Beckenham Place Park – questions and answers

Beckenham Place Park – questions and answers

Beckenham Place Park is the largest open space in the borough, however it is little known and under-used by residents and currently offers very limited opportunities for leisure and recreation. We want to offer many more many more different activities for residents and attract a wider range of visitors.

Why did you decide to close the golf course?

The 18-hole course took up 100 acres of the most historic parkland and entirely surrounded the key listed buildings in the park, which we are aiming to restore and find productive uses for.

Before it closed, the golf course was operating at a loss of around £135,000 a year. This means that local taxpayers were effectively subsidising each player, many from outside Lewisham, by £8 per game. We think that continuing to subsidise one particular user group, particularly one which deters normal park users from using the park, is not the best approach for this historic open space.

The decision to close the golf course in Beckenham Place Park was made on 17 February 2016.

What opportunities for sport will there be in the park once it has been regenerated?

If the bid is approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund our plans to provide new sports facilities and opportunities include:

  • 5km running route within the park
  • trim trail
  • all-weather walking trails with better access for those with limited mobility and for buggies
  • open water swimming
  • kayaking and canoeing
  • new BMX track and improved cycling routes
  • enhanced skate park
  • lots of space for informal sports such as football, frisbee and cricket.

Why are the tennis courts not being replaced?

There are currently three tennis courts in the park, though only one of these is in playable condition. There are five other sites offering 37 courts to the public within 2km of the park, and a further 17 sites within 3km of the park. Given the other local facilities available and the lack of demand, we're not proposing to replace them.

Why are you proposing to remove trees in the park?

In some places we will need to remove some trees from the park as part of the regeneration in order to create new features, to restore the character of the 18th-century landscape, and to allow the most mature or healthiest trees to flourish by thinning out larger clumps of vegetation.

At the same time, we will be planting thousands of new trees. The park will continue to be a crucial 'green lung' for Lewisham and Beckenham and the biodiversity of the park will be enhanced by the development.

What will happen with the memorial benches that line the path alongside the golf course and in the ornamental gardens in the new scheme for the park?

Existing benches dedicated to loved ones will be incorporated within the newly designed park in a sensitive and appropriate way. Where possible, the benches will stay in a similar position.

Are there plans for a café or other focal attraction for the park east of the railway line?

The whole park will benefit from the redesign. On eastern side of park, there will be a new refreshments kiosk, toilets, a BMX track and an adventure playground. We will also be improving the river, children's play area and skate park.

The eastern part of the park is being designed with the Environment Agency to provide a key flood storage area to protect much of Lewisham from flooding. This area of the park will be designed to hold water from the Ravensbourne to stop it flooding. This is why it is not possible to include buildings in this part of the park.

Why will the popular children's nursery be closed?

The children's nursery is temporarily occupying a small unit that had been vacant for some time. The nursery understands that long-term occupation is not an option because of the flood defence scheme that is planned for this area of the park.

Do you plan to build housing in the park?

Absolutely not. Even if we wanted to, Beckenham Place Park is designated Metropolitan Open Land, which means it is not possible to build housing on it. Our plans for the future of Beckenham Place Park involve encouraging more people to use and enjoy it as a park, not building homes on land. 

Why wasn’t the Foxgrove club allowed to remain open until at least the end of 2016?

The Foxgrove Club owed a considerable amount of rent, and we could not reach an agreement with the club about how they could pay this and future rent.

Under interim security arrangements to look after the building, property guardians are occupying the space and we are receiving an income from this.