Loampit Vale construction underway [UPDATED]


Work has begun on Loampit Vale, one of the most ambitious regeneration projects in Lewisham.

The project will involve the construction of eight buildings ranging from five to 24 storeys, creating 788 new homes in Lewisham town centre, as well as a new swimming pool and nearly 2,000 square metres of commercial floorspace. Loampit Vale is the smaller and less controversial sibling of the Lewisham Gateway project.

Piling rigs are on site and advertising hoardings for the new homes have appeared by the roadside.
A spokesperson for the project confirmed:

"The necessary finance and planning agreements are in place and work has begun. The first phase to be completed will be the leisure centre, with the goal of opening in 2013. The following phases are currently expected to be completed in 2014 - 15."

The project's future was secured with the help of £20.5m from central government.
UPDATE: For those wondering what the multi-coloured panels are, they are illuminated glass, backed by a smart LED lighting system.

98 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lovely....not.

Brockley Nick said...

Expand?

Monkeyboy said...

A nice thatched roof would help.

Brockley Nick said...

It's supposed to have green roofs, though those have a habit of disappearing from these kinds of projects.

Anonymous said...

It looks awful compared with the nice Victorian buildings which were let rot and the demolished in Lewisham town centre. I expect it will probably be torn down in 50 years time and be regarded in a similar way as the Ferrier estate is today. Clueless Council strikes again.

Anonymous said...

it's no beauty.

maxink said...

A £20.5m top up from the public purse.

How did Bullock agree to exchange contracts with such a whole in affordability?

Brockley Nick said...

I linked to your blog article on that very point Max ;)

Anonymous said...

that multi-coloured aspect is going to look nasty once it's worn in.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - do you know what it's made of?

Paddyom said...

Have to say i wouldnt be a fan of it, its just too darn high for me.

Anonymous said...

the only bit of interest is the multi-coloured bit. 3 dull tower blocks. Is this the 1960's???

NXG_Resident said...

Looks like 1970s Croydon...

Might be time to find another borough to live in as I'm tired with our Council's incessant flood of poor decisions.

maxink said...

Hi Nick, I hadn't noticed the links. Thanks.

By the way, there is another aspect to the issue that I also find very interesting.

The money were announced as part of the Government "Kickstart Fund", and in the press release of the announcement of the fund (link) the Head of Homes and Communities Agency chief executive Sir Bob Kerslake said:

"This latest Kickstart money combined with funding through our standard affordable housing programme puts us in an ever stronger position for delivery of much-needed new homes.

"As a result thousands more people will have a new quality home at a rent they can afford, or will be helped to take the first steps into home ownership."

The irony is that his Agency was behind the Catford Dogtrack development that had the plug pulled just as this fund's money were awarded to Barratt.
Robbing Peter to pay Paul?

Brockley Nick said...

I do love each and every one of you, but dear me, what a load of miseries.

It's a brand new, state-of-the-art leisure centre, within easy reach of many of us, in an area starved of decent facilities. It replaces a non-descript area of town, playing a major role in helping meet Lewisham's new home targets (thus reducing the need to squeeze more homes in to Brockley for those of you opposed to that) and providing a large supply of new people in the town centre - exactly what's needed to make Lewisham viable as a shopping centre and reverse its decades-long decline.

One might have thought that was at least some consolation.

Rewardtheresponsible said...

Bet your glad you voted Labour now ;)

Anonymous said...

"It looks awful compared with the nice Victorian buildings"
...erm, nice victorian buildings are in short supply around lewisham town centre.
sure, it'd be great if there were rows of victorian buildings in cobbled streets occpied by shops run by local artisans and organic delis - but this is lewisham. that'll never happen. that area was/is an eyesore and will be a lot better with this development

Heidi said...

@ Anon 14:24 - Sorry that earlier comment was mine but I didnt add my name as was rushing. On your points:

"nice victorian buildings are in short supply around lewisham town centre."
Yes thats because they have all been demolished.


"sure, it'd be great if there were rows of victorian buildings in cobbled streets occpied by shops run by local artisans and organic delis - but this is lewisham."
Bromley has managed to combine the old with the new relatively, it was more what I had i mind.


