Future of Beckenham Place Park – public consultations

Beckenham Place Park is the largest green space in the borough of Lewisham, covering 98 hectares. It contains a Grade II* Listed Mansion, large areas of ancient woodland and there are numerous events held in the park. It was described as London’s new lung in 1926 when it was purchased for the benefit of local people in Bellingham & Downham.

London’s new Lung – Westminister Gazette September 1926

There are a number of consultations open that affect the park and the future uses.

Lewisham Council has identified that the eastern side of Beckenham Place Park – the Common and Summerhouse Fields – need improvement. The consultation stresses that the Council are very keen to engage the local and wider community at an early stage in the design process to help understand the qualities and character of this part of the park and what needs to be improved.

There is a short survey on the Lewisham Council website and this can be accessed here

Lately, there have been a number of larger music events in Beckenham Place Park. Local residents have expressed concerns about the scale and transport links.

It is interesting to note that Blackheath has a well established procedure whereby elected Members, amenity societies, two London Boroughs and others review, regulate and consider events on Blackheath. This is extensively detailed in the Joint Blackheath Events Policy.

In the section, Premises Licences there is an explicit reference: “These licences should only be applied for once the applicant has received the authorised officer’s in-principle approval to hold the event.” There is a further section on how to apply using the Joint Blackheath Events Policy.

Lewisham Council, as the Licensing Authority, has reviewed its statement of Licensing Policy. The new revised version for 2020-2025 aims to set out a clear set of principles that the Licensing Authority will uphold and promote in everything it does in administering the licensing regime in the borough.

The ultimate aim of this policy is to promote the four licensing objectives as set out in the Licensing Act 2003:

  1. Prevention of Crime and Disorder 
  2. Prevention of Public Nuisance 
  3. Protection of Children from Harm
  4. Public Safety

Beckenham Place Park is larger than Blackheath. Residents from Lewisham and Bromley are affeccted by events in the park. The parallels are stark. So, why doesn’t Beckenham Place Park have a bespoke policy?

Lewisham Council is seeking the views of local residents, businesses, responsible authorities and community organisations on this revised policy.

Perhaps, it is time to respond and request that Beckenham Place Park has a similar events policy to Blackheath.

Cllr Alan Hall has responded to the Licensing consultation saying:

“The draft policy contains the reference at 2.17 that  Lewisham has a number of popular open spaces and parks including Blackheath and Beckenham Place Park which are experiencing an increase in demand for use to host large cultural and entertainment events.

The aim of the Statement of Licensing Policy is to promote the four licensing objectives as set out in the Licensing Act 2003.

In Blackheath, there is a well established procedure whereby elected Members, amenity societies, two London Boroughs and others review, regulate and consider events on Blackheath. This is extensively detailed in the Joint Blackheath Events Policy.

In the section, Premises Licences there is an explicit reference: “These licences should only be applied for once the applicant has received the authorised officer’s in-principle approval to hold the event.” There is a further section on how to apply using the JBEP.

Beckenham Place Park is a larger area than Blackheath. There are two London Boroughs – Lewisham and Bromley on the perimeter of the park. Transport and policing is covered by both Lewisham and Bromley.

I would recommend that the Statement of Licensing Policy is amended to include both Blackheath and Beckenham Place Park explicitly and that similar licensing arrangements – as those for Blackheath – be made for Beckenham Place Park.”

Lewisham Council is asking that responses should be sent to licensing@lewisham.gov.uk.

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