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Newsletter for July 2016. see Events page for current and old newsletters links, as well as events for the coming months.
News: Lottery bid plans will be outside Sainsbury's, Beckenham High Street, on Wednesday 6th July 9.30 to 11.30 and at Lewisham Peoples Day, Mountsfield Park, Catford.
Here are the results of the Friends park user survey which closed in early December 2015 and has been sent to Lewisham Council and the Mayor, Sir Steve Bullock, hopefully the results will be considered when a decision is made regarding the Golf Course in BPP and other aspects of the Lottery funding plans for the park. Significantly the closure of the golf course is strongly disapproved of by users whether golfers or not. However, Lewisham Council officers and councillors disregard opinion.
New History article, Mansion plasterwork, click here
Park Lottery Bid, progress report in the newsletter.
Lewisham Council have put an amended masterplan on their website see this and information on 'The Future ' page and in recent newsletters.
We suggest that if you want to make written representations to the Council you write to Gavin Plaskitt, London Borough of Lewisham, Rushey Green, Catford, SE6 and if possible copy your letter to the Mayor, Sir Steve Bullock.
Various surveys on Topography, environmental impact, species surveys etc are being carried out in preparation of the Stage 2 bid. A consultation process will begin soon so look out for information regarding this. Comments can still be made to Lewisham Council via firstname.lastname@example.org
Closure of the Golf Course proposed by the Lottery bid has prompted a Save Beckehham 18 campaign to prevent 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.
Environment Agency flood alleviation scheme, Anxiety grows regarding progress, no news yet but see this pdf document.
Information has been received that the scheme is making some progress within the EA as consultants are being tendered for a next stage. Some anxiety has been expressed that this scheme is not yet confirmed and that if it does not go ahead then one half of the park will be left without some resources. I wouldn't say 'investment' as there would be no financial return anyway, but the infrastructure of the Downham side of the park is being allowed to deteriorate on the assumption that the EA scheme will restore the play area, paths, demolish old buildings etc. We don't oppose the scheme in principal but want to see what's proposed and ensure that improvements are included without destroying this almost natural stretch of the Ravensbourne. More information on 'The Future' page link and recent newsletters.
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, and the park staff also carry out routine maintenance. Sensory Garden pdf A leaflet explaining the uses and design of the sensory garden. Volunteers welcome. currently on 2nd and 4th 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.
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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.