Application to expand La Lanterna

La Lanterna, the restaurant on Brockley Road that has been closed for several months, is now the subject of a planning application to expand the ground floor restaurant and convert the upper floors in to bed-and-breakfast accommodation and one small flat:

The change of use of the upper floor at 179 Brockley Road SE4 from HMO to hotel (Use Class C1) together with the construction of a part one part/two storey extension at the rear to provide additional restaurant area, kitchen and store rooms, plus additional hotel accommodation and 1, self-contained 2 bedroom flat accessed from Harefield Mews.

In its current configuration, the restaurant is divided from the building on Harefield Mews by a small courtyard, used for storage. The plan is to put a roof over the courtyard to create a new, larger restaurant space while adding a first floor extension to the rear of the site on Harefield Road.

The application has been submitted on behalf of current owner, Biagio, which also owns a number of other sites in London. HMO stands for "Houses of Multiple Occupancy", which would be replaced by rooms with en-suite bathrooms, which suggests they aren't planning to go for the hostel market.

The restaurant would get a new frontage and new access to the hotel, but otherwise the building will look little different than it does today. If done properly, with a high-quality finish and a commitment to serving good food, this could be the kind of dramatic intervention which this parade has long been in need of.

What do you think?

With thanks to Bea.

50 comments:

Brockley Kate said...

I think if it's still going to be owned by Biagio then I'm a definite sceptic, given their past management performance.

Brockley Nick said...

I had a feeling you might say something like that. :)

I know what you mean, but being optimistic, you could say that perhaps they recognised that the old place wasn't up to it and it just got run down while they were planning this bigger project. And they must be smart enough to recognise that a restaurant of the scale they propose could only work if they raise their game significantly. It's a big investment.

Michael said...

La Lanterna has been closed since I moved to the area, what was the food like?

The Cat Man said...

I thought the food was 'ok', certainly nothing to want you to avoid the place like the plague.

I think this is a good development for Brockley, they are increasing their staff levels as well which is great for local employment. Overall, this should be considered a net contributor to the area.

Michael said...

Whatever the result, it'll be a lot better than what's there now. It also seems very confident to have a b&b there, the owners must have faith in the area to invest so heavily.

I'm still hoping that we get the pizza place at the bottom of Endwell Rd. The front has now, almost entirely, been tidied up and looks great. I can't get a good view on the inside though. It's really frustrating.

graeme said...

I think 'OK' summed up their food - it really was nothing to write home about, but as a non-Italian (you might have guessed that) I found their pizzas pretty good. Certainly better than the largely inedible stodge-fests constructed by Domino's and Pizza-Hut.

With two half decent Pizzerias that neck of the woods is fast becoming little Italy.

Forza Brockley Cross!!

Brockley Kiwi said...

I have a horribly feeling we'll be disappointed by endwell road. Despite the early excitement it occured to me that the nice new look might have just been a good insurance paid replacement of the old windows that the car crash took out. I hope I'm wrong but there doesn't seem to be much going on inside. :-(

Tamsin said...

A local hotel/bed and breakfast would be great when you have relations staying more than you have space for. Last time my sister and her family visited they had to stay in Greenwich. (Mark you, the White Hart would also seem to be an option...)

Mezzer said...

Tamsin,

There already is what appears to a really nice local B & B:

http://www.sjguesthouse.co.uk/

Anonymous said...

Judging by some of the 'hotels' that trade around Paddington, having an en-suite is no indicator of quality.

Tamsin said...

Mmm - definitely bear them them in mind. Don't know why they did not come up on my search.

awful snob said...

"There already is what appears to a really nice local B & B"

Hmmm. price is keen, but that's about it at the moment. They need to get Llewelyn-Bowen or some posh bird off telly's 'Hotel Inspector' in, and start getting their name out there.

quick brown fox said...

La Lanterna had quite a nice ambience, and is OK for pizza and pasta, but it's not great otherwise. I once ordered a meat dish and it came with what I am sure were tinned vegetables, which is really not acceptable for a dish costing £9 or so.

PS it was never full before, was it? Or only very rarely. Seems odd that they're expanding.

Anonymous said...

"Hmmm. price is keen, but that's about it at the moment. They need to get Llewelyn-Bowen or some posh bird off telly's 'Hotel Inspector' in, and start getting their name out there."

Is this an impression formed by only looking at the website, or have you visited? Some relatives were plannning to stay there in the near future and I'd love to know how it is.

awful snob said...

Looking on their website

Anonymous said...

My relatives stayed at http://www.sjguesthouse.co.uk/ and thought it was okay.

What about this one too?
http://www.pepysroad.com/

There is also supposed to be one at 66 Geoffrey Rd but I could never get an answer from them so perhaps they no longer do B&B

Brock Resident said...

