Upper Brockley Road / Geoffrey Road planning

A new planning application has been submitted to Lewisham Council for:

"The construction of a 3 storey plus roof space building at 159 Upper Brockley Road SE4. to provide 1, three bedroom maisonette and 1, two bed maisonette."

Essentially, the application would see the house, which was destroyed by fire last April, rebuilt exactly as before, although the decision to rebuild will depend on medium term expectations for the Brockley property market.

The damaged house has been underpinned and made safe.

The bigger (and longer-running) story is next door, where the MOT garage and tyre shop have been the subject of planning discussions for approximately three years. Developers hope to turn the site (which has soil contamination) in to an apartment block, but the project seems to be locked in planning limbo, with some voices even suggesting that the tyre shop should be retained as part of the new development for the "character" it lends the area. Presumably they mean the rows of tyres perched on the roof of the building?

Whatever the issues that have prevented the development being given permission, we hope that the Council and the Brockley Society will treat this site as a priority - three years is far-too-long to argue over a small scale development and the site is currently a polluted eyesore, that needs dealing with. And for those worried about the plight of the guys running the garage, don't be - they are more than happy to relocate as soon as the issue is resolved.

33 comments:

Tom said...

Plans for the house are here.

I walked past the tyre place last night and there seemed to be boards all the way around it.

Does this mean the decision's been made, and it's closed down?

Anonymous said...

Good news boppers.

Headhunter said...

Wow, looking at the plans they really are intending it to be rebuilt to look like the Victorian original which is good news. I imagined they'd construct some glassy modern building there. Regarding that MOT garage, it certainly looks like an early example of a garage/petrol station, looks like it was possibly built as early as the 1920s or 30s from the style and there obviously used to be petrol pumps on the corner, long since gone but it is pretty much an eyesore these days

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I even heard there were people wanting it to be made back into a 1920's - 1930's petrol station again - to add character.

Someone once told me there was a need for a petrol station around there.

It would be nice for someone to check what the councils view of this is, I have a horrible feeling that site will not be made into apartments or such like.

JPM said...

This is a no brainer... let's get behind it and rebuild something to be proud of, that's occupied and makes the area feel safe.
And wat's wrong with apartments APP&P?

Headhunter said...

There'd probably be health an safety reasons against having a petrol station so close to residential dwellings these days and in any case that forecourt os probably way to small for modern cars which are longer and wider, also access might be an issue. Could be quite fun though - we have "period" pubs, houses, shops, Brockley would have the countries first period petrol station and MOT garage....

Ed said...

If this is where I think it is doesn't it raise the old and unresolved issue of the redevelopment of the double roundabout junction. Probably impossible but wouldn't that make a good open space?

Brockley Nick said...

It's not really very near the double roundabout.

Brockley Jon said...

Whenever I walk past the place, I'm more concerned about the amount of empty gas canisters knocking around, than I am about the rest of the place - aren't there laws about that sort of thing? It only takes one pyromaniac... oh yeah - 2 then.

JPM said...

Brockley Jon... you are quite right about those gas canisters, and there is a law governing their storage.
There's been two incidents involving fires and canisters, during which a 600 yard cordon was thrown around these hot zones and neighbours were evacuated to a nearby church hall (where they spent the night, or in B&Bs. Many could not return for days.)

However, it's only a matter of time before there is a major tragedy somewhere in England involving the storage of these things in such close proximity.

Andy said...

I agree that we should support the redevelopment of the site. It is currently an eye sore and a health hazard (general waste and specifically hazerdous indistrial waste left in the open!).

I also agree we shouldn't be against flats per se. After all we need places for first-time buyers and those lower down the property ladder. However, there is a real lack of houses in Brockley and so I personally would like to see those go on the site. But that is just a wish. Economic reality will dictate what is built!

Anonymous said...

Not happy about it. Luv the guys in the garage, gives a real sense of community on the street. Admit it could do with a facelift and should address health and safety issues. Would rather that than a block of flat being built that will mean more cars on an already busy road.

Kate said...

Re: gas canisters, one of the problems is that local councils make it so hard to dispose of them. A colleague of mine has had a horrendous time trying to get the council (not Lewisham - Camden, in this case!) to collect and safely dispose of some gas canisters at an elderly relative's house. He ended up having to pay an arm and a leg for it and even then they made him leave them on the street for several weeks due to failing to collect them.
No wonder people often just dump them.

Headhunter said...

