No parties, no shopping trips, no concerts. The only thing families have been able to do in this past month is manage to get some fresh air in a park, and a key attractor has been Beckenham Place Park, south-east London.


About four years ago, Beckenham Place Park was essentially unheard of to the wider community. It was a haven for the residents on the road of the park, as well as golfers. However, in 2016, Lewisham Council decided to get rid of the golf course in the park due to the fact it was starting to get into a poor condition. Instead, they made a grand plan to start renovating it into a new municipal park with a cafe, playground and a lake, in the hopes of attracting a new swarm of visitors.


As hoped, this was certainly the case. In 2019, when the park reopened after two years of renovation, masses of families were seen coming to the park on weekends, in school holidays, or even everyday for a quick hour of ambling. One resident has mixed feelings about the park renovating the golf course saying, “I can’t believe my luck with a place like this opening up on my doorstep. I’m over the moon, but I want it all to myself!”. If the residents thought this was a minor invasion of their privacy, they had no idea what was coming their way in the following year.


Due to coronavirus, London is in tier three and has gone into its second lockdown, in the run up for Christmas. The only option that people cooped up in their house have to be partially liberated is to get some fresh air, despite the Autumn coolness, at a park, and it seems that Beckenham Place Park is the brightest light attracting the moths. 


Last Sunday, I actually went myself to get pizza from their cafe to only find myself in an hour and a half long queue, trailing out of the cafe grounds onto the roads. It was a commotion, as people found it a challenge to maintain social distancing, as well as their tempers.


Whilst the park has been so successful through attracting so many new visitors due to its inclusive facilities and tranquil ambience engulfed with trees and flowers, it leads to the question of is it fair for the residents of the park to have people parking on their private roads? And is this new flock of people due to this global pandemic damaging or beneficial to the park’s reputation?