La Lanterna update

In addition to letting us know about work on the Crown & Sceptre, Rob from the Brockley Society has also provided an update on La Lanterna, where work on the restaurant refurbishment has stalled. He reports:

I met up with the owner a couple of months ago. He showed be around the building. The hotel element was nearly complete – in so far as the walls were plastered, and ready for painting. The quality of the work looked fairly good.

He told me that they had came across some serious structural problems, which needed rectifying. I discussed the outside appearance of the shop front with him, and his foreman. He agreed that he would remove the fauxballustrading (which he has done), and the odd pediment relief.

His foreman agreed that they can reuse elements of the triangular shape to rebuild it as a rectangular sign. As far as I am aware, Lewisham’s Planning and Enforcement have not been involved with this issue.

So, the most contentious features of the new restaurant have been dealt with, but no news yet on the new completion date. We hope to bring you more in due course.

61 comments:

lb said...

I stayed well away from the last thread on the subject.

BrockleyBiker said...

I saw the old psychotic looking fibreglass chef that used to stand at first floor the other day. He has now joined fellow fibre glass models at Aladdin's cave.

Anonymous said...

One wonders what kind of hotel will trade here.

Aspersion Soup said...

Does one?

You never know, it might be good. Best wait and see eh.

elsiemaud boy said...

I'm suprised Lewisham's planning dept hasn't been in touch with them - as I know several people who contacted them - maybe this does back up what HH was saying? Rob - does Lewisham planning know of your visits and is this why they haven't followed up?

TJ(O) said...

Lewisham Planing dept is actually getting back to me today on this one - I'll post the reply when I get it.

Anonymous said...

Aspersion Soup - don't be ridiculous, it won't be good, it's on the Brockley road. Hardly going to appear in Mr and Mrs Smith.

Aspersion Soup said...

Aspersion Soup - don't be ridiculous, it won't be good, it's on the Brockley road. Hardly going to appear in Mr and Mrs Smith.

If you say so. Personally I would rather give it a chance than jump to a conclusion now. I'm odd like that.

lb said...

Given that quite a few people on this site seemed to quite like the commercial frontage, I'm again a bit surprised that the Brockley Society thinks it has the authority to walk in and instruct business owners what to do.

If there's been a clear breach of conservation area guidelines (and I maintain that applying these to the shopping area is of questionable value anyway) the Council should be notified, to evaluate and deal with it, if it can be dealt with. They are, after all, the professionals.

Its a shame said...

LB - there has been a clear breach, and the council are looking at it. See TJ's mail and the previous thread on this.

Whether you like it or not - there are conservation area guidelines - this is WHY it is called a conservation area - and just letting it slip away shop by shop, property by porperty, is ridiculous.

Why do you live in the conservation area? What attracts you to it? Or do you not live in the area and think it should be allowed to degenerate? It would be interesting to know.

I'm also sure the owner of La Lanterna is glad that someone let him know - before he continued with the refit and had to pull the whole lot down when the council got around to enforcing it.

Brockley Jon said...

Frontage aside, I wish them all the best with the business. Seems to me that there is a need for it - can't think of any other hotels in Brockley? Assume there must be a couple of B&Bs hidden in the conservation area.

While it might not be in the most attractive area, if it's nice and clean inside, and has decent double glazing, they could be on to a very good thing.

Anonymous said...

Aspersion soup. I'm not jumping to conclusions though am I. I know enough already to make a good judgement call. The hotel is located on a horrible stretch of main road, is situated above a restaurant, is small, and has mock Italian (but kind of Grecian also) frontage. Your standards are probably lower than mine but it's not he kind of establishment that I can imagine ever booking.

HappyBrockers said...

I think it will be great to have a hotel in the area.
We've only got a one bedroomed flat, and this may give an alternative to Greenwich, to any visitors that come and see us.

Paddyom said...

A hotel is deffo lacking in the area, many people (me included) live in flats and having more than 2 friends to visit can be a pain.

I cant help but think, having experienced the former restaurant, that this will be a bit of a faulty towers outfit. That frontage looks like it was knocked up with cheap MDF and the balustrade was just criminal. Good luck to them though - hope it works out!

Aspersion Soup said...

Anonymous, yes, you are jumping to conclusions.

As an example, after The Aquarium came The Orchard. Now, it could have been very easy to sit at ones keyboard and type out a disparaging comment based on The Aquarium, and its various guises, and second guess that The Orchard would be also be shit. The Orchard as we know is brilliant.

As to my standards, you will never know, and there is no need to be nasty.

lb said...

See, this is why I stayed away from the previous thread.