"The Cat Man", You said "it's great for local employment". What local employment. I heard from a friend, Biagio brings his staff from Italy. He must trust very much of our local employment, that's why he brings staff from Italy. "Very great for Italy's Employment"

"Anonymous" and "awful snob", why not go and visit the B & B.

awful snob said...

@Brock Resident. No thanks, I'll form my opinion based on their spelling and advertising ;-) Anyway, I too live here (have done for 20 years), and fortunately have enough room(s) to put guests up and provide them with breakfast.

On a serious note though there's clearly a demand for a good B&B around here. It's not really something that had crossed my mind before.

Bea said...

At the risk of reading comments here of “Oh no, here we go again, the conservation area lobbyists at it again” - or such like - I feel compelled to write that am not entirely convinced that the front of the shop will comply with conservation area guidelines, which are:

“Many alterations to existing shopfronts, illuminated signage and new shopfronts all require planning permission. In conservation areas the requirement to preserve or enhance the historic or architectural character of the area applies to commercial premises
as well as housing. New shopfronts should usually be in painted timber with traditional elements such as stall risers, timber fascias and traditional lettering or signwriting. Security shutters should be of the open grille type with the box concealed behind the
fascia. All architectural elements such as console brackets, pilasters and floor tiling should be repaired and retained. Aluminium shopfronts, internally illuminated plastic signage and luminous colours will not be permitted. For further information, please ask
for our shopfront supplementary planning document.”

I am pleased that this stretch of road is being invested in and I wish the new restaurant and hotel every success. However, I am concerned that nowhere in the application forms does it acknowledge that the structure is in a conservation area and the above guidelines have been taken into consideration.

For example, in the picture of the proposed new shop front the arrow points to a “new illuminated sign” however it does not explain how this will be illuminated (neon or down lights - currently there is a neon strip lighting the painted signage) nor does it specify which materials will be used for the new shop front: aluminum or timber. Although the current front is timber this does not mean the new shop front will be so too.

The design statements only says “7.1 The appearance of No. 179 Brockley Road frontage is to be substantially unchanged, save for the new dormer at roof level, and the new shop-front.” and “5.2 The Brockley Road elevation is to remain unchanged, save for a new shop-front and the new dormer window.”

I have also noticed in the drawings under present front elevation that the huge plastic chef that used to preside from on high is not shown. Fortunately he does not feature in the proposed frontage but since the elevation is to be substantially unchanged I hope he does not make a reappearance at a later stage. Over the last couple of years the chef has made Houdini-like periodic escapes to the reclamation yard on Lewisham Road (or it is the plastic chef’s doppelganger!) and then is back above La Lanterna again.

Anyway - I will be raising my concerns with Lewisham Council.

Anonymous said...

Bloody hell. Give them a break, they're obviously just trying to make a living. Bringing up conservation guidelines seems more than a little mean spirited to me, and somewaht pedantic. That road is a shit hole. Any improvements are still improvements - and they may not be able to afford timber facias...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you said they're obviously just trying to make a living. I don't think so. La Lanterna owner, ownes 5 or 6 other restaurant in London Piccadilly and few other business.

Anonymous said...

Although I wasn't that impressed with the food at la lanterna these plans look good, from the design of the restaurant it looks as if they are going for more of a bar/restaurant which is something Brockley could certainly do with more of and when we were househunting couldn't find anywhere locally to stay so the b&b idea looks good too. As they are going to be putting considerable investment into this project then hopefully they will also up the quality of the food

Anonymous said...

You should stay at this B&B http://www.sjguesthouse.co.uk/ My relatives stayed at this one and thought it was okay.

There is another one too
http://www.pepysroad.com/

Anonymous said...

the pepys road one looks pretty nice.

Anonymous said...

What worries me is that when we get new hotel in our area it brings problems like prostitutes, asylum seekers, refugees and people who picks up men or women for sex. I have a friend who works in a hotel on South Kensington and Earl's Court, he told me that their hotel lets room by hour. Brockley is a nice area and we don’t need this type of business. If this happen here what are we going to do. Maybe it will be too late. Prevention is better than cure.

Anonymous said...

what a totally bizarre comment.

Sigmund said...

Yes. It has a hint of repression and projection about it.

Anonymous said...

Erm, I wouldn't mind Brockley being a bit more like South Kensington.

Headhunter said...

Anon 26 Nov 11:13 - It always amazes me when people make posts like this. If that stretch of road is a "sh*t hole" that doesn't mean we shouldn't aspire to better! We've got similar posts on the Big Yellow thread - along the lines of Lewisham Way is complete crap so why shouldn't unsympathetic developments be allowed coz it's sh*t anyway? Roads like Lewisham Way and Brockley Road don't have to be rubbish, it's not written in a council bye law!

Anon 27 Nov 10am - That was one of my first thoughts and worries actually. For hotel read sex den/deposit for those with "difficulties".

Matt-Z said...

