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Spotlight on Bromley

PUBLISHED: 08:38 30 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:40 20 February 2013

Spotlight on Bromley

Spotlight on Bromley

Bromley is a thriving, busy town with exciting plans to revitalise its historic heart and improve its already considerable assets

Changing places


Bromley is a thriving, busy town with exciting plans to revitalise its historic heart and improve its already considerable assets


Modern Bromley has come a long way from the handful of buildings that grew up around the parish church, originally sited near the towns current Market Square. Now the town is known for its tremendous shopping, excellent transport links and plethora of parks and open spaces.


Illustrious past residents include H G Wells (a Blue Plaque marks his birthplace in Market Square), Thomas Crapper (inventor of the WC ballcock), David Bowie and the Bromley contingent of punk rockers.


Embracing the concept of pedestrianisation years ago, the town centre is car-less, yet theres the convenience of ample, nearby car parks.


Bromley North Village is the area above the Churchill Theatre and library, which is near the top of the High Street Shopping Centre, home to many individual traders and two vast malls.



FACT FILE


Connections


Central London 16 minutes by train, two stations, close to M25



Culture


Churchill Theatre (0844 871 7627, BR1 1HA), Bethlem Hospital (020 3228 4307, BR3 3BX) has historic art collections in its museum, Bromley museum (01689 873826, BR6 0HH), which is confusingly in Orpington



Sites to visit


Bromley College (BR1 1PE), is a collection of ancient almshouses privately owned, but holds occasional open days. Downe House (0870 333 1181 BR6 7JT) in nearby Downe village, was the home of Charles Darwin, now a museum. Market Square has a house with a fantastic wall mural depicting the evolution sequence of Homo sapiens featured in Darwins Origin of the Species, while St Peter and St Pauls parish church is a 1950s construction with fine stained glass windows



Green spaces


Church House Gardens has landscaping, a lake, ducks and a rose garden, while Queens Gardens features ornamental floral bedding. Theres also Queensmead Recreation Ground, plus 18 public parks and woodlands



Sports and relaxation


Pavilion Leisure Centre (020 8313 9911, BR1 3EF) has leisure pools, gym, health suite and a sports hall. Bromley Environment Education Centre at High Elms (BEECHE) (01689 862815, BR6 7JH) at nearby Orpington has community facilities based on sustaining an ecological lifestyle and is based in High Elms Country Park



Eat and drink


Restaurants: Chapter One (01689 858848, BR6 8NF) in nearby Locksbottom (Michelin starred), Garden Restaurant at Bromley Court Hotel (020 8461 8600, BR1 4JD), and Ferraris (Italian) restaurant (020 8464 8877, BR1 1QQ). Pubs: The Barrel and Horn (020 8290 2039, BR1 1PW), Bricklayers Arms (020 8460 4552, BR2 9HW) and Swan and Mitre (020 8460 5617, BR1 1PG)



Property prices


One- and two-bedroom flats 163,000 and 231,000 respectively, three-bedroom semis 305,000, and four-bedroom detached houses upwards of 486,000




FUTURE BROMLEY


Cllr Peter Morgan, Executive Councillor for Renewal and Recreation


Representing the Sundridge Ward of the borough, Peter Morgan is extremely upbeat and optimistic about Bromleys future.


Bromley is a really lovely place to live, he enthuses. Theres housing of every size and type, fine schools, great shopping and transport links, with lots of parks and sports clubs. The centre of town is extremely busy at present, apart from a few shop vacancies. Some really exciting new traders have arrived, heralding great things once the recession ends.


Property prices are very cheap in comparison with the rest of London, especially when you consider central London is only around 15 minutes away. In my view the whole of Bromley property is undervalued. Now is the time to buy.


Bromley North Village traders are delighted about their areas development, which is going to make their surroundings incredibly attractive. Were lobbying the mayor very hard to try and get the DLR extended to Bromley North Station, which of course could be a massive boost for the future.



Where to shop


The Glades Shopping Centre is one of the foremost retail centres in the south east, with 120 stores on two levels, and theres also the Mall Shopping Centre, as well as masses of individual High Street shops, cafs and restaurants. On Fridays and Saturdays the High Street, between the Churchill Theatre and Elmfield Road, hosts a market with street stalls and on Thursdays plays host to Bromley Charter Market.



SHOP TALK


Howard Oldstein, general manager, The Glades Shopping Centre


Howard Oldstein is in charge of the overall running of the malls, where space is rented to individual retailers. The Glades holds regular fashion shows, plus holiday events and activities for children. When a customer walks through our doors we want them to have a good, happy experience, otherwise they wont come again, he says.


We all work together as a team, to anticipate their needs. Weve experimented with creating a comfortable chill out lounge area for men who accompany shopaholic wives, and we offer personal service, such as car park assistants, to guide people into parking spaces, and staff to show customers around. I think we also need to spread the word that there are so many other good things in Bromley town centre, apart from the Glades: the theatre, library, beautiful gardens, and the Pavilion Leisure Centre.



Action Plan


The Bromley Town Centre Area Action Plan was adopted by the council in October 2010 and provides an important blueprint for the town. A key project includes the Bromley North Village scheme, which includes Market Square, High Street North and East Street. Costing around 5m, this strategy will improve and revitalise the historic areas with pedestrian-friendly, clean, safe, open spaces, with improvements to the pavement and environment, so as to attract new businesses and retailers.


The Bromley South Central Scheme, at Westmorland car park site, will provide a landmark 90m, mixed-use development, including a nine-screen cinema, hotel, restaurants, a residential element and a new car park; it will also include a central landscaped public plaza. Construction work on both schemes starts this year.



Getting there


Touching the south east of London, Bromley is linked to the M25 (junction 4) by the A21. There are two stations, Bromley North and Bromley South, with excellent London links (16 minutes.


Satnav postcode: BR1 1DN



MY TOWN


Andrea Gambell, owner Larger Than Life Stagewear (020 8466 9010)



Tell us about you and your job


We hire theatrical costumes for all kinds of events, from themed parties to costumes for films, with clothing from the medieval era to the 1980s, and all periods in between. Ive lived in the Bromley area for 40 years and have been heavily involved with local drama organisations, notably Theatre 62, Bromley Little Theatre and Beckenham Theatre Centre. Ive run my company since 2007 and last year provided costumes for Dr Lucy Worseleys Channel 4 production, Harlots, Housewives and Heroines. I frequently make period shirts, and once in a while I might have to alter a dress to fit a man thats really quite a challenge!



Whats best about running a business here?


The travel connections to London and beyond, its a large, fairly affluent town, meaning there are plenty of local social themed occasions - and its very gratifying to help local drama companies



Your favourite walk?


Keston ponds is great for walking, and I adore Queens Gardens



Your favourite restaurant?


Belgo (020 8466 8522, BR1 1DN), in the Glades



What do you like best about Bromley?


The town has good shops, open spaces and terrific transport links. Its got its own charm and is an ideal place for families, with good schools, nearby countryside and lots of parks





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