It's a shame:

"there has been a clear breach, and the council are looking at it. See TJ's mail and the previous thread on this."

Well, if there's been a clear breach and the council are investigating, why are the Brockley Society wandering in and informally 'agreeing' with the owner to remove certain bits? What if the owner thinks he's complied with his permission by virtue of agreement with this unofficial body? Who exactly are the Brockley Society claiming to represent in doing this? It's all very muddled, frankly.

"Whether you like it or not - there are conservation area guidelines - this is WHY it is called a conservation area"

I'd never have guessed. As for "letting it slip away shop by shop", it's this kind of issue that in my view made it a short-sighted decision to extend the conservation area as far as the shops.

"Why do you live in the conservation area? What attracts you to it? Or do you not live in the area and think it should be allowed to degenerate?"

I do live in the area and don't feel it should be allowed to "degenerate", it's just I think it's possible to take the idea of 'conservation' too far in urban areas. You have to pragmatically balance it with development flexibility. The Brockley Society, for example, has several times argued in favour of 'pastiche' design, something I find both inflexible in a planning sense and dishonest in a design sense.

don't make me laugh said...

..and 'pragmatically balancing conservation with design flexibility' is to let someone erect a neo-classical mdf edifice with juliet balcony in complete disregard to the planning permission they were given?

Looks like the only 'muddled' thing here is your sense of design for a Victorian street and not the activities of the Brockley Society (which fall well within their remit...

Anonymous said...

Aspersion soup - there is one key distinction I'd make though with your example. The Aquarium and the Orchard had different owners. La Lanterna hasn't changed hands - it's the same owner. I still don't think this has any of the early signs of making a decent hotel. I would love to be proved wrong but my instinct and early evidence is telling me I'm right.

Anonymous said...

It's next door to a fucXXing kebab house for christ-sakes.

monkeyboy said...

yes, next door to a kebab house. It will no doubt be inexpensive as it's on a inner city shopping street. why is that an issue? Should hotels be banned if they're less than 50 quid a night? If I was a young grad visiting london and perhaps wanted to avoid a hostel, which lets face it are a pain in the arse, it could be ideal. I've done it the other way round when visiting europe.

Bumbags said...

I couldn't see anything wrong with the frontage they were building- it had character, and marked it out as a 'one-off' local business. How anyone can consider that worse than a huge plastic lit-up City Noodles/Gulen/Costcutter frontage I can't understand. La Lanterna isn't exactly in an area of outstanding beauty! I agree with lb that the conservation area guidelines seem silly when applied to this row of ugly, scruffy, low-end shops. Not sure anything there warrants 'conserving'. Also agree that going in throwing weight around with the owner is questionable- I can't see a mandate there, legal or moral. It comes down to taste, and I'm not sure Broc Soc should feel it has the last word in this. Some could say the Broca looks like a shabby student dive, others think it charming and quirky. Surely keeping a local and villagey feel to our businesses should be encouraged. I therefore would have welcomed the quirky, kitsch Italian frontage.

Anonymous said...

How do you know it will be less than 50 quid a night?

lb said...

"..and 'pragmatically balancing conservation with design flexibility' is to let someone erect a neo-classical mdf edifice with juliet balcony in complete disregard to the planning permission they were given?
"

What the decision notice said was that the roof area couldn't be used as a balcony or roof garden. It didn't say anything about not putting a railing along it. The only other stipulation was regarding illuminated signs, which require separate permission. The mdf stuff is, frankly, just a particular treatment of the signage at the front. The Brockley Society are as I understand it supposed to review planning applications, not go around striking private agreements with developers based on what they subjectively consider "appropriate".

My "sense of design for a Victorian street"? What, a "Victorian street" with lorries passing down it, a large Costcutters, any number of illuminated signs and a kebab shop? Don't make me laugh indeed.

Monkeyboy said...

I don't. Still don't know why it merits the outrage. If it's not good enough to attract guests for the price it will charge it will fold.

Anonymous said...

Well sure - there's no outrage from me, simply a prediction that the hotel will not end up being be somewhere I'll be recommending for my family and friends. But like I've already said, I'd loved to be proved wrong. Doubt that will happen though in this instance.

lb said...

As for the hotel, Brockley isn't exactly the sort of area where you might get rooms rented by the hour, so I think people's worst fears are just that: fears. I just hope the soundproofing is good on that road.

Ed said...

I'm very please someone has done something about that frontage; it was horrible before so hopes were high when building started only for it to start looking like a mouldy Lidl wedding cake.

qbf said...

I don't think you can assume that it's going to be sh*t just because it's under the same ownership and is on Brockley Road.

