WP Stone Factory to be redeveloped

The owners of the WP Stone Factory, 2a Tyrwhitt Road, have submitted plans to redevelop the site as a building containing eight two-bedroom flats. The designs achieve such high density by adding another floor to the building.

The building was originally built to fabricate steel but has fallen in to disrepair, as operations have had to move to a more appropriate and efficient site, outside of London. The building has long been regarded by correspondents on Brockley Central as something of an eyesore, albeit part of our industrial heritage.

Clearly, the building has no future as a factory and the reinvention of The Talbot means that this is the ideal time to redevelop a key brownfield site. But we're not sure that this is the right solution. Architecturally, it seems neither to respect the original building nor start afresh and the density of the proposal could be a cause for concern.

BrocSoc is among the groups being consulted, but what do you think?


Anonymous said...

Wasn't planning permission turned down once before ?

Anonymous said...

I think the last thing Brockley needs is more high density housing. We have far too much as it is.

Anonymous said...

Not in my back yard

Headhunter said...

I don't know that spot very well as I barely ever head that way at the moment. Can't comment on whether the density is too high but I don't think you can say that Brockley has too much high density accommodation. Most of Brockley (including Crofton Park and St Johns) is made up of smaller 2-3 bedroom Victorian houses builty for the "clerkly classes". There are vast swathes of them. Most of these are still single dwellings and unlike other parts of London have not been split into flats quite as much. I'd guess that south east London in general actually benefits from a much higher proportion of houses vs flats than other parts of the city. Only the conservation area has a large number of flats, simply due to the large building sizes.

Anonymous said...

WP Stone is a nice, elegant building, probably (for me) with it's elegance elevated by the lovely lettering.

Presumably most of that will go.

There were no 'artists impressions' to see what it will look like after the redevelopment on the Planning website (that I could find anyway)

but some nice original drawings of the building as it was originally planned: Proposed Plans - 2009-08-14

Perhaps English Heritage would be interested...

Brockley Jon said...

I remember from the first time they applied for planning that there was some debate over the slightly snobby feeling design and access statement, pointing out the Talbot's "unfortunate colour scheme"!

The plans don't seem to have changed much - anyone spot the difference? I agree that the WP frontage should be kept if poss, I rather like it.

Anonymous said...

I don't see what's wrong with bringing some more nice accommodation to the area?

not really following this debate....

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

The application was turned down on appeal by the planning inspector.

The two main reasons (my interpretation) were;
* not enough amenity space gardens
* not enough car parking

Bit of a catch 22 but I suppose the inspector was expecting a reduction in the number of flats.

Apart from minor architectural design changes however all that has happened is the rear car park has become a garden.

I supported the previous application but will oppose this on the ground of too few car parking spaces for 8 flats.

Hugh said...

Hardly an eyesore, compare to the other sh*t at that end of the street.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Do you mean what's there now or what is proposed Hugh?

Anon at noon if you look at the planning application it appears the descritions proposed and existing have been transposed.

"Existing" elevations show what the new building will be like....sort of.

anon 12:00 said...

Yep TW, understood that, but I still couldn't find a 'front on' view of the proposed development

TM said...

Try looking at the drawing marked "front elevation".

Its not very good which is why I said sort of.

Who is TW by the way?

Hugh said...

Michael, I mean the existing building is fine. The new flats may be a step down in tone - I haven't looked at the plans - but that end of the street is a dump and any attempt to drag it up using market forces is to be welcomed.

patrick1971 said...

Not possible to have too few car parking spaces. Why not just make it that those flats are ineligible for parking permits? Why on earth would anyone living there need a car, given that you're a short walk from Brockley and Lewisham stations, and there's an actively functioning and highly successful streetcar.co.uk scheme operating in the area?

Anonymous said...


I live in Tyrwhitt Road - there is no CPD so there is no parking permit for the flats to be ineligible for. And by the way, there are may reasons why you would need (or indeed want a car). You may not have noticed but there are many plces you may want to go to that Lewisham or Brockly stations don't serve conveniently - the whole of the rest of the country for instance.