"that area was/is an eyesore and will be a lot better with this development"
The development isnt demolishing any of the "eyesore" you talk about, it merely adds to it. So i fail to see how the will be a lot better.

lettingfocus said...

What a shame... Now we have the East London Line we can (if we wanted) get to Croydon even more easily... but the mayor has saved us from that fate by bringing a look a like Croydon to our doorstep instead.

maxink said...

Sorry, the recently demolished Victorian parade wasn't on that site at all.

And by the way it was a very nice Victorian parade until Lewisham Council bought them.

Tressilliana said...

Like a broken record I repeat - where will the children in this new development go to school?

Architecturally, don't care. A hundred years ago when what many of us now think of as lovely Victorian buildings were being erected all over London, there were plenty of people talking about how ugly they were.

Brockley Nick said...

@Tressilliana - in Lewisham Bridge. Oh hang on...

I guess that the private housing is being built for DINKIES.

And please people - comparisons with Croydon are facile. You should know better than that by now. Croydon's problem is it was designed and built for the car - as a new town. This is zone 2, built with pedestrians in mind. Much better.

maxink said...

Police station?

Labour Supporter said...

Nick I think we are whingers because we've seen it all before. I would like this development to work - but also imagine in months that the LED lights will stop working in some of the panels and not be replaced, proper cleaning won't take palce etc etc. Someone mentioned Canary Wharf - if this is maintained like Canary Wharf - ie spotlessly clean then great. However, I doubt it will be and I'm sure the maintenance will be fobbed off to a private compnay who underbid for the contract and avoid the actual work.

TJ said...

What's also missing from the graphic is congested traffic and any sort of street furniture (in Lewisham blue) or bus stop. We just have people happily cycling and skipping around. What a laff.

Heidi said...

@ Nick
Gosh I admire your enthusiasim for it but cant say I agree with you personally.

There are already 2 Council leisure centres within a couple of miles of that location so another one is nice but hardly necessary.

Lewishams new homes targets is not a good reason to allow the construction of such dominating high-rise eyesores. Isnt that what happened in the 50's and 60's and look at the mess we have in so many areas today due to ghetto-isation. I dont think Brockleys housing market would be that closely impacted by the development of this site due to the distance from Brockley/CP stations.

Lewisham town centre is always manic busy with people already so not sure how bringing in even more will improve it as oppose to add to the already over-congestion of the area (roads, trains, streets, buses etc...). To improve the retail offer of Lewisham the Council has to (and i hate to say this) bring in the 'right' kind of people who have money to spend. With its high percentage of social affordable housing i'm not sure how many big-spenders it will attract to the area. Lets just say that Poundland needn't worry just yet :)

Anonymous said...

heidi -

"Yes thats because they have all been demolished" ...or unhelpfully bombed by the germans during the war and replaced by ugly buildings not fit for purose for today. either way, nice victorian buildings have not been on the loampit vale site for many years. we can't wish for them to simply reappear the fact is they are long gone.

"Bromley has managed to combine the old with the new relatively, it was more what I had i mind." again, what "old" existed on that site before it was cleared? an ugly, post-war council estate. this development is at least adding something to the community, you must admit that. i can't see how the shabby existing town centre should dictate in any way this development in that it must "compliment" an area that is ripe for redevelopment itself.


"The development isnt demolishing any of the "eyesore" you talk about, it merely adds to it. So i fail to see how the will be a lot better." it has demolished an eyesore! that council estate that was there before! what springs up in its place will be infinitely better for the community as a whole, offering new facilities and space. i know you can't be suggesting you'd prefer that estate was still there, so what exactly would you prefer??

Heidi said...

Anon

I know there werent many Victorian buildings on this particular site in recent years, but the wider regeneration of this area includes the recent demolition of the retail parade on the other side of the roundabout and included the demolition of the Bridge school, which has now been halted. Whats being built is souless by comparison, hopefully. Lewisham needs to start attracting people from Canary wharf and the city to live here to bring spending power and taxes in. Something unique and attractive could have gone onto this site to change the way people view Lewisham in London (which at the moment is 'dump'), as opposed to one of these clone developments which can be found all over Canary Wharf or Greenwich Peninsula or even Creek road in Greenwich etc...

moving out said...