It's quite surprising that Brockley has no hotel/B&B accommodation at all at the moment, and it would be a definite boon if we had somewhere local into which our visitors could overspill when necessary. Let's hope the opportunity isn't missed. As for location, plenty of Travelodges are in far more unprepossessing places.

Brockley Kiwi said...

I'm with lb and bumbags on this one. Whether an individual or a group have a polarised love or hatred of the facade is not the issue. Expressing an opinion is everyones right but to impose your view with unilateral action without being consultative and collaborative with is just asking for trouble. The problem is that the proponents of the concensus solution are often apathetic as well as pragmatic (like me).

M said...

There is already a B&B in Brockley (St.James) and one in Telegraph Hill (Pepys Rd).
Also Graham recently told me Mr.Lawrence will soon have rooms available above the bar and shop.

Anonymous said...

Lb - just because costcutters and the others have 'got away' with their signage doesn't mean that we should let everyone. A refurbishment, or a business changing hands is the best time to enusre that the guidelines are adhered to - and therefore the street will gradually regain its character. Other recently opened businesses - Pavillion, the Brockley Holistic - have kept to the guidelines. I'd expect when the others change hands, Broc Soc will be just as interested in the signage and the outfit.

You quoted the plans - if you look carefully the owners have to provide drawings of front elevations - these are part of the approval. The drawings La Lanterna provided are not the same as what they are building.It is not even in question whether La Lanterna has breached their planning permission - the council are following it up because they have.

Finally - it is a Victorian street - take a look at the architecture - and you make me laugh when you mentino the kebab shop - how is that relevant? Can only streets with Delis and boutiques be kept nice?

Kebab said...

@Bumbags

Two issues with your poor logic:

1) Why didn't they make a planning application with the greek facade? What you are saying would make sense only if they had.

2) Yes the high street is rubbish. So the point is that any new renovation will be asked to improve the facade. In fact the same was requested of 169 and 171 in their recent applicatio.

So including the real estate agent at 167 it means that in a not so distant future 4 shop fronts on the same parade are improved with similar standards.

Hopefully the rest will follow soon, as I do not recall any commecial high street rule that suggests that crappy shop fronts are good for business.

Personally I like kebabs and used to eat a lot of them in my earlier life. I have to say that I would never enter the place at 175. It looks dirty and a perfect place to get salmonella.

So there you go, a potential customer that may reconsider spending his money if they refurbished and cleaned up the place in cluding their crappy facade.

Kung Fu Hustle said...

Kebab - totally agree with the below: @Bumbag
Two issues with your poor logic:

1) Why didn't they make a planning application with the greek facade? What you are saying would make sense only if they had.

2) Yes the high street is rubbish. So the point is that any new renovation will be asked to improve the facade. In fact the same was requested of 169 and 171 in their recent applicatio.

So including the real estate agent at 167 it means that in a not so distant future 4 shop fronts on the same parade are improved with similar standards.

Hopefully the rest will follow soon, as I do not recall any commecial high street rule that suggests that crappy shop fronts are good for business.

But the Kebab place is clean and safe!

Monkeyboy said...

I've bought a few shish kebabs there and, for what its worth, have not fallen victim to any kind of toilet based scenario.

Not sure what the deal is with the wine bar though, most odd.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bumbags said...

@Kebab and Kung-Fu Hustle
As it's an Italian restaurant, I think he's going for Roman, not Greek. If you want to be pedantic, let's call it Greco-Roman. All the shapes he used can be found in Italian architecture.
"Yes the high street is rubbish. So the point is that any new renovation will be asked to improve the facade. In fact the same was requested of 169 and 171 in their recent applicatio."
This was my point- IMPROVEMENT is subjective. I think this would have been an improvement to a row of scruffy, dull shops with very little imagination used in their design. I think Lanterna is one of the more interesting frontages. PERSONALLY I would rather a row of traditional wooden-fronted old-fashioned shops, with carefully selected paint colour restrictions to make my own mini-Cotswolds village high street. BUT I'm not trying to impose this on anyone, or announce it's what should happen.
Btw, I am not slagging off the kebab shop. Unlike you, I have eaten kebabs from there quite a few times, and they were fine.

Reg said...

I think the council planning people should be applauded. They do react quickly when they know abuses are taking place. And I fully agree that the best way to regrow a high street is through planning applications. It may take time but well worth the effort.
On another note... why do some of you have to be so nasty?

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Can we have a thread debating which is the best "take away" Kebab shop locally?
Excluding Meze Mangal which is of course (container excepted)the best sit down Kebab restaurant in the area.