What do you mean there are not enough houses in Brockley, Andy?! There are seas of them near the east side and on the west side of the station and off Brockley Rd down by Moonbows! In fact surely the large numbers of unconverted houses in Brockley is of its attractions for some!

Andy said...

Afraid not Headhunter. Firstly, look at house prices in Brockley. The price of houses has rocketed in the past couple of years whilst flats have only risen slightly.

Secondly, Lewisham council recognise the issue and are discouraging the conversion of houses into flats. They are encouraging more "family homes" of three plus bedrooms. I know this from personal experience!

Headhunter said...

Whether or not prices are rising there are still hundreds of Victorian houses in Brockley outisde the conservation area! Most of those small 2 and 3 bed Victorian houses haven't been converted! I went to view loads of them before I bought on Manor Avenue. All those houses along Braxfield, Arabin, Comerford, Kneller roads and on the west side of the station Asaph, Dundalk, Finland Roads. Not to mention all the streets south of the cemetery, although I guess you could consider those Crofton Park...

JPM said...

Andy... you may be in error.

The Council is demanding three-bed units (flats) when a developer converts a house into flats and not the retention of houses. (Incidentally, you don't need permission to convert flats into a house.)

Even where there is evidence that a developer may have converted more flats in a previous conversion, as in one instance in Manor Avenue, they are not pursued. At least to my knowledge.

The prices of flats to my mind have outstripped most houses as these are 'London currency', brockley being no different for first timers and couples with a starter family. ('Some' houses in the Conservation Area may have outperformed flats inside and outside the CA, and this is where the impression comes from that houses increase greater than flats.)

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

@JPM

I used a double negative in my comment, check again.

I have no issue with flats. Modern ones 'can be' much more environmentally friendly with lower maintenance. Exactly the direction the UK needs to promote.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

@JPM.

I understand from the press that nowadays the rate of new 'house building' is about 20% of the new dwellings created, wherease 5-10 yrs ago this was more like 60%.

I agree with Andy on this, house prices will go up much more than flats. If no other reason, then purely because the supply in recent times has increased so much.....

...and dont forget theres the freehold land to consider normally uncomplicated if associated with a house.

Headhunter said...

Looking at price rises since I have lived in Brockley, it doesn't seem that house prices have particularly gone up vs flat prices. Buy to let has meant that flats, esp 2 bed flats, are v popular, esp flats with outdoor space which the conservation area has in spades.

Speaking from experience, most renters want to rent with 1 other, any more than that and splitting bills, household chores and us of the bathroom in the morning before work starts to become a pain.

Also many buy to letters like leasehold because they can leave building management to someone else and live at a distance. Although with a potential crash in buy to let on our hands this may not last

JPM said...

Not sure about that double negative, Andy. I thought we were speaking about past prices not future markets. Sure, houses may outperform flats but that doesn't mean that flats will cease to outperform houses - in popularity. The main reason being they're cheaper. Having said that, I prefer to live in a flat myself because of the lateral space, and long for a return to one. (Hate walking up the stairs all the time, but don't miss someone above my head. But where do you stop, terrace, semi, detached, with land, a forest? Penthouse flat in a new build would do, but those days are gone.)

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I'm convinced a house will generally hold it's value alot longer than a flat.

The problem in the UK with flats is that they are generally newly built. Despite being environmentally friendly (which is a credit to developers) they are generally not built to last as long as they used to be say 20 yrs ago.

It is not uncommon for some 'modern' apartments barely lasting longer than the length of a 25 yr mortgage. As more and more flats are being built, and less and less houses, the disparity between the 'housing stock' and the 'flat/apartment stock' will increase.

Generalising though, as we are, a 'house' will tend to be brick built and last something like 50-100 yrs (even with the not so durable modern red brick).

A modern flat will generally last 30-40 yrs.

The equivalent value of a house, compared to the same economic useful life of a flat - in general terms - is therefore much higher.

Speaking even more generally (as if you thought that would be possible!) 'durable' goods are decreasing in useful economic life as we move towards a more 'throw away' society. TVs used to last 30 yrs, new ones now last 5-10yrs.

Its the same for other durable commodities.

and just to clarify, i'm not saying there isnt good flats or TVS out there, but it is a generalisation based on the dynamic/trends that we can see evident in the economy.

Headhunter said...

