Death takes a holiday: New restaurant planned for Brockley Road


It appears the church that set up shop in St Cyprien's Church on Brockley Road was only a short-term tennant. The owners have made an application to completely redevelop the building as a restaurant, office and residential space.


Reader Bronwyn spotted the following planning submission:

Demolition of existing church hall and ancillary buildings, with retention of facade at St Cyprians Hall Brockley Road SE4 and the construction of a four storey building to provide a restaurant (Use Class A3) and office (Use Class A2) on the ground floor, together with 3 one bedroom and 5 two bedroom self-contained flats and 1 two bedroom self-contained maisonette.

When the building was sold at auction, it seemed that the new owners had secured a good deal and might have deep enough pockets to do something significant. Then the Church moved in. However, this application signals that the original assumptions were correct.

The plans could be transformative for this stretch of Brockley Road, which is currently dominated by funeral homes, raising it from the dead and giving midtown Brockley new life by deathmasking the building - keeping the historic facade but ripping out its rotting guts. The building is in terrible condition, requiring a major overhaul before it can be used properly.

The historic front will be retained but will have a new four-storey backdrop. The development is on a corner site, meaning that Braxfield Road will also be significantly altered by the addition of a four storey residential block with an effective Grim Reaper colour-scheme thanks to the anthracite zinc cladding and dark blue brickwork. A roof garden will also be created for residents.

74 comments:

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Looks pretty good to me.

Shame they have kept that awful Church Front which is way pasat its sell by date in my opinion.

Danja said...

The architect has clearly never handled the expanded metal lathing he wants to make the balcony railings from - it has razor sharp edges and would lacerate anyone who knocked into it.

Phil McCavitty said...

Finally, some interesting news:)...

Anonymous said...

More restaurants-yeah!

M said...

Excellent news. Bring on the Pizza Express! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, For restaurants read Southern Fried Chicken with 6 six seats.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what happened in the Glasshouse auction on mantle road?

Planning Pedant said...

Southern Fried Anon please look at the plans.

The floor area is more akin to the Barge than Gulen's Kebab shop.

Large shopping centre McDonlad's more likely

Anonymous said...

where can you see the plans?

urbansurgery said...

No objection in principle. The only architectural comment i would make is that the scheme to the high street seems overly deferential to the church gable. If there were any need for sensitivity and setting back from the street face in this development then I should have liked to see it to Braxfield instead.

Nevertheless a welcome addition. Though would have liked to see the scheme developed as serviced office space for startups, but i'll have to keep that pipe dream for another site another day.

Moron said...

yeah, forget the church, who does it think it is having a building in a high street, resturants rule,blah rah rah.,.

Danja said...

Good choice of name, Moron.

Are you a god-botherer, then?

Monkeyboy said...

Who could have meant Mormon?

Paddyom said...

Gosh I hope its not a cottage chicken type of kip. A decent restaurant would be nice, even a chainy one.

Danja said...

As Planning Pedant said, it's too big for that - barn of a place - 540m2

just passing said...

Only skimmed the docs, does it not say restaurant OR shop?

Overall though it looks OK? certainly would be an improvement and not too intrusive.

Anonymous said...

An Orchard style place in Brockley midtown would be welcome.

Brockley Jon said...

My money's on Prezzo. They go for old buildings, Wetherspoon-style.

Uwally said...

Good spot Danja, you really a wit aren't you?

Jesus H Christ said...

Garlic bread, it's the future.....

The Oracle said...

Owned by a Jersey registered company.

Anonymous said...

excellent news, hope it happens, we could do with another decent reliable restaurant

mintness said...

Fingers crossed for something decent. There's a terrific church conversion Loch Fyne near my parents' place in Newcastle. Not that I expect we'll get anything like that around here, but it goes to show what *can* be done, at least!

Brockley Nick said...

@Mintness - I've been there too and was thinking exactly the same.

Anonymous said...

very good, very good indeed!!

lb said...

It's a bit odd that they bothered keeping the church facade, which has no distinguishing features whatsoever. It would have made more sense to sod the facade and concentrate on preserving the same window heights as the flanking buildings, something the section at the back completely fails to do.

Aside from that I kind of agree with urbansurgery: we need more offices, business space and places where people would work during a weekday. How many restaurants does an area need?

Brockley Nick said...

We hardly have any restaurant spaces!

The Orchard, La Lanterna (assuming it reopens), Meze Mangal...

That's about it! The area definitely could do with more restaurant space.

And there is an office in there too.

lb said...

Well, I regularly go to Meze Mangal, the Thai place Smile; there's also the Orchard, Masons a short and pleasant walk away, Babur and Le Querce a slightly longer but still pleasant walk. These are all the 'local' places I might need, frankly, given that London's just up the road. I just don't really feel that more restaurants are an absolute priority, that's all. Unless one's the sort of person who never cooks.

Brockley Nick said...