Apart from the glass on the leisure centre I don't think this has much to recommend. Do the planners at Lewisham always give permission for any scheme put in by the council? Spend their energies picking on the minor details of the lone applicant trying to sort out a house extension?

Are there new local play areas for all this housing and where is the new school.

Don't tell me, Lewisham saw the light and are going to put Lewisham Bridge primary school back to its old 2 form entry?

M said...

"I do love each and every one of you..."
Is that a lie?

The development looks alright to me - nothing special but better than what was there before.
The new leisure centre will be very welcome too - shame there isn't a cinema.

Brockley Nick said...

@Heidi

"There are already 2 Council leisure centres within a couple of miles of that location so another one is nice but hardly necessary."

Lewisham is very poorly served for leisure facilities. It needs a lot more - this is a good start, as is the restoration of Forest Hill pool.

"Lewishams new homes targets is not a good reason to allow the construction of such dominating high-rise eyesores. Isnt that what happened in the 50's and 60's"

No, it isn't. You are talking about large scale post-war housing estates, built to replace massive depletion of housing stock, lumping poorer people together in ghettoes - this isn't that at all, in fact it has replaced something a bit like that.

"I dont think Brockleys housing market would be that closely impacted by the development of this site due to the distance from Brockley/CP stations."

I didn't say it would be?

"Lewisham town centre is always manic busy with people already so not sure how bringing in even more will improve it as oppose to add to the already over-congestion of the area (roads, trains, streets, buses etc...). To improve the retail offer of Lewisham the Council has to (and i hate to say this) bring in the 'right' kind of people who have money to spend."

No, Lewisham is not manic for a major urban centre - it's pretty bleak, other than the brilliant market. The shopping centre is half empty. The streets have few people but many cars. The station is cut off from the shops by a roundabout system.

"With its high percentage of social affordable housing i'm not sure how many big-spenders it will attract to the area. Lets just say that Poundland needn't worry just yet :)"

It has a low proportion of affordable housing, as other critics have been quick to point out.

Anonymous said...

heidi, i agree lewisham needs to attract the "different" type of resident you mention to boost the area, but personally i would settle for something OK, which is what we're getting, than have the council try to create something unique that would be completely out of place in lewisham. if these developments are going up everywhere, i guess you could infer that's because there's a demand for them?

i agree the parade of victorian shops that was demolished had a certain charm and it would have been nice for it to be returned to their former glory, but i also think there's a degree of fantasy-land about the idealisation of those buildings since they went. as much as i liked them, i wouldn't want their presence at that spot to halt the wider development of that area and from what i understand the re-routing of the roads means they had to go. in the wider scope of joining the town centre to the stations, i'm all for that. that is another can of worms though.

Headhunter said...

I have to say that I don't miss what was demolished and this developments looks very smart, if bland, but how will it look in 30-40 years? I hope it gets built with quality materials.

The development is patently aimed at flat dwelling DINKs or MINTs though reinforcing Lewisham Boroughs statues as a dorm borough.

It was a shame that the council felt the need to buy the row of Victorian shops on the other side of the roundabout though after buying it up a few years ago and letting it fall into disrepair. Lewisham BC really has very little regard for architectural history.

Not that Victorian architecture is the height of good taste but in areas like the Brockley conservation area it has aged well.

Brockley Nick said...

As Max has said, that Victorian parade is unconnected to this development - it was knocked down to make way for Lewisham Gateway.

And really - they were OK-ish, but certainly nothing special.

Brockley Nick said...

@HH - agree on materials. But worth pointing out that the commercial space being created is intended to help restore the area's status as a centre for local employment - countering the dorm status effect.

LewishamLovely said...

m - apparently a cinema is planned for the gateway development. well, it's in the plans but it depends on if anyone actually wants to operate a cinema in lewisham.

LewishamLovely said...