You may be wanting to transport one or more things that are too large or heavy to carry on public transport - equipment for work or other household items for instance.

You may need to travel with more than one individual, perhaps with someone who is elderly or has impaired mobility - many families for instance.

You may need to travel at a time when transport services are not available, or are not sufficiently frequent to be relied upon - shift workers for instance.

I'm not suggesting everyone has to have a car, but please when you make statements like "I can't understand why anyone would need a car" please bear in mind that everyone doesn't have needs that fall into a narrow band governed by your own needs (I'm making an assumption there and will willingly retract it if wrong - however the point stands).

I personally need to commute daily and would not dream of having a car for that purpose, I use the train (unless I can get a lift, see below). I do however often need to go to the Midlands or south coast at weekends with a lot of luggage - I prefer the car for that.

My girlfriend however needs to travel accross greater london with a car full of heavy analytical equipment. I would pay a very considerable amount of money to see you spend a week carrying a set of ladders, 6 pumps (weighing about 10kg each) a microscope, several tool boxes, and several kit bags from Brockley to Merton to Erith to Covent Garden in a day by public transport.

Just because it may not fit in with the lifestyle you live, or think everyone lives please at least have the wit to realise everyone else might not be the same.

Anonymous said...

The proposed development has parking space for 1 car,what use Is that for 8 flats,And who gets that space ? I say let the big bloke have It.

patrick1971 said...

As always, the excuses come thick and fast. South coast and the Midlands are both easily accessible by train, as is the whole of the rest of the country. If you're going for a weekend ipso facto you don't need a lot of luggage.

Your girlfriend's job is facilitated by the car; without cars we'd have to come up with new ways of working which would be better and more sustainable for all.

From the site of the proposed development, there are a number of frequent night buses along Lewisham Way, making a mockery of the statement that there are times when transport isn't available.

All the delivery stuff can be dealt with either by using streetcar.co.uk (a point you don't address), or by using the firms' delivery services.

Yes, not having a car involves making changes to your lifestyle. I'm not saying it doesn't. But in the vast majority of cases a car is a choice, not a necessity.

fred vest said...

@ brockley nick

"But we're not sure that this is the right solution"

surely this is exactly what the people objecting to the proposed development of lewisham town centre are saying, yet their objections get labelled in a binary sense by yourself as demanding the maintainance of the status quo, yet you fail to apply this same framework of analysis to your own objections to things you don't like (i.e. they complain about something but don't provide any arguments for alternatives so get ridiculed by yourself, yet you complain about something but don't provide any arguments for alternatives and that's a news story - they complain about density issues and that's bad/reactionary, you complain about density and that's a news story)

hardly the balanced approach to things that you usually seem capable of applying

human, all to human

Anonymous said...


Excuses no, simply trying to illustrate that because something may be true in some cases it does not follow that it is true in all cases.

Firstly, I'm sorry but you are wrong about some things, my girlfriend is an asbestos consultant. Buildings cannot come to her so she must go to them, with her equipment. In her case the job cannot be done without a car. No amount of "coming up with new ways of working" is going to chage that and hers is by no means the only job that falls into that category.

I'm only talking about this to illustrate a general point. There are cases where cars are either absolutely unavoidable or activity becomes economically unviable without them, and there are many of them. You may not be able to think of them because they are not within your general experience but that does not mean they don't exist.

Now, lets talk about areas of judgement where we will have different views. I agree with you that in very great number of situations it is physically possible to use public transport or other facilities rather than a car. I also agree that it may require changes to lifestyle. I also agree that in some cases those changes may be reasonable and desirable. Your argument is however flawed if you assume that this therefore means that the car is rendered uneccessary altogether. It is often the case that the cumulative impact of those adjustments is so severe, in economic, convenience, safety or health terms that a reasonable person would conclude that they are not viable. This becomes even more relevent when we are talking about long journeys, elderly or infirm people, families or people travelling in large groups.

