Penge Public Realmhidden heritage

Penge High Street is a busy shopping street and a strategic traffic route. The local area has a cultural entertainment heritage and a history of markets. 

Its architectural character and historic landmarks contribute to a clearly defined high street with a series of public spaces in need of rejuvenation. KLA identified hidden treasures to be celebrated in the context of public realm improvements.

A detailed Community Street Audit identified priorities. The local community, including business owners on the high street shared their views through a series of walk arounds and interviews, and informed ideas for physical improvements to Penge Triangle, Arpley Square, Empire Square and Maple Road.

The focus became Empire Square and Arpley Square as complimentary spaces on the high street which could provide flexible public space, unified through design and a simple material palette. The proposals seek to improve the fabric of these squares as well as offering opportunities for existing and proposed activation. A programme of uses currently exists, however, there is opportunity for this to be strengthened and developed in parallel to physical improvements. Urban greening of these sociable spaces would be provided with proposed trees, green roofs and planting beds.

Empire Square, formerly the location of the Empire Theatre, could be upgraded with the removal of canopy and rationalization of materials and street clutter. Rearranging the square would create a flexible events space. Blank facades provide excellent opportunity for alternative uses such as an outdoor cinema or public exhibition space. The underused car park space, especially the rooftop with fantastic views overlooking Penge, presents another cultural and entertainment opportunity. A small kiosk or box office could activate the square and provide information on upcoming events and activity in the local area. The combination of these proposals could redefine Empire Square as an entertainment hub. A forest tree planted at the entrance will give the square presence on the high street and visually link Empire Square and Arpley Square where a matching tree will be planted.

Proposals for Arpley Square suggest activation as a catalyst for improving the public realm through positive use. Physical upgrades and decluttering will provide a more generous public space. There is opportunity for change of use of the former toilet block. The existing building could become a café or local community space which would spill out into the square. A growing space could be linked to this building. The square is also used as a thoroughfare between the high street and parking and residential areas. Upgrades to this route would enable natural surveillance and increase a sense of safety. Seating, a water feature and trees will also invite people into the activated space.

Bromley, London


London Borough of Bromley / Greater London Authority (GLA)




Justinien Tribillon

Cost Consultant

Cinns Ltd

Penge Public Realm

Penge High Street is a busy shopping street and a strategic traffic route. The local area has a cultural entertainment heritage and a history of markets. 

Kinnear Landscape Architects
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