Nick - i would give some "props" to the shopping centre. it's not half empty these days. well mothercare and adams are empty (mothercare moved to a bigger store, adams went bust), neither of which was due to lewisham as such.
the temporary hmv store is empty but "under offer" apparently.
it's not perfect but much much better than what it was, they've made a real effort to attract shops us gentrifiers want and tidy it up a bit.

Anonymous said...

Are these going to be Council properties or private with a small percentage given to Housing Associations as a sweetener ?

Blue sky said...

I think that overall, it's a good thing. Whatever one's gripes about the architecture etc, it's a lot better than the council flats that were there before and will surely help to regenerate that area. And I'll have a shiny new swimming pool 4 mins' walk from my house at just the time I'm planning to sell. Happy days. I must say, I do think people get oversentimental about Victorian buildings (Lewisham bridge school excluded as that is actually a lovely school, much nicer than Gordonbrock). Buildings are not great purely by virtue of having been built by the Victorians. I know that from personal experience, having ripped my house apart and seen walls on the pi@s everywhere I look.

Heidi said...

@ Nick

I completely agree, Lewisham is useless for leisure at present, but i would prefer something other than another pool, given we have a fantastic new one just 1 mile away on Deptford Church St and an older one about half a mile away at Ladywell. This is in addition to further flung ones such as Forest Hill etc... A cinema or some other sports facility would be much better.

From what I can see the new development will be high-density, high-rise towers, a relative eyesore given the surrounding area. This is comparable to dominating presence many high-rise developments from the 50s and 60s currently have in our towns and cities. I dont want the council to panic build a disposable building which will date very quickly and be replaced in 50 years in order to meet some target made by Westminster.

I was refering to your bracketed comment at 14:22.

On the contrary a friend of my who works at Lendlease says Lewisham Centre is its best performing centre - trades its socks off apparently and the retailers there are delighted. Not many vacant units left.

From what I can see it will have 25% affordable housing or thereabouts.

Brockley Nick said...

@Heidi - if you're referring to Wavelengths - that's a nice pool for young kids to splash about in, hopeless for actual swimming. Everyone has been crying out for decent swimming facilities (there will also be a gym).

You consider tall buildings an eyesore. I don't. I look out from Lewisham Way towards Deptford and I see two large, high-density projects under construction. One is a tall, slender tower in Deptford, the other is a horizontal slab in Greenwich that blocks pretty much any view of London beyond it. Tall buildings can create much better vistas than fat ones.

Blue sky said...

I agree with Heidi re Lewisham shopping centre. It is always busy when I go there. I don't know about its 'decades-long decline' - it's a very useful centre with quite a few decent shops now. It has definitely imepoved in the last few years. I don't think shops like H&M would have invested there if the outlook was as bleak as Nick made out. Local shopping centres are often a bit scuzzy and I've been in a lot worse than the Lewisham one.

Blue sky said...

Nick, have you been to wavelengths recently? The new 'proper' pool for proper swimming has been open for at least a year and it's lovely!

Heidi said...

@ Nick

Wavelengths opened a new training pool a year or two ago. This is in addition to the kiddie splash pool. Check it out, its one of the best pools I have been to and hardly ever busy.

Lets agree to disagree on that. I consider both to be an eyesore.

Brockley Nick said...

Haven't tried the training pool, I take that back then.

Anonymous said...

Nick - but you won't reconsider your view on the shopping centre?

Brockley Nick said...

Not really, no. It depends on your definition of success. i think people here are setting the bar pretty low. Lendlease making a killing doesn't mean it's a great community resource.

maxink said...

Here's a bit of an enlightening interview with the Shopping Centre Manager (link).

Anonymous said...

Another vote for scuzzyness. No reason why the decents shops can't stay but the center itself looks like east Germany before the wall came down. Agree that poor maintenance can lead to rapid decline bit that's not a reflection on the design itself.

mintness said...

I see the entrance of the shopping centre closest to the rail/DLR station has been tarted up (or rather that long and gloomy corridor you enter from the outside world). It's not much, but it's a start.