@ Bea, 26 Oct 11.01:

What's wrong with the big plastic chef? I thought he added a bit of quirky charm to the area, like the clockwork key painted on the wall above the Toads Mouth, or the late, lamented sumo wrestlers from the roundabout outside Lewisham Library.

Bea said...

Quirky charm if located in an out-of-town business park or somewhere in the US, maybe.

However, inappropriate in a conservation area that is meant to preserve and enhance.

Not convinced an oversized plastic chef (sometimes with table and chairs, sometimes without) does that!

It strikes me that, since La Lanterna is investing money in the building anyway, they ought to get it right the first time round rather than have a repeat of the Speedicars saga.

Here is a link to Westminster’s guidelines on shop fronts, which makes a good case for why it is important to retain traditional elements of shop fronts and how modern design can be sympathetically incorporate.

http://www3.westminster.gov.uk/spgs/publications/Shopfronts,%20blinds%20and%20signs.pdf

Of course, Westminster shops are in a different league to most of those in Lewisham. However, it is not impossible to apply the rules. There are a number of shops that have successfully done so and Pavilion Estate Agents is a good example just a couple of shops down from La Lanterna. In addition, just round the corner by Brockley Cross is “Birds Dress Agency” & “Good As New” as well as “Mr. Laurence” and “Jam Circus” in Crofton Park.

Tamsin said...

Headhunter - what month are you in and what thread are you on? ;o)

Matt-Z said...

Bea - that row of shops has long since lost any resemblance to the rest of the conservation area. Nearly all of them are double glazed, there are dormer windows in the front elevations, concrete rooftiles, neon and plastic signs and shopfronts. It's going to take a hell of a lot of enhancing and preserving to bring up to the standards you're after.

Bea said...

Matt - yep, you're right - it will take a lot - however, it is not impossible and if an opportunity arises when that stretch can be improved upon then I think it should be taken.

Three years ago the shops on Coulgate Street looked very different (anyone remember the closed up tanning shop!?) and yet they now make a massively positive statement about Brockley and are a pleasure to look at when getting off the train.

Moreover, not all the shops by "La Lanterna" are lost causes. “Sounds Aloud”, the holistic centre as well as the already mentioned “Pavilion Estates” have more or less maintained their traditional elements as has the “Brockley Barge” pub (which was a den of iniquity not so long ago under the name of "Shakespeare’s Arms").

Matt-Z said...

I see your point Bea. I suppose I am being a little argumentative in defense of the chef. Perhaps I should buy its twin from the salvage yard on Loampit Vale and stick it on top of my house :)

Also, pedantically, the Barge used to be the Breakspears Arms (not Shakespeare, he was bard).

Bea said...

Matt-Z - I stand corrected re former name of pub.

Hope your neighbors like your choice of ornament! ;D

Headhunter said...

Oops, Tamsin, yes, wrong month, but times are correct!

Tamsin said...

The Chef's twin, or the man himself in that salvage yard? (An emporium I have long meant to visit - loved the extra large horse that was there a year or so back...)

Headhunter said...

It's about time they closed the salvage yard and re-opened it as Lewisham Way Station or Loampit Vale Station or whatever it used to be called until it was shut in the early 20th century....

g said...

"not Shakespeare, he was bard"

10/10

maxink said...

Save the salvage yard!
Can you imagine moving the stuff at the salvage yard somewhere else? There are thousands of cast iron radiators, fireplaces, baths and whatnot, I even saw a cast iron church pulpit there. If you move that stuff from there you affect the rotation axis of the planet.

fabhat said...

HH - you're very anti everything at the moment - have you been talking to Hugh?

Putting the conservation back into area said...

I got two original coping stones for my front wall from that salvage yard. Only a £5 each.

M said...

I love that salvage yard! It's a treasure trove.

Anonymous said...

Residents on Harefield Mews are concerned that the smokers and after-hours drinkers and non-officails guests will use he entrance of the Mews to access the restaurant/B&B. There are already some very strange folk who access the accomodation via Harefield Mews.

TJ said...

From the planning decision notice

http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/ACOLLATEDOCS/60364_1.pdf

"You are further advised that separate permission is required for any new
illuminated signage, including fascia signs.
"

Brockley Nick said...

@TJ - is there an easy way to tell whether that separate permission was ever granted? Would it be found within the same set of files?

TJ said...

It would be a seperate application - and a search has shown that none has been made.

I would imagine (no evidence) that with the wooden constructino now going up, that illuminated signage was not part of the plan.

I think though it is a wait and see on that - we can't presume that they are going to put up illuminated signage at this stage.

Tamsin said...

Any update on local B&Bs? My sister's bi-annual visit is happening next month.

Anonymous said...

Be very wary of this place!

The building is not going to the original granted planning! check out the shop front!

Not to mention the TONS of rubbish in the back yard! I've seen MANY rats running to & from the rear yard!

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