There are many examples where it is much quicker, cheaper, less damaging to the health of the individual, safer or even environmentally friendlier to use a car rather than other options and the opposite is obviously also true. Sometimes the difference is marginal and it may be reasonable to use the other option but there are other cases where the alternative is highly comparatively undesirable. In those cases simply because the alternative exists that does not mean that the car option is "uneccessary" or should always be rejected.

Maybe the depth of your conviction is such that you would always accept any "no car" option no matter how comparatively undesirable it is and fair play to you if so. I personally don't accept that and I don't think it is realistic to think that its something everyone could be made to think.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the bar staff from the " reinvented " Talbot could move Into the flats.

Pete said...

I think that Anonymous sums up the pro-car/anti-car argument quite well.

I cycle to work nearly every day and for years didn't have car. However, I bought a car about a year ago and although we don't use it every day (often only once a week) it has made a positive difference to my life by removing some of the arduous aspects of (for example) going to visit my parents or going to Ikea etc.

Of course I could do without a car (after all I did without one for the previous 8 years) but it makes my life easier than it was and I am personally unprepared to "wear a hair shirt" at all times.

I am sure that in some ways this attitude might actually offend some people who believe that the car is a bit evil.

Anonymous said...

Such people tend to be confined to Brockley.

patrick1971 said...

Fair enough, Anon. I'm the first to admit I'm a huge anti-car evangelist. I think Pete has a point, too, though, that it is often about living more easily than about living essentially, if you see what I mean.

With your girlfriend's job, my question would be, why are they sending her to such a large area? Why doesn't she just have an SE area to cover? Obviously her management does this because they can, i.e. because the car facilitates it. This is why we need to look at the root causes of excessive car use; examples like this are far from unusual, and with a bit of will, could in many cases be eliminated.

Pete - why not use a car club? I've heard nothing but good things about them, they take cars off the road, thus easing parking problems, and you don't have all the hassle of road tax etc. Obviously being a non-driver I never use them, but I've never heard anyone saying they couldn't get a car.

fabhat said...

Clearly there are jobs and situations when a car is required. But the streetcar suggestion is a valid one. If you use your car only about once a week, it's cheaper to use a streetcar than own your own car.

Now that streetcar pay for the c charge automatically, and petrol is included over 48hr bookings, some of the more annoying quirks of using it are removed.

Headhunter said...

I agree with Patrick, although I'm perhaps less of an evangelist and can see that with the largely disastrous public transport system we have in this country, owning a car can be necessary.

I agree though that in many cases, car ownership is simply to make things easier rather than a necessity, however people have mostly come to regard ease as a necessity.

Anonymous said...

Ease = progress.

Human's should be allowed to progress.

Anonymous said...


In this specific case, the economics and governing legislation of the asbestos industry in general, and her firm in particular, means that its only really viable for them to cover the whole of greater London. Even if she only covered SE London there would still be the need for a car.

I don't think its uncommon for economics to dictate a wide area of coverage. I used to have job that was so specialised my firm could only make it economically viable if the area of coverage was global, although at that level it was lucrative. I worked all over the world an lived on planes.

Admittedly, these are fairly specialised jobs, but I still think there are many jobs where other constraints also render a car "necessary."

You are obviously correct that if you let economics dominate then you will end up with situations like this. My personal view though is that in all practical terms its not realistically possible to change the paradigm. Markets generally tend to enforce competitiveness (although I acknowledge not always)and measures to reverse that tend to be unsuccessful or prohibitively unpopular. I accept that this doesn't mean that it might not be worthwhile to seek them, but in the real world it generally means it won't happen.

Brockley Nick said...

@Fred I thought someone (you ;) ) might make that point. I think there are two differences.

1. I am not launching a campaign group to protest against the plans here, I simply asked the question about density, to get people's views.

2. The two proposals are very different. I am not saying that density is never a valid argument - clearly it is. I am not even saying that density isn't necessarily an issue in Lewisham - questions about the strain it will put on local health provision are surely valid. What I am saying is that the comparisons are facile and I think their complaints about "density" are actually code for saying that there are too many (posh) newcomers coming in to the area and / or that the developer is profiteering and / or it's another way of saying that the buildings are too tall.