I agree the shopping centre isn't a great "community resource" in itself, but it keeps a large number of people in Lewisham who'd otherwise go elsewhere to shop. Surely it's up to the community to make the most of the opportunities that affords.

Anonymous said...

eh? so it's the shoppers fault? Shops sell stuff, that implies that they need to attract shoppers. The environment they operate in is essential.

LewishamLovely said...

"Not really, no. It depends on your definition of success. i think people here are setting the bar pretty low. Lendlease making a killing doesn't mean it's a great community resource."

well, no. but our point has been that it is better than what it was and that you are wrong to dimissively suggest that it is "half empty".

on a similar note to the loampit vale argument, it's not perfect but there's an improvement and it is becoming a better asset to the community. you're right, the bar is set pretty low but consider how much lower it was a couple of years ago.

i'd like to see a bigger improvement, but obviously there's some hefty obstacles to overcome i guess for the owners given the limited space they have, the uncertainty over surrounding developments and the slow pace of improvements in lewisham in general.

what are you suggesting should be done with the shopping centre to bring it up to your standard?

Anonymous said...

nick, take a trip the elephant and castle shopping centre to see a half empty, dingy shopping centre in action. then report back how low you think the bar is in the lewisham centre

occasional shopper said...

I don't think Lewisham shopping centre is that bad either, though it is a bit scuzzy round the edges - nothing a new floor, new lighting and a bit of imagination wouldn't fix. John Lewis are never going to put a store there, but there's a decent selection of high street names, and I enjoy the occasional hunt for bargains at the M&S outlet, at the bedlinen shop (can't remember the name but it sells discounted Cargo Home stuff...), and ridiculously cheap branded toiletries and other household goodies alongside the tat at Poundland! (If you've never been in there, you really should have a look....)

The worst shop by quite some margin is Sainsbury - it's in desperate need of refurbishment. Stepping inside is like going back to the 1980s.

Tim said...

Talking of cinemas- who remembers the Lewisham Odeon on the old car park site, next to the newly-demolished row of Victorian shops.What a beauty!http://www.cinephoto2.co.uk/1b1726820.jpg

occasional shopper said...

PS hear hear re the Elephant and Castle shopping centre. Lewisham shopping centre is well-lit and clean and feels safe - none of which can be said of E&C. There are plenty of shopping centres far worse than ours.

Headhunter said...

Interesting. Sounds like it was a stunner of a cinema.

Headhunter said...

....Another site says The Beatles played there twice in the early 1960s...

LewishamLovely said...

occassional shopper - the sainsburys was tarted up just a couple of years ago. new layout, shalving, lighting, some new flooring.
unfortunately it is just too small, moving around that store is one of the most infuriating experiences i've ever known. trying to find a till without a queue of 20 is even worse!

Anonymous said...

blimey what a moany old bunch you lot are. It's not great but it's not half bad, and let's face it, it's a vast improvement on what was there before.

Lewisham Centre is a sh*thole and anything that can be done to improve it, (and it's surroundings such as this) can only be a big thing.

I dunno, you watch a few episodes of Grand Designs and suddenly you're all architects and understand how buildings work and people live and use them.

Economics aside, there will be plenty of people who will love to live there in years to come.

You're not going to get some low cost, stunning development anywhere, let alone in Lewisham so lower your expectations. And please let's not harp on about Victorian houses long gone, move on and cherish the millions that remain.

Anonymous said...

Brockley Nick said "I guess that the private housing is being built for DINKIES."
Dual Income no kids I assume you mean. Isn't there an excess of such property and not enough for families???

Anonymous said...

Once Lewisham Gateway is built maybe some inspired future Lewisham Council can redevelop Lewisham Centre (near the clock tower) in a vernacular neo-victorian or classical style. Don't say it can't be done. Look at Poundbury or Richmond Riverside buily in 1987 - see here:
http://www.qftarchitects.com/projects/pages/commercial/richmondriverside.php
This would give us a highly attractive centre which people would come from miles around to shop in.
Perhaps I will wake up from this fantasy soon...but let me dream...

Brockley Nick said...

yes, I know E&C - I used to live near there. Its terrible - although there are readers of this site who've in the past lectured me about the wonderful Columbian shops that have made it their home. I say again - "it's better than the E&C" is not setting bar very high.