I use Gulen (Brockley) Ladywell (Ladywell) or Tasty (New Cross) depending on which direction (pub) I am coming from. All fairly similar but perhaps Tasty would edge it if I had to choose.

Other nominations?

Oh yes Tyrwhitt Td definitely Tyrwhitt Toad hence toad's mouth too - or something - another thread anyway and now I am rambling or for those with a long memory - bimbling.

Monkeyboy said...

TM, we talking shish or elephants leg? I use Gulen for an perfectly acceptable shish.

Kung Fu Hustle said...

"PERSONALLY I would rather a row of traditional wooden-fronted old-fashioned shops, with carefully selected paint colour restrictions to make my own mini-Cotswolds village high street. BUT I'm not trying to impose this on anyone, or announce it's what should happen."

As would the council - hence the conservation area guidelines. It's not 'what' should happen. It's what 'must' happen. And the council will impose. So that means both you and me are happy.

is it a hotel only? said...

Is it going to be (a) a hotel or (b) a restaurant or (c) a hotel with a mini restaurant for the guests and others?

Sorry to ask such a basic question in the middle of the planning discussion.

PS poster re Greco-Roman, we Brits believe that English vocab comes from Italian (ie Latin) as the words are so incredibly similar. Mistake. Latin is based on greek.

Though the current day Romans wldn't like to hear it...

lb said...

Anonymous@17:31

You won't agree with me, but:

"Other recently opened businesses - Pavillion, the Brockley Holistic - have kept to the guidelines"

Pavilion has a fairly garish sign using a modern font. Incidentally, the 'guidelines' (should you care to read them) specify mainly that the fascia should be in timber (which it is, in La Lanterna's case) and that aluminium and plastic illuminated signs should not be used, although these are not absolutes. Incidentally, Pavilion's sign breaks these guidelines, if you wish to enforce them strictly.

I put it to you that you're simply assuming the new fascia technically breaks the guidelines because you feel it is in poor taste.

The drawings La Lanterna provided are not the same as what they are building

Other than the railing (which is not in itself an indication of proposed 'use' of the balcony) and the fact that the signage is treated differently, there is little substantive difference. The area of the sign is the same. It simply has a (non-funtional) pseudo-classical motif stuck on it, in relief; it's not an architectural feature. What if the same motif was added in trompe l'oeil paintwork, for example? Would you still object?

"It is not even in question whether La Lanterna has breached their planning permission - the council are following it up because they have"

To quote the Brockley Society, "As far as I am aware, Lewisham’s Planning and Enforcement have not been involved with this issue". So whether they are actually interested in the signage is debatable.

If they are, however, "following it up", it will presumably be because they have received a report from the public that the developer (in the opinion of the member of the public) is breaking his planning permission. Whether he is doing so is another matter.

Finally I'd address your point:

"and therefore the street will gradually regain its character".

What do you mean by "character"? Do you know, for certain, what its original character was? Or do you mean its character in 1920? 1950? What, furthermore, is the point of returning to an imagined original character when the street furniture is irrevocably modern? How about its "character" now? Is that not a "character" too, or is it simply one that you don't personally like?

Apologies to everyone else for a tedious and pedantic post, but this is why I stayed well away from the other thread.

lb said...

Brockley Kiwi

"The problem is that the proponents of the concensus solution are often apathetic as well as pragmatic (like me)."

Yeah, I know what you mean. I've also found that mentioning to pressure groups that their idea of "heritage", or good development practice, may not - even putting it as sensitively as possible - be quite what they think it is tends to go down like a shit sandwich.

Anonymous said...

LB - don't worry about your post, you are tedious and pedantic - and your arguments hold no water. The building is clearly in breach, there are substantive differences from the submitted plan; pavillion is not in breach; the row of shops is not art eco or post war, they are victorian.

I know for a fact that this is with planning at LC - let's just let things take their course.

BTW I love the idea of you going to heritage groups and pontificating. That's just fried gold.

lb said...

"you are tedious and pedantic"

Perhaps, but also correct, in this instance. Unlike you.

"pavillion is not in breach"

Au contraire, the guidelines specify (for example) that "traditional signwriting" should be used. Look again at the Pavilion frontage, and at the shopfront and conservation area guidelines.

"the row of shops is not art [d]eco or post war, they are victorian"

I am aware of this. The point is when you say "character", you're simply referring to the character at a particular, arbitrarily set point. Buildings and streetscapes should have the capacity to evolve: indeed they do evolve through changes of use, whether we like it or not. This is, however, clearly too complex for you to grasp.