Let's get an understanding of how this will impact local schools and healthcare and let's understand how parking will work. Beyond that, I can't see why density should be an issue on a brownfield site like this, with fantastic public transport links right next door.

I don't think it is me that is trying to reduce everything to a binary argument - that is exactly my criticism of this group (and lots of others).

Anonymous said...

There's a big difference between sitting on your backside and writing to a blog and actually getting off that backside and attending a meeting or engaging with people in the flesh. The latter requires commitment, the former does not.

Brockley Nick said...

If that's directed on me, then you're wrong on every count.

Not only does writing and maintaining this thing take an enormous amount of effort but I go to a whole range of "live" events in order to write it. I engage and chivvy local politicians and officials for answers and help and I meet with all sorts of great people doing great things locally.

Together with Jon and Kate, I have even organised a few local events myself.

Brockley Nick said...

PS - the same thing can be said of many of the other people who contribute to the blog. If it's such an irrelevance, then why do you even bother posting anything here?

Headhunter said...

"Ease = progress.

Human's should be allowed to progress."

So humanity only aspires to "ease"? If ultimate progress = being able to sit on ones ass eating processed food, occasionally rising to drive to a local supermarket/junk food outlet then heaven help us. Personally I aspire to more than "ease"...

M said...

Nick, you know as well as I do that most Anonymous posters only come here to snipe, argue and make lame dogging/NIMBY/mung bean 'jokes'.

This blog is an entertaining and informative local resource - keep up the good work and try to ignore the morons.

Anonymous said...

Again Headhunter asserting that food that goes through a process is in some way inherantly bad.

Anonymous said...

Because irrelevance is a major part of this, and many other blogs. But it wasn't particularly a criticism of you, more a general comment to the effect that the people who organise action groups, who are an easy target to either belittle or despise, often work tirelessly and don't seek personal self-publicisation.

Their work is an essential part of examining how the council spends it's money and who they form relationships with, amongst many other things.

Anonymous said...

To snipe and argue

That's not true M Its just the original post was about the development of W.P.Stones,And turned Into a discussion whether people need cars or not

Pete said...

We did consider the car club but as quite a few of the journeys that we do make are really long distance (Yorkshire and back) you end up paying for the excess mileage which gets expensive. Plus we go to see our parents for a week at a time sometimes so I don't think it would save us that much money.

If we had been lucky(!) enough to grow up in Brockley and had family that lived anywhere near me then it would be different.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, can you imagine growing up in London? For adults it's great but for kids... have you heard the stuff the local kids come out with on their way to school (innit)?

Brockley Nick said...

Took the kids to Somerset House and then Covent Garden for the kids weekend that had been organised there [full disclosure, this was a project run by my company]. Wonderful day, kids happy and exhausted. Just one of the many things available to kids in London. My wife recalled life growing up in the countryside as standing around on the edge of fields with kids, smoking and bored.

fabhat said...

anon 13.37. I grew up in London, as did a few other people who blog here regularly. I loved growing up here, and look forward to bringing my kids up here too - where better for museums, parks, days out etc?

Pete - I know what you mean about the mileage, but that has just changed on streetcar for 48 hr jouneys, and makes a big difference in price for those long trips.

Headhunter said...

Anon 12:52 - It often is!

Pete said...

I enjoyed growing up in the Yorkshire Dales and Moors. Once you get to be a teenager it isn't wildly exciting but I can't believe many London teenagers think to themselves that it would be brilliant to go to the Horniman museum and in fact I'm sure much of their fun revolves around drinking and smoking!

Sure going to the Horniman museum must be fun for kids but then when I was small I could go for walks in the countryside, build dens, have campfires etc etc without any adult supervision. Something I doubt is possible in London (at least until you're a bit older anyway).

I think it is likely that any children my wife and I have will probably grow up here in London and they will hopefully enjoy themselves as much as Fabhat and Nick did.

fred vest said...