Anonymous said...

Didn't I read the coloured external panels are based on a system used by the navy to disguise their ships?

Anonymous said...

I know the town centre regeneration is sold as making it easier for pedestrians but it is based round a new road scheme.

The amount of traffic flowing from New Cross will not decrease and will in the future all sweep round into Molesworth Street.

The majority of traffic will turn left into a widened Rennell Street, then left or right towards Blackheath or Lee.

That short stretch will probably involve four sets of traffic lights including pedestrian crossing points.

Because of traffic coming the other way the lights will have to be phased to allow traffic to cross each others path.

Throw in the number of buses taking the same route...the timing of traffic lights will need careful planning.

Look what happens with buses at the lights of Lewis Grove/Lee High Road, it can take almost 10 minutes for buses to negotiate those lights going towards Lewisham station.

One possibility is that Catford bound buses will be re-routed down Molesworth Street?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the existing shopping to me as a non-shopper visually it has improved...although there is a risk of making it look like a bizarre.

Hopefully the new 'pound' shop openned in the centre isn't an omen that it is to go the way of Catford.

I understand the 'New Model' arcade is to be closed down.

If Landlease own the building which houses the probation service, could that be replaced by a tall residential block with retail space at ground level.

This would the beginning of a revamp of the existing shopping centre?

Anonymous said...

I assume there is no risk of a new government pulling the £20m kickback/funding that got the Loampit Vale project underway?

Heidi said...

I think the reason we are complaining about the Loampit Vale development at all is because we have high expectations for Lewisham, not low ones.

Misguided as those expectations may be, a key obstacle to improving the town centre at present is the awful Citibank tower which sits on top of the shopping centre thereby blocking any likely major redevelopment of that site. This is why adding more towers to the town centre at Loampit Vale doesnt seem like a good idea to many. This and the sheer scale of whats being proposed.

Brockley Nick said...

But Heidi, other than the fact that one of the buildings is a similar shape, what have the two developments got in common? Nothing.

Citi is a terribly ugly building, I don't deny that. So too is Guy's Hospital. That doesn't mean the Shard next to it shouldn't get built.

TJ said...

Nick - thats disingenious, this is no Shard. These are fairly standard blocks (apart from the pool) that, off paper, will age quite badly.

Brockley Nick said...

It's not disingenous. I'm not saying that the two things are of equal architectural merit.

I'm saying that Guy's (concrete brutalist hospital) has nothing in common with the Shard (glass, mnodernist hotel, office, residential) building in the same way that Citibank (empty office block on pedestal of giant car park) has nothing in common with Loampit Vale (8 building residential masterplan).

it's disingenous to have compared Citi to Loampit Vale in the first place.

NXG_Resident said...

@ Nick

You're right about the nasty slab of a residential high rise in Greenwich.

It has completely ruined the area and views around the beautiful Laban centre - arguably Deptford's greatest asset.

This is why people are incredibly worried about high rise development encroaching low-rise, suburban areas. People don't want to live in the shade of a densely populated wind tunnel.

Brockley/Deptford/New Cross has a lot of unused land which should be use for green space, schools and low rise homes...not monolithic messes.

Brockley Nick said...

@NXG - well this isn't monolithic, it provides green space and homes as well as community resources. So nearly fits your brief, except for the low rise bit.

Brockley Nick said...

By the way, I'm happy to be persuaded this is a poor development. Brockley Kate made some good arguments against it in the last thread about this development.

But "it's the same shape as citibank" is not a good argument (or true).

Anonymous said...

the thing i am most flabbergasted about is that a development in lewisham town centre is actually going ahead

Brockley Nick said...

Quite!

LewishamLovely said...

anon @ 07:16

i think the diversion of all catford-bound buses that currently turn into lewis grove then along the high street should be diverted permanantly along molesworth street. why exactly do hundreds of buses have to trundle along the middle of the town centre any way? it should be a people-friednly area. i'm for pedestrianising those two streets. if people want to get the bus, surely they can go to either side of the pedestrianised areas, or through the shopping centre to a new, specially built row of bus stops on molesworth street.

i once suggested this to heidi alexander when she was deputy mayor, who then sugested it to the relevant department in the council to look at as part of the upcoming re-alignment of town centre roads. they dismissed it. as always, the motor vehicle rules in lewisham.

