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Beckenham High Street

 

Description of Works

This project was designed by FM Conway Consultancy working with the London Borough of Bromley, with an aim to improve the public realm and general enjoyment of Beckenham High Street for visitors and residents of the area. The scheme covered an 800m length of highway from the High Street junction with Albemarle Road, adjacent to Beckenham Green to the Croydon Road / Beckenham Road Roundabout.

The overall aim was to make the town more attractive to visitors and shoppers by day and night. A major objective was to support existing businesses and encourage new businesses to invest in the town centre, whilst the High Street investment improvements would create a more attractive and safer pedestrian environment. Improvements included new paving and road surfacing, improved and attractive lighting, improved road crossings and bus waiting facilities, better facilities for cyclists and improved amenity spaces including Beckenham Green.

Extensive planning and consultation were carried out from when the scheme was proposed in 2012. The cooperation and input of the ‘Town Centre Team’ and its members including the Beckenham Business Association, The Beckenham Society and the Copers Cope Resident Association is gratefully acknowledged, with their input key in shaping the nature of the scheme.

Services used on this project Civil Engineering Consultancy
Delivering Innovation

During the design process consideration was given to all highway users and stakeholders providing improvements for pedestrians, buses, cyclists and general traffic. The introduction of additional trees, as well as integrated seating on raised planters around existing established trees, provided a balanced approach between function and form.

Improvements included:

  • The carriageway has been standardised in width and enabled the pavements to be widened.
  • All the pavements have been re-laid in high-quality paving and the road itself has been resurfaced.  
  • Pedestrian crossings have been widened and crossing distances reduced. New controlled and zebra crossings have also been introduced.
  • New street lighting and architectural feature lighting have been introduced.
  • New street trees, benches and planters have been introduced.
  • The planters on Beckenham Green have been rebuilt and landscaped and new infrastructure for markets has been introduced.
  • Improved bus waiting spaces.

Here the focus is not just to improve the experience for pedestrians, but how the space is shared between shoppers and motorists.

FM Conway is creating a sense of place with a durable pallet of material and design features to increase pedestrian permeability and connectivity for the benefit of Beckenham’s retail economy. Trees provide a green backdrop to reduce the physical dominance of vehicles while footways are being widened to increase footfall. Designated and integrated parking areas complement the community look and feel of the space.

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Unlike Bromley, Beckenham High Street is open to traffic. Providing an attractive and accessible destination for shoppers therefore needs to be balanced with the need to keep vehicles moving.

Derek Sampson - Contract Manager at FM Conway
Challenges and Solutions

Working on the busy route has brought challenges, with FM Conway’s traffic management team introducing a one-way system while works were ongoing. The phased programme was due for completion at the end of August 2018, when the carriageway itself would be replaced with a new asphalt surface.

Derek Sampson, Contract Manager at FM Conway, explains:

“Unlike Bromley, Beckenham High Street is open to traffic. Providing an attractive and accessible destination for shoppers therefore needs to be balanced with the need to keep vehicles moving.

“One aim of the works is to encourage traffic to slow down and improve accessibility for pedestrians between different stores, cafés and restaurants on each side of the road.”

A major objective for the borough is to improve the night-time economy for the town centre and Beckenham has been awarded a purple flag award by the Association of Town Centre Management.

Plans are also afoot to celebrate the area’s lively heritage, with the installation of an ‘Aladdin Sane’ flash in the pavement to celebrate the town’s links to David Bowie, who was a leader in Beckenham’s art scene in the 1960s.

 

 

Outcomes

Commenting on both projects, Garry Warner at the London Borough of Bromley added:

“Creating an attractive, accessible and vibrant physical environment is essential to making sure our high streets thrive. Through these two exciting projects, we are making sure that both town centres meet the needs of the community and support successful businesses.”

Since the improvements, the following benefits have been seen:

  • Recorded increases in pedestrian footfall.
  • New businesses have opened.
  • Existing shops and cafés have invested in up grading their interiors and facades.
  • Widened pavements have enabled cafes and restaurants to have licensed seating outside on the pavement.

The overall impact has been that the High Street has become a busier and more vibrant local community asset.