Nick, as to your first point - i may have misunderstood but this seems to be suggesting that as long as you are not involved in an 'formal' campaign group then a different set of rules apply to how your comments about things should be judged, meaning that you can react negatively (on a public forum) to the building of accomodation on brownfield sites because you don't like it and raise issues about density as an excuse against it without offering any alternative 'solutions' but if a campaign group does the same thing (also in a public forum) then they deserve to be slaughtered and ridiculed for their efforts. I don't think you'd apply this logic of differentation to someone making comments in a similar vein to these against a campaign you were in favour of
As to the two developments being very different then of course they are, but we can abstract from the differences to see the general case of somebody ridiculing someone else who is objecting to the specific proposed plans of building homes on a brownfield site and raising concerns about density while at the same time erm... objecting to the specific propopsed plans of building homes on a brownfield site and raising concerns about density

fred vest said...

I agree for any development we need to get an understanding of the social, cultural & economic environment in which it will form part of and alter, and then make judgements in light of this information- and as has been mentioned on the lewisham centre thread, campaigns are often a useful way of shining a light on things that are happening and ensuring at least some scrutiny is carried out that has a more public face,  but I do remember you adopting a similar position to my objections to the building of 600 homes to house over 1,000 new people at the old catford dog track - despite (or perhaps because of?) a fairly in depth review and analysis surrounding things like impact on public transport, road congestion, unrealistic assumptions used for future road/rail usage, environment/flood issues, impact on existing community, consultation process, impact on crime/anti-social behaviour, impact on healthcare, the ignoring of large amounts of sub-standard housing currently in existence, impact on schools in the area etc.. etc.. you still managed to reduce all this to a strap line of 'anonymous man' fearing the loss of a few pound shops and not wanting catford to turn into islington (islington of course being the 8th most deprived local authority in england at present) - very similar in style to your dismissive headline in relation to the lewisham campaign
so lets be fair, your own supposed objective quest for the facts & truth about things are not untroubled by your own subjective position when it comes to your commentary, and lets face it even when information about developments are brought to light by people objecting to it, you seem to think you can dismiss the relevancy of those concerns by saying these are being raised only as a proxy for something else (no posh people here etc..) - not quite sure how you can see into the minds of people to come up with this, but even if you're right on that, if the actual concerns raised are valid then the reasons for them being raised (whether as a cover for something else or in their own right) are in effect irrelevant as the process of discovery has produced tangible & useful results on which a more reasonable assessment can be based

fred vest said...

on the specifics of density though you're saying that it shouldn't be a problem at lewisham because it's next to a public transport hub - i havn't seen any transport assessment reports in relation to this development which outline future assumptions about public/private transport usage (including downstream/upstream locations etc....) and the development's impact on them, but surely something like this would need to be seen and assessed before any view could be formed about the issue, just because it's next to a transport hub shouldn't mean density issues can be ruled out as a concern purely on that fact alone

Brockley Nick said...

@fred - re your first point, no that is not at all what I am saying.

Had this piece been a ranting criticism of the plans and a demand that they been thrown out, it would have been comparable to what the protest group is saying about Lewisham town centre. Here, I have simply written that I am no great fan of the architecture and predicted (rightly on the basis of some of the comments here) that the density might be a source of concern for some people. I said 'I don't know, what do you think?'

The campaign group have made up their minds and are trying to derail the development. That is something quite different.

I haven't ridiculed them, only their arguments (which have been expressed in ridiculous terms). If you are trying to prevent a project which has been years in development, had a lot of public money spent on it and (for better or worse) will play a major role in reshaping this entire borough, I think the least people should be prepared for is for their arguments to be subjected to robust scrutiny - as indeed mine are, on even the most trivial matter, on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes Nick, I think you *are* Heidi Alexander...

Anonymous said...

Nick, is your 'robust scrutiny' of the arguments of the objectors to the Loampit Vale development just confined to a newspaper article or do you have access to, for instance, their submission to central government for a public inquiry?

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

For those curious about the fate of the company, the answer lies here


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