West Beckenham Residents’ Association set up this website in 2007 to provide residents with a central point where they could find information about where they live. All WBRA’s work is done by volunteers and this is an amateur website, hopefully in the best sense of the term, and run on a cost only basis. The website changes radically radically four times a year plus continual minor additions.
Please let us know if there is anything you wish members to know about and would like to appear on the website and we will try to oblige.
We hope it also offers useful insight into what it is that West Beckenham Residents’Association does particularly if you are new to the area.
It may encourage you to join us to get help with an issue you have or to campaign or just as a good way to meet local people. New members are always welcome.
Or maybe you wish to volunteer with us? Come to one of our public meetings and approach any committee member who will be happy to chat about what is involved. We look forward to hearing from you.
The Association’s organisers are local residents who care about an environment where they enjoy living.
Many of them have mounted campaigns themselves, for example, to fight to preserve much-loved green spaces and/or buildings of interest or to make their views known to those instituting traffic and transport policies.
Our residents’ association represents the interests of everyone living in our catchment area plus, in the case of larger local amenities such as hospitals and public parks, the interests of those members in a wider area.
The association has much knowledge of the local area and experience of local issues so if you’re new to the area joining us is a must.
What is the WBRA’s Councillors’ Forum?
Our five square mile membership area encompasses most of the three wards of Penge & Cator, Clock House and Kelsey & Eden Park which are in turn represented by three councillors each. Of these nine councillors in total the political affiliation spread is three Labour, one Liberal Democrat and five Conservative.
One Councillor from each party is invited to sit on the panel. Others may attend and contribute from the audience if they wish. This is to keep the panel to a reasonable size.
Usually about thirty-five to forty residents attend. Room capacity is forty-five including the panel. Formal questions continue for about an hour and a quarter followed by light refreshments and an opportunity to chat with residents.
Issues are raised on the night and can range from the very local like the state of a particular pavement to discussions of wider policy and practice on more substantial issues.
Issues covered by the Association include planning applications, council services (libraries, parks, roads, licensing, etc), health services, public transport, education, crime and policing, etc.
At the Forum residents and their representatives can meet to address concerns or queries and this helps maintain or even improve the quality of life for residents of the West Beckenham area. The Association was founded in 1945 to ‘represent the interests of residents in local affairs’. Current membership is just under 400 households. WBRA is non party-political, has two members’ meetings a year (an AGM and the Forum) plus two newsletters a year and this regularly updated web site.
Why do residents join a Residents Association?
Many people in our Residents’ Association have remained members after receiving support from the organisation in fighting a local issue that either particularly affected them where they live or was somethng they felt passionate about.
Still more became members because it is a family tradition.
Others recognise the fact that the authorities are more likely to take notice of a body of people than a lone, angry resident.
What does a Residents Association do?
The Association acts as a link between the residents and the Council. WBRA has two annual public meetings in which all the meetings and campaigns of the year are presented to both the members and the general public. WBRA offers general information to all residents and it takes up issues on behalf of those who are members. The WBRA committee is made up of Association members who give their time and knowledge on a voluntary basis.
What does a Residents Association committee do during the year?
Protection of the Parks
Whilst many residents will perhaps not be aware of what is happening to the local parks committee members have been active in parks campaigns with a view to halting private development on public spaces.
A lot of time is given to attending meetings regularly, writing letters, eliciting support etc
Residents are often alarmed by proposed neighbouring developments which will affect their homes – a current issue is building in gardens and overdevelopment in small spaces generally. Representation has to be made to the authorities in writing, followed up regularly and son on. Another aspect of WBRA work is following and commenting on the national planning reforms and we are fortunate in having people with this type of expertise.
Transport & Road Safety
The committee monitors the local transport situation, making representation when things could be improved from local peoples’ standpoint. Ongoing campaigns currently centre on Marlow Road and Kings Hall Road.
Keeping people informed
This regularly updated website and a twice-yearly newsletter “The Review”, comment on local life and issues and give information of local interest as well as reviewing what the residents’ association is doing at the time.
Police and Crime
WBRA also acts as a link between local people and Police with representatives on the various Safer Neighbourhood panels so helping with crime issues and residents’ fears.