Project Development at Beckenham Place Park

Client: Lewisham Council

Beckenham Place Park is a historic public park in Lewisham with a rich history dating back to the 18th century. In 1927, it opened as a municipal park but over time, the park declined, the stables suffered an arson attack, and the Grade II* listed mansion was added to the ‘at risk’ register in 2013. Lewisham Council had a vision to transform Beckenham Place Park into a more diverse, naturalistic and dynamic landscape attracting wider audiences. They took the difficult decision to close the golf course, which dominated the landscape, in the face of strong and vocal opposition and appointed CFP to develop the project and explore how the vision could be achieved.

Through our commission we:
  • Carried out targeted stakeholder and community engagement with local communities, under-represented groups and sections of the community that had not had their voice heard
  • Engaged with user groups that were critical of the proposed changes
  • Developed the Activity Plan and advised on the restoration of the parkland, stables gardeners’ cottage and ongoing activity in the Mansion
  • Proposed introducing wild swimming and other water-based activities on the 248m long by 48m wide recreated 18th-century lake, a key landscape feature that was designed to be visible from the Mansion
  • Proposed the development of a large-scale volunteer programme and ambitious plans for outdoor adventurous activity for local schools to be delivered by a local charity

The project was awarded ¬£4.7m funding by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), and the lake and park were officially re-opened by the Mayor of London and the Mayor of Lewisham in July 2019. The project was one of the most successful funded through the Parks for People programme, with delivery exceeding expectations. Visitor numbers have more than trebled to over 600,000 annually, and the visitor profile is significantly more diverse, more closely reflecting that of Lewisham. The project’s success has stimulated further investment in the park, and the expanded staffing structure is being sustained through diversified income streams.

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