Babur and Le Querce are both Honor Oak, Mason's is Ladywell. Smiles is lovely but tiny. These are good places but more restaurants will play a really important role in turning Brockley Road into a successful high street.

I'm not sure anyone said a restaurant would be an "absolute priority". The good restaurants we have are very well used. There is clearly demand.

Anonymous said...

Restaurants are better than funeral homes... one can use them more than once!!

Sue said...

I don't think St Cyprian's Hall is an architectural masterpiece, but it is an important, historic local building that personally I would be loathe to see disappear entirely, so I'm glad the proposals incorporate the frontage. I'm assuming they involve bringing the currently bricked up front entrances back into use as part of the new building? It could look great, and will create the 'active street frontage' LBL planning policy professes to encourage.

I'm also pleased that the plans don't involve demolishing the lovely funeral parlour on the corner of Braxfield Road, which I always think is one of the best preserved and maintained shops on Brockley Road.

I've got mixed feelings about the loss of community space - I understand the original building was paid for by public subscription, and the fact that the Catholic Church have made a tidy sum selling off what was once a well-used church hall does leave a bad taste in the mouth. On the other hand, it would have been difficult to find someone willing to invest the money needed to repair the hall, and we have a much better-equipped community facility just down the road at St Andrew's.

As for the standard of the housing proposed, only aiming to reach level 3 in the Code for Sustainable Homes though is not good enough - 4 is the absolute minimum LBL should be accepting, and pushing for 5 or 6. However, given that the application includes proposals for living roofs, solar thermal, some rainwater recycling, a commitment to using FSC-certified timber and a communal composting facility, which is all good stuff, I would hope that the planning officer will nail down some of the details with the applicants and persuade them to go for level 4.

I'm also pleased that they're proposing to use London stock brick, rather than the cheapy white render we seem to be getting everywhere else at the moment.

I note that the number of housing units proposed is nine - so the developer will probably avoid having to provide any social housing, which kicks in at 10 units or more.

Hutch said...

Don't forget Cinnamon on Upper Brockley Rd. Many a happy Sunday night wandering over there, down the quietly sleeping Manor Avenue, and then a regular encounter with the Beast of Brockley on Upper Brockley Rd.

Hutch said...

@Sue - Code 4 ain't in the adopted London Plan yet. Lewisham can't legally require it.

lb said...

"more restaurants will play a really important role in turning Brockley Road into a successful high street"

I'm sceptical about the value of this in the long run. The planning authority of the market town I grew up some miles outside of took the view that, strategically speaking, they should encourage retail and other businesses to relocate to purpose-built developments and turn over the old centre to A3 use. Of course, what's happened is that the town centre is a wasteland during the hours of daylight.

Aside from that, I think Brockley should aim to be a bit different to, say, East Dulwich.

I don't get resturantophiles said...

Food is so easy to cook and prepare.

Monkeyboy said...

eh? opening a bottle of wine at home is even easier but people go to pubs and bars to socialise and be with other people who socialise. It's what primates do..although Homo Sapiens no longer throw their own excrement at each other, mostley.

I still don't get resturantophiles said...

you don't resturant to eat & socialise.

Brockley Nick said...

Have you ever been to a restaurant and enjoyed it? If so, end of discussion. If not, perhaps you should try it.

The "restaurantophiles" category applies to about 99% of the population.

Monkeyboy said...

oh? I do.

Aricana said...

This is great news for someone like me, who spends most weekends in Brockley, doesn't cook and loves to eat with friends.

Fingers crossed it won't take as long to finish as the east london line..don't know if i could wait that long again!

lb said...

Y'see, if I suddenly managed to assume the identity and funds of a successful developer, what I'd do is to retain the shell of the existing church hall - which should placate the local conservation types - reroof in glass, and to the rear build some units for the sort of craftsmen, designers and artisans that people always talk about attracting to the area. You could then use the hall itself as an inexpensive (and convenient - no transport costs) 'shopfront' for the products of the said artisans, with stalls. In the evening, the hall could be reconfigured as a space for music or even for eating / drinking, so you could still get in your A3 use if you wanted, with a guarantee of certain evenings set aside for 'community' events.

Of course, it would never turn a substantial enough profit to justify the investment in the redevelopment cost, which is why no successful developer would bother. Still, it's an interesting speculation as to what could happen if building land hadn't become so absurdly expensive in this country.

Anonymous said...

A food market would be lovely, but probably not enough to attract a crowd outside Brockley.

Brockley Nick said...

@LB - that would be nice.

lb said...

I meant things like well-designed furniture, quality art, glassware, ceramics etc. Things people might travel to look at. Saves the makers on keeping up a full shopfront. Incidentally, when I say 'art', I mean something a bit better than the photographs of Banksy murals, cushions or whatever that you get in most 'art' markets.

lb said...

@nick - yeah, it would be nice, and I think it would even work, sustainably, but the initial development cost makes it a pipe dream, sadly...

It's a pity you weren't able to locate your own shop in Brockley.

bronwyn said...