APPP, But lets face it, In Brockley there aren't many flats or houses being built, there simply isn't the free space for either, so accommodation stock in Brockley be it houses or flats is going to remain the same for the forseable future unless they build on Hilly Fields or something.

Also flats in Brockley are usually converted houses in the conservation area so they have similar solidity to smaller houses.

As for reliability of modern electrical goods etc one of my grandparents was a keen electrics amateur and he always claimed that modern appliances were far more reliable than those in the past - he said that in the 1930s, 40s and 50s electrical appliances like TVs even used to catch fire at times!

The reason modern appliances go wrong is that they are so much more complex, however if a modern electrical appliance manufacturer made a basic TV these days it would most likely far outlast the 1950s version.

These days people often dispose of electrical appliances befor ethey have reached the end of their useful life as they want the next big think on the market. Think about mobile phones - I have had several over the years and most of them still worked when I upgraded despite having been dropped many a time...

God I'm so busy at work today...

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

There will always be regional/local variances. (the blurb above was meant as a sweeping generalisation in the uk).

On a local scale in brockley, we have a number of new apartment blocks around the station and converted houses made into flats around the immediate area (both west and east side). Where are the new houses being built?

The point I was making above is that we can see many new flats being built, not many houses. I would go as far as saying out of the new flats, a significant proportion of them are new build and therefore would generally have a lower economic life then converted ones or the remaining housing stock. I think that also applies to Brockley. Therefore, by deduction I would argue that it is reasonable the same dynamces apply to brockley then that on a national scale. (i.e the average value of whats left of the housing stock vs. the average value of flats/apartments).

If you get a good solid built flat, like the converted ones then you will be increasingly one of the lucky ones (out of the total population who buy flats).

I think the recent renovation of the tea leaf gallery is a good solid new one. Battleship block on the west side im not too sure about...

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I wonder if Eternal Jerk is classified as a house? That would blow my analysis!!!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of which - when is 'the Glasshouse' going to be built? and what about the other development opposite the 'battleship' on thew west of thew station isn't that site supposed to be redeveloped?

That would mean 3 new blocks all next to each other - it remains to be seen how that would change the look of mantle road.

Brockley Nick said...

Glasshouse is being built now - the Maypole pub site has been cleared to pave the way for construction.

As for the other development, I am not sure, but hopefully soon...

There is a risk that the bulk of the buildings could make that stretch a little oppressive still, but that effect will be greatly reduced if they manage to fill the retail units, which will bring life to that stretch.

Anonymous said...

And I don't suppose there is any chance they will set the new buildings back a few feet to increase the pavement space and reduce this 'closed in' effect. I'd really like the entrance to the west side of the station to be improved too. At the most basic level all it would take is to widen the entrance so it's not so you can see who's coming. It's simple but ain't gunna happen. Nope. No way. Never.

JPM said...

I remember sitting on my daddy's knee, way down on a farm in Alabama, and he turned to me and said: 'Patches, I'm dependin' on yah son, to pull the family through.' He didn't really but I feel certain he may have added: 'Git the freehold.'

It's actually all about freehold ownership... and not the lifespan of the house. (That's really an insurance issue.) The value is in the land. that's why all those that but leasehold in shortspan newbuilds lose out, in the end.

On the subject of electrical goods, my old neighbour, Graham, was an expert in this field and he told me it was all 'planned obsolescence,' designed by the manufactures to fail. And it is something that I don't accept.

A recent example of this is when I called my laptop manufacturer up and was told it was out of warranty by 18 months. So what? I pressed and got them to rebuild for zilch, plus got a new battery.

As anyone ever bought those overthecounter specs at Sainsbury's? Last a week, if that.

Anonymous said...

JPM....hope you don't mind me pointing this out - it's an observation, that's all.

You sound like a right pain in the arse. Do you spend ALL your waking hours complaining and ranting against something/someone? Jesus....

JPM said...

Whatever made you think that an "anon" post couldn't be traced back to its author? [For further, if able, read the Enigma Machine and other related periodicals. Speak to your ISP. But do insist that they tell you the truth.) Mingle-mangle-mingle-mangle... You are now entering the twighlight zone.

Anonymous said...

A lenghty report into any contamination of the MOT site has just been uploaded on the council planning website.

Gives a potted history of the area, such as the coming of the railways, WW1 & WW2 incidents.

Don't under the report, but noticed a list headed 'Russian Military'.

Emily Wright said...

Bring it on!!! The posse that accumulates around the garage is the other half of the problem!

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