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Birchmere Park Greenwich
Summary: Birchmere Park was created as part of the GLC's 'new town' of Thamesmead built over the former Erith marshes. The Masterplan dates from 1967, the only New Town development in Greater London, but was much altered in execution. Designed to accommodate 60,000 people, Thamesmead was to have its own amenities, industry and centre with substantial areas of parkland, lakes, and canals to provide a varied landscape. The first phase was built in 1967-72 but due to financial and other priorities in the 1970s and 1980s, it has not been completed although development continues. Birchmere Park's lake was part of the network of water bodies and canals formed when the marshes were drained.
Previous / Other name:
Site location: Chervil Mews, Thamesmead
Postcode: SE28 8GB > Google Map
Type of site: Public Park
Date(s): 1967 onwards
Designer(s): GLC Architects Dept.
Listed structures:
Borough: Greenwich
Site ownership: Gallions Housing Association
Site management: Gallions Housing Association's Team Gallions
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities: fishing/angling club
Public transport: Rail: Plumstead then bus. Bus: 472
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/02/2011
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Fuller information:

Birchmere Park has walks around a substantial lake of 5.08ha, part of the network of water bodies and canals formed as part of the massive programme of drainage to prepare Erith marshes for the building of Thamesmead over some 1,300 acres of land. It was planned as a 'new town' by the GLC in 1965/6 to accommodate 60,000 people with public and private housing and its own amenities, industry and centre. The first phase was built in 1967-72 at the south end with housing around a large lake, described by Pevsner as bearing 'little resemblance to the ideal community visualised by its begetters'. The master plan had substantial areas of parkland including 5 lakes, the largest of which is Southmere within Southmere Park (q.v.) in LB Bexley, and canals to provide a varied landscape. Traffic-free zones and a network of pedestrian footpaths and cycleways were planned, with green corridors around the waterways. The estate has not been completed as originally planned due to financial and other priorities in the 1970s and 1980s, although development continues. Birchmere Park is well-planted with shrubs and flower beds; a landscaped canal runs north from the lake under Bentham Road; other facilities in the park include playing fields.

Sources consulted:

Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993)
Grid ref: TQ467800
Size in hectares: 16.82
On EH National Register : No
EH grade:
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: No
Conservation Area name:
Tree Preservation Order: No
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation: Community Open Space

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