Any views on whether the 'restaurant' space might attract the attention of Tesco or similar? The size is about right. Thought it might be difficult to shoehorn into their carbon-zero-by-2050 approach.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to have a gym, swimming poll etc in the area

Anonymous said...

btw they aren't planning to use London stock but a smooth brick in battleship grey combined with zinc cladding (p24 of the Design and Access statement)

mid-towner said...

I suspect once you replace the blue doors and unbrick the door/window in the middle it could look very attractive.

It might encourage a bit more sprucing up of commercial properties further along that stretch, which are very unprepossessing at the moment.

An exciting development though I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much....

Anonymous said...

Spike Milligan used to play Jazz in this hall.

It shouldn't be demolished.

Anonymous said...

ok so they keep the facade. that is good.

Tamsin said...

Battleship grey bricks sound horrid. If they are taking so much care elsewhere they should use London stock.

Lovely pipe-dream, LB. Although maybe the ARthouse on Lewisham Way is part way there... The problem is personnel and shared space, the re-configuring of the shop/market into restaurant/wine bar would need a manager attached to neither but it is a thought definitely worth having.

Anonymous said...

'Spike Milligan used to play Jazz in this hall.

It shouldn't be demolished.'

That is not much of a reason.

Brockley Nick said...

The Goon Show wasn't funny - knock it down!

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Then neither was Monty Python.

I think they both were funny, but the hall should still be demolished.

Keep old things if they have merit. This hasn't any.

Tamsin said...

Age and familiarity create a certain intrinsic merit. Things should not be knocked down for the sake of it. What replaces it, if it is knocked down, would have to be very good - frankly unlikely, in my view.

(Passing Ladywell this morning - with the machines now eating into the Adhesives building. Weep, weep...)

Brockley Nick said...

Age has not been kind to the hall - it's a wreck. And as for familiarity - I doubt more than a handful of BCers have set foot in it. The front in its current state is nothing special, but I imagine you could make something decent of it.

I think the proposal to keep the front but demolish the rest is a fine balance.

Tamsin said...

Yes, on "familiarity" I was only talking about the frontage that has been looking all of us in the face as we come down Adelaide Avenue for as long as we've lived in the area. Agree the current proposal of just keeping that is the perfect compromise.

Anonymous said...

Well, it may be familar, but the frontage has long been an eyesore.

If they improved it a bit, brought it up to the standard of the undertakers next door, then maybe.

I wonder if they are going to build upwards to the same height as the adjacent buildings and simply keep the frontage like some kind of conservation figleaf.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, the elevations show that that is exactly what they plan to do. Except that the taller building will be set back a bit further from the road.

I think it's appropriate that the building should be the same height as the rest of the buildings on that stretch.

Ed said...

I am struggling to see how this will work as a restaurant at that location; if I were the likes of PE I'd wait/look elsewhere so expect a private, in which case it will have to be excellent to survive. Bubble burst.

lb said...

I don't mind the grey brick too much; stock brick is insipid-looking stuff, and before it's had a good fifty years of weathering looks even worse.

mid-towner said...

Haven't looked at the plans - where will this grey brick be visible?

Q said...

I agree with Ib. I'm really uninspired by London stock brick on new build. I don't care if they knock the whole lot down, depending on what they put back in its place - but not London stock, please. Whatever the developer plans, another restaurant is most welcome.

Elder Jacob said...

I think we should ban and remove all London stock from London.

Anonymous said...

loss of cummunity space is not a good thing...

Brockley Nick said...

It's not community space, it's a derelict church.

Q said...

Isn't a superb new restaurant 'community space'?

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, although you could argue that it may be price prohibitive for a section of local people. Of course, a church is theologically prohibitive for a much bigger proportion of people...

Paddyom said...

Upon hearing of the restuarant everyone seems to believe its going to be a mid to high end sit down type place. Couldnt it end up being a Maccas or BK or is that a different zone class?

Anonymous said...

There is a pecking order in fast food franchises. Not neccessarily to do with quality, but how much the owner has to pay for the franchise. It is a lot of money every year. So they need a constant stream of undiscerning customers to turn a profit. So they tend to be in rail stations, entertainment areas or in shopping areas.

There is also the wonderful example of the Guys hospital that has its very own MacDonalds restaurant. Maybe a case arteries lined in one part of the building and cleaned out in another.

Not sure what sort of restaurant would fit in the space avaiable in this development. One thing I have noticed is that most of the restaurants around here have very small kitchens and so can hardly handle any sort of volume. Long waits during busy periods does not make for happy customers, ni matter how twee the restaurant.

Monkeyboy said...

Healthy food and good restaurants are not necessarily the same thing. Nothing wrong with the occasional animal fat binge. Pate anyone?

Ehram said...

My money is on a Prezzo restaurant making an appearance. Provided there isn't one in the area already. That or a chain pub of sorts...

jackieboo said...

I used to go to Sunday school here in the 60's, fond memories and know Spike Milligan used to go there too. :)

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