The Beckenham Town Working Group (set up by the Council to identify potential improvements for the town) on which the Copers Cope Area Residents’ Association met on Thursday 12th April, the following points were raised:
- The improvements in the condition of the Odeon car park were acknowledged.
- Rear of the Miso Bar and the Slug and Lettuce was still very littered. This is being followed up.
- Shops should not use solid shutters in conservation area. A design guide for shutters to be looked into.
- Shop front vinyls for empty shops cost £800 and cannot not be re-used. Landlords cannot be forced to install them. Generally, take up of vinyls had been very disappointing, even with a 50% subsidy from the Council. It was suggested that efforts should be targeted at property agents, offering them advertising opportunities.
- Estate Agents’ boards and A-boards are only allowed to remain in place for three weeks without planning permission. A tougher enforcement policy could reduce the number of boards.
- Any proposal to join the two existing conservation areas in the town centre would require a business case and a six week consultation period before a final decision by the Development Control Committee. Noted that traders would be wary of any proposal that might impose more burdens on business, and suggested that potential tenants might be put off by conservation area status.
- Appointment of design consultants in May to prepare a scheme and design guide for visual improvement of the High Street.
- Town sign and car park signage to be scoped in the design project.
- Installation of community noticeboards with local map.
- Decluttering project (£15K), to remove unwanted street furniture, unnecessary poles/posts and barriers from the High Street.
- Use of heritage style lamps and lighting to enhance attractive upper storeys of buildings and provide additional lighting for pedestrians.
- Controlling access to alleyways, probably by gating, and improving security lighting and cleaning up the ‘back’ areas.
- Improved street cleanliness and siting of bins. Heritage style bins throughout Beckenham to be scoped in design project.
- Purchasing heritage Christmas lights, could this be looked at by the design consultants?
- Looking into making whole High Street a free wi fi area.
- Reinstating Beckenham Junction as a heritage station.
- Repairing the High Street clocks.
- Use of vacant properties as ‘pop up’ shops to be explored.
- Working Group to visit Blackhealth Village. Lordship Lane, Dulwich was suggested as an area the Working Group could look at.
The next meetings would be on Thursday 24th May and Thursday 5th July, both 7.30pm at Beckenham Library and are open to the public.