Beckenham is finally being improved and hopes are looking good!

The work in Beckenham is now underway, with public areas between Beckenham Junction Station and the war memorial roundabout included in this scheme. This will help make the High Street a much more attractive environment for everybody, including shoppers and visitors to the town. This should also help support local businesses and make the town much more appealing to families. A reflection of these improvements is the rapidly increasing house prices in the area. Yes, Beckenham is now a staple for the friendly environment one can expect in the borough of Bromley.

When speaking to a builder on site, they said ‘all phases of the initiative are estimated to be complete in August 2018’. In addition, each stage of the improvements will be done over time, to cause as little congestion or inconvenience to the public. However, it should be noted that there will be increased traffic and some diversions, which is more than expected if the improvements are to be carried out to a sufficient standard.

In my interview with Councillor Mary Cooke, she said how ‘the £4.4m scheme is funded by Bromley Council in partnership with Transport for London’. This should add extra transport Safety requirements that reflect the needs of an increasingly cyclist population down Beckenham’s High Street. In addition, Councillor for Shortlands, Mr David Jefferys who is Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board for Bromley Council, said how there will be ‘New facilities for cyclists including cycle stands, parking and a repair facility’ and ‘Improvement to Beckenham Green, with new lighting, planters, facilities for regular markets and seating’.

The Scheme will also achieve the much-needed improvement of pedestrian facilities, for all the pavements and the road surface will be re-laid in high quality paving and improvements will be made to junctions in the area. Because of increased night-life activity due to the vast array of restaurants and bars in Beckenham, such as La Rascasse, Kelsey House Bar and Kitchen, and Pierluigi’s, there will be new improved street lighting and feature lighting of trees and particular buildings, along with new bus stands and improving privately owned spaces such as at the Odeon cinema and Sainsbury’s forecourt to maximise their contribution to the amenity of the area. Finally, to increase the safety there will be the introduction of shared space pavement parking to create more footway when no cars are parked.

Some of the business owners are a little hesitant of the improvements, for they say it may subtract from their customer intake while the improvements are taking place. The owner of Rascasse, said ‘Our unwillingness to compromise on detail and quality have been an essential ingredient to our continued success, values which still stand true as much today as they did the day we opened’. However, they are undoubtedly sure that once the improvements have been taken place, Beckenham will look greater than ever.

Beckenham is in the London Borough of Bromley located 8.4 miles from the centre of London, the High Street contains over 100 shops and restaurants, it has a number of popular night clubs and is well served with transport including the bus, tram and train via Beckenham Junction. In addition, Beckenham has some rich heritage, such as David Bowie performing in the Three Tongues Pub (currently Zizzi’s).

Overall, Beckenham looks like it will continue to be the impressive and welcoming town we all love.

By Zachary Collins, Hayes School.