemes' and £4 million for other spending (e.g. High Street Xmas events, cleaning blitz, etc.). This Fund is to be spread across 33 London Boroughs, about five of which got nothing in Round One. Bromley received Round One grants of £468,700 - of which £90k for Orpington TownCentre, £70k for Penge TownCentre, the rest for Bromley TownCentre. Deadline for submitting Round Two bids has been extended from 14 October to 14 November 2011. Still a very tight timetable!

Re Beckenham High Street & environs, proposals for the OLF bid have been extracted from the Working Party Final Report (November 2009) – see 091124*.PDF above – embellished with comments/ideas from the recent Beckenham Business Association meeting & other interested parties. Suggest sending any further comments/critiques to your local Ward Councillor or to Cllr Michael Tickner or to Cllr Peter Morgan (PortfolioHolder) for eventual consolidation by Bromley Council's Head of Renewal, Mr Kevin Munnelly. (Typical E-mail address format is forename.surname@bromley.gov.uk). REG ADAMS (reg.adams@bromley.gov.uk).

Minor correction. There are only 20  Outer London Boroughs. So the competition for ORF bids is a bit less intense. (The figure of 33 relates to all London Boroughs, including City).

Reg Adams said:

At last night's Renewal & Recreation PDS Meeting, one item discussed was Bromley Council's bid for a share of the Round Two Outer London Fund (OLF), allocations to be determined by the Mayor of London. Total Fund is £40 million, of which £36 million for 'capital works schemes' and £4 million for other spending (e.g. High Street Xmas events, cleaning blitz, etc.). This Fund is to be spread across 33 London Boroughs, about five of which got nothing in Round One. Bromley received Round One grants of £468,700 - of which £90k for Orpington TownCentre, £70k for Penge TownCentre, the rest for Bromley TownCentre. Deadline for submitting Round Two bids has been extended from 14 October to 14 November 2011. Still a very tight timetable!


Dear Reg,

I have read with great interest the above contributions and document you attached.

First, I would love for Beckenham to have some money to freshen up and improve its image. I believe it is a great little town, with terrific amenities and still a community feeling that sadly lacks elsewhere. I would love a regular market (perhaps near st George’s church where the continental  one takes place?) and a more individual high street, with more independent shops (  can some of the money be used as a sort of grant for the independents I wonder?).

I also would like to ask some further questions and  add my opinion on the matter of Beckenham high street revamp.

1) At first, I would like to know how much money could Beckenham potentially receive if the bid for the second round of Outer London funding is successful. This would be a good start before considering on what to spend the money on.

2) I am concerned at the shared space design. Two years ago these plans were presented at the local Coopers Cope residents association ( I  was there, although I am a Clock House resident) and my recollection is that a fair number of the (mostly elderly) residents were worried about having to walk  adjacent to cars. I think it would be even worse for mums with prams and young children, who, on the odd occasion, are known to run away just for the fun of it.  Have local residents been consulted in this matter?  I believe asking officially people’s opinion should be a priority.

3) I am also unconvinced about the train. The initial cost (150000K) may be offset through sponsorship etc, but what about the running costs? Even in the documents uploaded it was stated that only during school holidays the train would be raising enough revenues  through tickets to cover its  running costs, which means that at other times it may well be a  financial drain. Where would that money come from? And why bother?   There is already a transport mean that goes to through the high street, it is frequent, cheap (children and over 65 don’t pay) and it is called the bus. Buses also have the added advantage of operating through the night and personally, when I am out late with friends, I like the idea that the odd bus passes through, it gives me a sense of added security.

And this brings me to the last point of this contribution, which is that I don’t believe Beckenham High street should be  wholly pedestrianised ( though perhaps if only  part of it was , in front of St George’s church, maybe the disruption would not be so great )  ; ideally pavements should be widened if possible, but I think  stopping cars from going through the high street would be bad for business ( I bought a few larg-ish items from high street shops,  such as a coat stand / umbrella stand/ paintings/ Christmas tree,  you need a car  to transport these  even if you don’t live very far away). The car ban on the high street would also create additional pinchpoins in surrounding areas and make the high street ultimately more unsafe , especially at night ( and even more so if the buses cannot go along the high street anymore). I think part of the problem of the unsafe feeling Bromley elicits at night is down to the fact that the high street is pedestrianised. Overall since I am both a local residents who mostly walks and an occasional car user, I think that for our high street to be lively and vibrant we need people to come to it both on foot and by cars, during the day for shopping as well as the evening for recreation.

I hope this doesn’t sound too negative, in the end we all want the best for the high street  and I look forward to the answers to my queries

 

Kind regards

 

Silvia

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