Heidi said...

Building more and more homes seems to be the ultimate goal of the Council regardless of the areas already over-crowded transport infrastructure. They seem intent on building endless homes homes and more homes with little signs of anything else.

I read in the Newshopper that the new pool in Loampit Vale will replace the Ladywell pool. The Council intends to close Ladywell pool and convert the site into yet more housing. So while South Lewisham (Ladywell/Catford) residents lose their pool a second one is built in North Lewisham just a mile from the brand new one in Deptford. Whilst the relocation distances arent massive its the logic which frustrates. Ultimately the net net affect of the Loampit Vale development therefore is that we dont actually gain an additional pool at all (just a newer and smaller one) so its effectively a 100% resi development with a couple of corner shops. The park which is there is perfect for the homes already constructed but will be dwarfed by the new buildings and seem tiny by comparison.

In 1977 when the Citibank Tower was constructed, (the Riverdale Centre) I am sure it was deemed a wonderful addition to the area. Yet since then its unsympathetic dominant size compared with the surrounding town centre has switched perceptions and it is now regarded as an eyesore. In that respect I predict the Loampit Vale development will follow suit. It is massive compared to anything around it and the design isn't particularly special enough to help it stand the test of time. All my personal opinion of course :)

Brockley Nick said...

Lewisham's public transport infrastructure is excellent. Probably the best in SE London. They have just expanded the capacity of the DLR by 50%.

Where you have good public transport infrastructure, you encourage density. That's how urban planning works. Please show me a major transport hub in London that is as low-density as Lewisham is currently?

Anonymous said...

the infrastrucure may be there, but surely capacity will be an issue if/when loampit vale, the gateway and thurston road developments are all fully occupied.

icing on the cake would be a bakerloo extension, but surely that extremely unlikely now in the current environment

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - agreed.

Heidi said...

Lewisham has one mainline train station and one DLR station, both of which are largely used by people to switch between the two services. Most commuters from Kent heading to Canary Wharf etc... never step foot outside the station. I am not sure what percentage of station traffic is driven by local demand. One mainline and one DLR station is by no means an amazing transport offer compared with many other areas of London.

The buses are also an important link of course however from what I can see bus routes dont usually create massive population shifts in London.

Plenty of places have better transport connections than Lewisham and have not chosen the high-rise route which is being forced on us. Ones that spring to mind are Richmond (Overground, Mainline and Underground services all connect here) and in SE London Beckenham has excellent transport connections without the high-rise cramming of people. I dont know Clapham well but I dont recall seeing too many towers there either actually but I may be wrong?

Monkeyboy said...

Of course some have complained that a station at Surrey canal road would be a waste of money because there isn't the demand. Transport/demand/more demand.... That's how it works. You could plausably argue that developing lewisham strengthens the business case for a Bakerloo line extension.

By the way now that joan ruddock has some time on her hands I'll be writing to her regarding the surey canal rd debacle. She may be greasy pole climber but she knows her way around whitehall so we should make her earn her living. Only takes five mins to send an email and she's replied to me a couple of times on other issues - bakerloo line worth a punt if nothing else.

Mb said...

... Should have read transport/demand/more transport...

Headhunter said...

"I'm saying that Guy's (concrete brutalist hospital) has nothing in common with the Shard (glass, mnodernist hotel, office, residential) building in the same way that Citibank (empty office block on pedestal of giant car park) has nothing in common with Loampit Vale (8 building residential masterplan).

it's disingenous to have compared Citi to Loampit Vale in the first place."

I'm not entirely against this development if it's done well, I'm not even necessarily against tall buildings in this spot as long as they're done well. it's not as if Lewisham has a historic skyline to protect or anything. However I think it is relevant to compare the Citibank building to this development. I'm sure that buildings like Citibank in Lewisham and Guy's hospital brutalist architecture were considered the height of modernism and cutting edge architecture in their time. Unfortunately tastes have changed and they've both aged pretty badly and I just hope that this new development doesn't end up as vilified in decades to come.

