In March 2004 a burst water pipe in Blackfen Road caused the flooding
of one hundred homes. Water levels rose to more than four feet and
people were forced to retreat upstairs, trying to lift their valuables above
the water. The most serious flooding was in Penshurst Avenue and Maple Crescent. Stranded residents were rescued by police dinghy and the Salvation Army dispensed hot drinks while Thames Water dealt with the emergency. Local schools were shut and Blackfen Road was closed for resurfacing, affecting business for shops. Some families had to be housed in hotels while their homes were repaired.
The incident was reported in the Evening Standard: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/sidcup-runneth-over-6946186.html
and BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/3505588.stm
The Bexley Council ‘Strategy 2018′ budget public consultation which closed on 9 January 2015 proposed the sale of 27 sites in the borough to reduce maintenance costs, but the location of the sites were not identified. This lack of vital information prevented any real debate and meant that the public could not give any informed opinion. Campaigners feared that Danson Park could be one of the sites. A further consultation on parks and open spaces, ground maintenance, street-lighting and recycling closed on 20 February 2015. It was only after this closing date, on 20 February, that the 27 sites were named.
There are three sites affecting Blackfen:
1. Berwick Crescent (triangular site to east), Sidcup (Open Space)
2. Berwick Crescent (two corner plots to south west), Sidcup (Open Space)
3. Land fronting 65-69 Blackfen Road, Sidcup (Highway)
Open spaces sell-off: sites at Berwick Crescent at the junction with Fen Grove (right) and Norfolk Crescent (left)
Open spaces sell-off: site at Blackfen Road at the junction with Chester Road
According to Bexley Wildlife, Mandy Stevens, a member of community group Friends of the Shuttle said:“We are very concerned about the sites for disposal near the Shuttle at Berwick Crescent and we have asked the Council if we can see the detailed plans.”
Blackfen’s roads were notoriously muddy (it wasn’t called a ‘fen’ for nothing!) and when the district was transformed in the 1930s from woodland and fields to housing and shops there were problems with flooding.
In the Kentish Times 14 January 1938 a columnist wrote, in a rather eccentric fashion, an account of a less than enjoyable night walk in the Blackfen area: Where the Shuttle Flows.
In 2007 funding from Natural England and Design for London provided for two studies on improving public access and enhancing the flow and wildlife habitats of the River Shuttle in Parish Wood Park. In Phase One 2008-09, access routes for residents were improved, making them clean, dry and safe. For Phase Two 2009-11, £400,000 was secured from the Mayor of London’s Priority Parks Scheme, in which Parish Wood secured the most votes in the London South East region.
On 10 November 2011 the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, visited Parish Wood Park to see the improvements made to the park and how the wetlands area is being used. Pupils from Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School demonstrated the fun to be had in the new playground and took part in a pond dipping activity with the Mayor.
Boris Johnson visits Parish Wood