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Campaign to save Beckenham library from the bulldozers

PUBLISHED: 10:01 13 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:01 13 November 2019

Battle lines are being drawn up to save Beckenham Library building. Picture: Google

Battle lines are being drawn up to save Beckenham Library building. Picture: Google

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A residents' group is fighting to stop Bromley Council from knocking down the historic central library in Beckenham to make way for new homes.

Save the library campaigner Nick Goy said: "There are plans to demolish the much-loved, purpose-built, 1939 Beckenham Public Library in Beckenham Road.

"Bromley Council proposes to sell the land for £2m to developers who would demolish the library and build a monolithic five storey block of 46 flats in the Elm Road Conservation Area.

"The library service is proposed to move into inappropriate premises in the Beckenham Public Halls in Bromley Road.

"The library has survived the Blitz, but is now seemingly under Bromley Council's demolition proposals."

The council's scrutiny committee agreed the plans at a November 5 meeting but a final decision will be made on November 27.

Mr Goy said: "Despite requests to defer the decision to notify and consult library users first, the council is pressing on to appoint consultants at an initial cost of £70k, expanding soon after to £300k. This is money which could otherwise be spent on the library."

A spokesman for Bromley Council said: "The proposed relocation of the library to a more central Beckenham location, including the investment in new state of the art library facilities, will enable the existing library site to be used for much needed housing.

"In addition to the many transport links that being located in the heart of the town centre will bring, the proposal would also increase footfall in the town centre. This is still subject to the council's executive approving this and even then, is at an early stage, with the report, if agreed, enabling the appointment of a multi-disciplinary team, to develop a scheme for Beckenham Public Hall.

"The council is looking at all of its assets to see whether they can be used to help provide more much needed homes and this is one example, which would also enable improved library facilities, which is consistent with the council's long term record and ongoing aims."

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