"I know for a fact that this is with planning at LC"

Well, clearly the Brockley Society didn't. If they did, why are they going in and telling the developer what to do?

lb said...

Incidentally, if you want to take the 'heritage' route, one of the characteristics of late-Victorian or Edwardian commercial design is its heavy use of something called the "Eclectic" or "Free" style, which included, erm, neo-classical and other elements combined in a loose fashion. This applied to shop frontages as well, which often feature pilasters and other detailing. The Victorians loved their exuberant detail.

It could easily be argued that the La Lanterna frontage is far more late-Victorian in spirit, pediment and all, than something like Pavilion's.

Tressilliana said...

@Is it a hotel only?

Latin is not based on Greek! Both belong to the same family of languages (called Indo-European) as the Germanic languages (which include English), the Celtic languages, the Slavic languages, Persian, Sanskrit and a few others.

What you may be thinking of is that Latin borrowed lots of words from Ancient Greek and those words passed into the Romance languages which are the descendants of Latin - French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian. From French and Italian lots of those words were borrowed by English.

TJ(O) said...

Maybe I can clear this up (and also stop LB from claiming that plastic illuminated signs are victorian electic - only a joke LB only a joke)

I have had a call from Lewisham planning this morning. They have been aware of this since May. There planning officers have been in consultation with the owner and explained that the work is in BREACH of the permission granted and have agreed steps to rectify. The enforcement officer is paying a visit this afternoon to check progress. They are goign to update me later in the day and I'll let you all know the status.

Additonally as the parade of shops are within the conservation area. the planning deptartment believe that a Victorian character should be preserved and encouraged. The officers do not see the Lanterna frontage as being in keeping with that. Or any Victorian ecletic.

It would seem that the only erronous comment made by was the statement that Lewisham weren't involved or looking at this. They are - and they are not happy with what has been done.

TJ(O) said...

Sorry for the bad grammar, typos and spelling - I tend to rush out a post when I have a moment and don't check it over

I suppose I'm used to spellchecker kicking in when I click on 'reply'.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

MB

Has to be a Large Lamb Donner of course - or to you an Elephant's Leg.

I wonder how much of a flock goes into a Donner especially the large Friday and Saturday night ones used in shops near the Venue.

Sorry for the delayed response - seems only you and me admit to a Kebab habit.

TJ(O) said...

Nope I have one - but I'm on a once a month rehab plan. It's a three step programme:

1) No doner with Chilli and chips
2) No doner with chilli
3) No doner

Bumbags said...

I agree Lb- Pavilion is hardly a Dickensian vision, is it?! And Brockley Holistic looks rather more 1970s than anything else...
chacun à son goût... or not, in this case.

humbug anyone ?? said...

personally I think that the frontage at la laterna is a side issue . . .

As I look out of my window I can see a newly erected satellite dish on the roof opposite. This is quite in keeping with the dozen or so other dishes I can see as I walk down the street.

I would like Broc Soc and lewisham planning to stop fussing about Gordonbrock and The crown (both outside the conservation area) and la Laterna (only marginally in it) and focus on what the conservation area is supposed to be about.

Robert said...

Re. Humbug anyone?? / Satelite dishes.

We all have our axe to grind. Mine is design quality and architectural heritage. I am fan of good quality buildings that are maintained and kept well - of all styles and eras.

We would very much welcome someone like you to the BrocSoc meetings - who is able to put some energy into an issue such as the one that you have stated.

In fact - anyone who would like to attend meetings to discuss such issues should email planning@brockleysociety.org.uk - and we will add you to the mailing list.

Robert said...

Regarding the discussions I had with the owner of the Lanterna.

I originally approached the architect - enquiring if he had submitted revised facade drawings for the development to planning.

He passed BrocSoc's contact details to the owner who made great efforts to contact us, as he was keen to meet up to discuss. I had a very amicable meeting with him, and he agreed to make the changes - as they were fairly minor in the grand scheme of things.

Despite what you might think - BrocSoc do not have much power or influence. We have to rely on the gentle art of contructive debate in order to persuade people occassionally - and this is best done directly with developers rather than through under-resourced and beaurocratic organisations such as our Council.

Humbug anyone?? said...

Robert . . . and the satellite dishes, and other intrusions into the streetscape in the heart of the conservation area ? ? ?

humbug

ps thanks for the invitation but I am quite busy with other voluntary activities. I had relied upon Broc Soc to look after the core of the conservation area . . .

some people said...

Humbug - Broc Soc arent paid - they also need volunteers - shame you have too many unnaed activites to help out with something you are obviously passionate about

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I always liked La Lanterna and am looking forward to it reopening.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I liked the 'contentious' features...

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