Brockley Cross car dealership to be redeveloped

Following its acquisition earlier this year, the new owners of the B&M car dealership have applied to demolish it and replace it with:


A part single/part two/part three storey building comprising commercial unit and 1 two bedroom self contained flat on the ground floor and 4 one bedroom and 1 two bedroom self-contained flats on the upper floors with provision of bin and bicycle stores.

No documents are available yet, but the principle of replacing that spot with something useful must be welcome, so long as the plans are of sufficient quality.

50 comments:

lb said...

In economic terms I reckon even a car dealership is far a more 'useful' addition to the area than yet another undistinguished development of cramped flats.

Ed said...

More green shoots, let's hope they are tasty and succulent not ropey and weedy...

Anonymous said...

I suppose the old story of parking for the residents will crop up again.

Ed said...

lb, can you explain the concept of 'usefulness' in economic terms, I'm rather struggling.

Headhunter said...

1 fewer car dealership/car service centres in Brockley is a good thing IMO, that semi derelict looking site is an eyesore at the moment. Would have been nice to have it replaced by a useful local commercial development on the ground floor, but then it is surrounded by largely residential buildings.

Danja said...

comprising commercial unit and 1 two bedroom self contained flat on the ground floor

Anonymous said...

Oh dear lol

Headhunter said...

Yes, I saw that, that's why I said it WOULD HAVE BEEN nice to have a local commercial development on the GF...

lb said...

"lb, can you explain the concept of 'usefulness' in economic terms, I'm rather struggling"

Easy, a business based in the area - even if it does sell used cars - increases and enriches the economic activity in that area; it makes Brockley a workplace, rather than a dormitory. Even better if it's not retail; unless you're an out-of-town shopping centre, you need a good mixture of businesses to support retail ones. I'd rather a car dealership than another coffee shop, for example.

Brockley Nick said...

@Headhunter - but that is exactly the plan. So why "would have", which suggests it isn't the plan?

@Anon 10.25 - there is sufficient parking on Geoffrey Road to support a small residential development of this sort. During the day, Geoffrey Road is used by commuters as a place to park the car, because relatively few people at that end of the road own cars themselves and part of that stretch is given over to a long garden, so there are relatively few houses on that side of the road.

Brockley Nick said...

@LB - you were making sense until you said:

"I'd rather a car dealership than another coffee shop, for example."

A coffee shop would probably employ more people and attract more people to the area. Economically, a coffee shop is preferable.

Aesthetically, it would be infinitely preferable.

Anonymous said...

Part 3 storey? Bet this gets opposed, not sure that site should have a high building. Saying that- with the two roads either side, it could end up looking like this...

http://www.londoneditions.com/product_186_9.htm

lb said...

"A coffee shop would probably employ more people and attract more people to the area. Economically, a coffee shop is preferable"

Dunno, your average garage-n-car-sales place usually employs several mechanics, plus salesmen and admin staff, unless it's a very small operation. The turnover would probably be higher too, unless the coffee shop sells the worlds' most expensive lattes.

Anonymous said...

That's good news except would be more useful as a couple of houses than flats, 3 storey isn't high, a lot of the properties around are 3 storeys, the design is more of an issue for me

Tracy said...

Obviously it is another Brockley ziggarat to go with the ramp at the station.

Tracy said...

Obviously it is another Brockley ziggarat to go with the ramp at the station.

Monkeyboy said...

I hope they list the stone cladding, it's an iconic design feature and should be retained.

Tamsin said...

How many coffee shops can a small area support. A busines (office or artisan) with half a dozen employees to drink some of that coffee is what would be "useful".

Anonymous said...

"1 fewer car dealership/car service centres in Brockley is a good thing IMO"

More predictableness from Headhunter. Yes, you don't like cars, we get it, move on.

waa said...

Economically a commercial unit and some flats has to be far more useful than a used car lot. Even if the car lot employed more people than the commercial unit (which is unlikely - as you dion't need many to sell used cars, the residents in the flat will support the local businesses that are already here. They will run to costcutters for bread, they will use the cafes and restaurants, probalby far more than the 'mechanics' will.

I agree with LB that it would be a shame to see an undistinguished block of flats - but the economic argument is poor. Where are you statistics? (cheeky wink)

elsiemaud boy said...

"More predictableness from Headhunter. Yes, you don't like cars, we get it, move on."

That nursery thing still hurts doesn't it, anon?

Ed said...

Unless these garage workers and/or their customers contribute to the local area economically (i.e. supporting other local resources/services that we actually use) or culturally (beautifully cared for front gardens or a good chat over a pint) how is the garage location of any benefit to locals?

I'd rather my local area offered things I want/need on a regular basis (including coffee) not services I might use once a year, if ever, and can easily drive to obtain.

