A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
A News story from the Enfield Independent:
THE future of a Palmers Green landmark is in doubt again after the Government withdrew funds for its restoration.
Nearly £6m had been promised to bring Grade II* listed Broomfield House back to its former glory and a sheltered housing complex.
However, a Government spending review has axed the old scheme, it has emerged, and a fresh bid for funds must now be put forward.
In a letter from Mayor of London Boris Johnson to London assembly member for Enfield and Haringey Joanne McCartney, it was revealed that previously “guaranteed” money was no longer available.
He wrote: “The national programme which funded Broomfield House, Private Sector Renewal, was not renewed as part of the spending review.
“However, I am lobbying for a share of the £100m the government has allocated nationally to bring empty homes back into use, and if we are successful, Broomfield House will certainly be considered for funding from this fund.”
This sad story has continued for many years; the structure built to protect Broomfield House stands as an ugly eyesore in the park - and now looks like it is in need of a bit of restoration itself... Perhaps it is time to consider what is really worth saving - instead of decades long political and financial wrangling about a historic building ... Is it time to remove what's there and commission a young architect to develop a new, purpose built and sustainable structure - to provide community facilities as well as an income generating cafe.?
What do you think?
You are absolutely right, Tom. The old building looks as if it was about as ugly as you could ever wish an old building to be. The current scaffolding etc is only slightly worse.
I recall a few years ago that a pub chain was willing to re-develop the building, but this did not go ahead, partly due to local opposition. Frankly, I think most of this opposition was from people who live near the park and who were worried - probably completely unnecessarily - that the new development would reduce the value of their houses. It was always optimistic to expect a public sector solution to this problem and can anyone really say that this is a high priority when the public finances are in such a mess? In my view a lot of the people who moaned then would be quite happy for the old eyesore to remain there, when some sort of cafe would be welcomed by the vast majority.
Michael, you are right the brewery had offered to take on the problem in return for running a pub but the locals took the council to court on the basis that the covenant attached to the donation of the Park forbids any permanent commercial activity - how the pitch and put get away with it I don't know, that should be run by a charity. You are right I feel that their fears were un-founded, completley. But there you go. I think with a little imagination they could shore up the walls with some steels and put a new roof and turn it into a cafe area for a lot less than a million. If the first floor is in poor condition then remove it - make a double height space. It's become a big obstacle to the improvement of the park - it needs to go, or become part of the park improvement.
Great Idea Kate. There are a few people who would rather see it turned into a block of apartments for the elderly just to rebuild the house. These few people who seem to have all the clout have lost their way. As a set of flats it will no longer be the house it was - (not very attractive) and it will not be an asset to the park it will be the outside encroaching on the park - (sounds dramatic I know) but can you imagine residents complaining about noisey children, hanging washing out rubbish - all that goes with residential development - Inside our beautiful park. The idea is crazy and when I pointed this out there at there friends meeting there seemed to be a lot of support which made me realize that its being led by the few.
Broomfield park is such a fantastic space. In an ideal world, the house would be amazing if it were restored, providing community facilities and a cafe too. However, I see that the plans were to build sheltered housing in that space and that using it for commercial use might not be allowed? Although sheltered housing is commendable, the house is in a park that is a public space paid by the tax payer and those who live around it, and so having a building that would provide both a community space and income running cafe would be much more viable surely? I'm liking Kate's idea for having a competition to design something new and iconic.
That park is screaming out for a lovely cafe and would be so used. Just look at Clissold Park in Hackney. They are restoring the building and cafe there - providing something useful for the park that is appropriate for the space it's in.
Following the exchange on here I was looking into the history of Broomfield House and, in the process, came across this lovely gem - a 30 minute film from 1951 based around Southgate - it features Broomfield House before the fire (fast forward to 5:31) Palmers Green High Street and Library, trolley busses on Green Lanes as well as many other local landmarks.
Many thanks to YouTube user Hezziett for sharing this video