New gallery planned for Brockley

Previous articles about the development of new apartments and shops for Brockley Cross (dubbed 'the Tea Factory') have referred to the possibility of a new gallery being created as part of the development.

Brockley Central is indebted to Councillor Dean Walton for providing a copy of the Section 106 agreement, which provides more details about the plan.

Section 106 agreements are essentially the price that councils extract from developers for granting planning permission for their projects. In this case, the Council have attempted to support the local arts scene by securing a new gallery in one of the commercial units that the Tea Factory will include.

With the project not due for completion until next year, there are still relatively few details, however, the s106 document states that:

  • Unit 2 of the street-level shops will be used to create a new Gallery
  • The nominated gallery occupier will be selected by the Council
  • The gallery will operate for two years, rent free
  • After this two year period, the gallery operator will have first option to continue in the unit, on commercial terms

Done right, the gallery could serve as a permanent focus for Brockley's artistic community and provide the sort of "destination" for visitors that a number of contributors to this blog have been calling for.

7 comments:

Christopher said...

You can see more details at the architects' site.

Anonymous said...

How interesting to hear about the detail of the section 106 wording. In a face to face with the owner and his Architect, Chris Woods and I (from Action Group) the idea was floated of Brockley having a unit for community use. A Gallery was just one idea.

It seems the Council rather than the community will now decide who gets this unit (and a rent free period of 3 years). How ironic given the recent Government Review of potential community assets (led by Barry Quirk, the Chief Exec of Lewisham) which has come out in favour of communities being given the power and responsibility to own and look after buildings that could then generate an independent income for that community!

Stuart

Jon Paul Morgan said...

Well pointed out Stuart. It is not the Council that should have a say. We must do all in our power to ensure that we steer this ship.

On a more critical note... I think that this development sucks like a lemon. It appears as if a crane has dropped the workers' canteen on top of a dreadful building that has then been named the 'Tea Factory'.

A copy of the design was forwarded to me that depicted a happy street scene. However, I could only conclude that the 'Factory' (a much better appellation surely) is only for sale to white folk - as all individuals depicted in this selling document are shown.

So, have the blacks of Brockley been ethnically cleansed from the Factory? What kind of community gallery therefore? (Monet, Picasso etc...)

For the sake of racial inclusion, I'm going to insist that the title 'Coffee' be placed in front of Factory. Only then might this picture apartheid cease.

Anonymous said...

A very legitmate observation.... I'm not sure if it will be assuaged or aggravated if I point out the very unrealistic portrayal of the distances & proportions in the image. If you tried to pose a 'Brockley Jane' and 'Brockley Joe' (of any ethnic origin) where they are shown in the picture, they'd be mown down by a white van careening through the intersection in seconds. The image suggests far more pavement space than actually exists round there; which will affect how that rather bold 'overhang' sits in the space, AND how the shop fronts (& gallery) are viewed. I don't mind them trying to do something a bit unusual with the building, and I can try to appreciate the use of industrial materials on an ex-industrial building.. (after all, almost anything would be a vast improvement) but the building is sited very, very close to to the busy street, train tracks and rail bridges, and the design doesn't compensate for that. No one walks by there unless they really really have to, and with that thing teetering overhead, I can't see that changing. I don't know who would ever want to live there - I presume it will be people with few other options.

Jon Paul Morgan said...

True... it might be an answer to the overcrowded prison population. And escape from such an institution would be unlikely as escapees would have to negotiate Brockley Cross.
I see it now... a prisoner enters with a road map tatooed to his torso.

Brockley Nick said...

Welcome back Jon.

I agree with the comments about the pedestrian unfriendliness of Brockley Cross at the moment, although the development itself could improve matters, simply by making the street-level more appealing.

Also, there is a long-standing masterplan for the area, which could make the whole pedestrian experience more pleasant. Does anyone know the status of that? I am trying to contact the council about it.

I am cautiously optimistic about the design for the Tea Factory - but a lot will depend on whether they use good quality materials.

lee newham said...

It has potential. I agree with Nick, if they use good craftmanship and materials it will probably look good and be an improvement. The last thing we want is for them to be empty and turn into a fried chicken joint a few years down the line.

As for being near the pavement, on the BXAG site they have a questionaire about the plans for brockley Cross. It's worth voting for it.

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