Whether or not you're a fan of Victorian architecture, you surely have to admit that 150ish years on, buildings in the Brockley conservation area for example have aged gracefully and still look good, even the ones that have become slightly dilapidated have an air of majesty with steps to enormous doorways, pillars, tall windows and classical detailing.

Of course on the other hand you could argue that Guy's is a wonderful example of the brutalist style that should be preserved and we may find that in decades to come, once many of these buildings have been demolished, that there are moves to protect remaining examples...

Anonymous said...

A rather obvious point....... The ugly or poor quality Victorian buildings that were no doubt built may well have been pulled down years ago. In before building regulations were introduced building regularly fell down on their own. There is nothing magic about 'old', the Victorians were just as capable of building shoddy developments.

Headhunter said...

Of course the Victorians produced shoddy structures in places. In fact many Victorian built houses were considered relatively temporary structures at the time they were built, thrown up hurriedly to quench the need to house the massively growing city populations as people rushed from rural to urban areas. Victorian builders did not expect what they were building to be retained for over 100 years! Anyway, personally I prefer Georgian architecture over Victorian, any day. Give me the delicate uniformity of the Edinburgh New Town style over the clunkier Victorian efforts across London.

However it has to be said that, building quality aside, on a pure aesthetic level, Victorian buildings made of brick and stone have weathered well and gracefully. Not sure the same can be said for concrete structures of the post war years and it remains to be seen how the glass boxes thrown up these days will work out in decades to come.

drakefell debaser said...

Heidi, I can’t see why you are trying to draw comparisons between Lewisham and Richmond (zone 4) / Beckenham (zone 6). These places are further out and their populations are smaller:

Lewisham – 250K
Beckenham – 100K
Richmond – 182K

Give or take.

Smaller populations equate to a smaller housing demand so less pressure to build upwards.

Heidi said...

@ drakefell debaser

Nick asked for an example of "a major transport hub in London that is as low-density as Lewisham is currently?"

I was not looking for places with populations higher then Lewishams as opposed to London transport hubs which are low-density. If you want an example though how about Clapham; given you are quoting Borough populations Claphams is 272,000, more than Lewisham. It is also in Zone 2.

I am not au fait with most of North London and indeed a lot of South but Lewisham is not unique in its transport importance yet most other areas avoid going high-rise like the plague.

drakefell debaser said...

Ok, but Clapham has its fair share of high rise, both council 60's blocks and new build developments. These are particularly prevalent around Clapham Junction which is the major transport hub in that area.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, Clapham is a far more dense and busy centre than Lewisham.

Anonymous said...

A new bus station is to be built on the old travellers site.....but isn't it smaller than the present bus station?

Anonymous said...

The centre of Lewisham will end up with a cluster of 20 storey towers, add the existing three 17 storey tower blocks opposite the hospital and Ladywell pool could be ideal for another tall building?

Travelling onto Catford there is already Capital House and Eros House, will Milford Tower be replaced by a 20 storey building and would the 'dog track' go for high rise as well?

Anonymous said...

And the Chairman of the planning committee who's casting vote granted planning perimission, has now been nominated as Cabinet member for regeneration.

Anonymous said...

Its about time regeneration is happening in Lewisham, the building is modern and fresh, hopefully it will draw people from better classes to the area. Brockley and Lewisham both suffer from poor attitudes of locals, social issues will always be of concern, change welcomes more change and I look forward to the future of living in the area.

Anonymous said...

better class???!!!

Monkeyboy said...

Erm, yeah. Thanks for the input, let's hope we get some minor royalty or some dukes moving in. They love a bit if stainless steel and glass and hardly ever shoplift. I always new that the problem in the inner cities are a result of the low breeding of the residents. You said the unsatable and should be saluted, instead some may call you an utter tool.

Anonymous said...

I dare say the servant problem will remain as intractable as ever. Where DOES one find a really reliable footman?

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