This 'garages are good' argument is an utter waste of time (if you're on the other side that is).


I am keen to see the designs for 1/1a. The brickwork, roof and trees behind that site are very pretty and I suspect we will lose that view and the whole Victorian terrace feel. I have no issue with modern if it is sympathetic to the vernacular architecture although this is rare in Lewisham.

Tommo said...

Headhunter has a point. MOT garages and second hand car places would be better located on industrial estates than in the middle of residential areas.
It's mystifying how anyone can argue that B&M is particularly useful to the local economy. It's not even as though it has car servicing facilities.

Brockley Nick said...

@LB - Tommo is right, this is not a hypothetical garage, it is an actual dealership, with no servicing facility (there is one further up the road which does that), only a few cars to sell at any one time and perhaps two employees.

Its economic contribution to the area is negligible. There is a commercial unit in the plans, which should create at least as many jobs.

Headhunter said...

Oops, didn't read properly - so there IS a comercial unit planned. Trying to read this and do a thousand other things at once....

It's not that I particularly dislike cars, I understand that they are essential to the economy and society as it is currently set up, (although I do believe that there are thousands of unecessary car journeys made all over London every day) however as Nick has pointed out before, we do "benefit" from a considerable number of car dealerships and car servicing places in and around Brockers, we could do with losing a few and increasing commercial diversity. that was the opposition to Portland bookies too, Brockley already has plenty of bookies.

Anonymous said...

Sound like a good step in the right direction. Interesting to see the plans.

I would not mind to loose a couple of other MOT/CAR SALES places around the Cross if they are substituted with sensible and aestetically acceptable buildings.

Every research shows that London is missing family accomodations, not sure we miss so many 1 bed tiny flats.

lb said...

"It's mystifying how anyone can argue that B&M is particularly useful to the local economy"

Let's say someone picked up the premises as a car dealership rather than as a 'development' opportunity and ran it with a bit of enthusiasm. It could potentially be very useful to the local economy, as for one thing it could support other businesses nearby (e.g. repair ones, if it didn't fix up the cars itself) and secondly it would bring customers into the area. It creates commercial activity in an area during the day, something residential development would never do. Frankly there's been too much emphasis on the idea of Brockley as a 'residential' area. Lewisham Council certainly seems to think this is the area's future.

waa: I've got a rough idea of how much a car dealership can turn over, but sadly not this particular one, so the stats will have to remain speculative...:P

No idea what commercial unit they're planning on putting in there but Tamsin makes the right point about why another coffee shop isn't preferable...a danger of too many small-turnover businesses offering fundamentally the same thing. This is why I was pleasantly surprised to see Green Tea Architects setting up shop, exactly the kind of thing Brockley needs more of.

Brockley Nick said...

@LB - no car dealership of this size will ever be commercially dynamic. It's just too small - it can only fit a few cars on there.

I don't for a minute think a coffee shop will open there, but if it did, it would be a case of the market deciding. Coffee shops don't really sell coffee, they sell experiences. That's why it doesn't matter if Browns and Broca are next door to one another - or that Toads Mouth and the Orchard also sell coffee nearby. They sell the experience of drinking there. Each is very different and seemingly successful. There are still relatively few places to go in Brockley, there is room for more.

This will not be a coffee shop though, I'll wager.

waa said...

"Let's say someone picked up the premises as a car dealership rather than as a 'development' opportunity and ran it with a bit of enthusiasm."

Let's just say that someone made the commercial unit into a thriving restaurant...or successful butchers...or...

Scraping the bottom of the argumentive barrel a bit, aren't we LB? 8P

Anonymous said...

Car dealership.Fantastically useful if you want to buy a car.

Anonymous said...

where is this car dealership place???

Anonymous said...

exactly where is this car dealership?

Is it:
The one at the end of Malpas Road?
The one near the station opposite The Barge pub?
Or the one over the railway bridge just past the Tyre business?

Anonymous said...

If this is redevelopment of 1 and 1A then there's a net loss of one commercial unit: currently there's the car dealership and the vacant site which was Tony's hairdressers.

I'm also not sure about 3 storeys: the houses immediately behind on Malpas and UBR are 2 storey, and Geoffrey Road are 2 1/2 above ground level.

Will be interesting to see the plans.

Anonymous said...

If it's anything like the proposed development for the MOT Garage in Geoffrey Road it will be in planning limbo for years. Trying to fit a quart into a pint pot, there were too many flats and not enough parking spaces. Whether you like/sell cars or not provision has to be made for them.

Brockley Nick said...

You're right about that other development but as I say, Geoffrey Road has room for more resident parking. At weekends it is half empty. During the week, people from other areas drive in and park there to be near the station. A development like this would generate 2-3 cars max. Easily manageable.

delighted to hear this said...

Excellent.

An MOT there left us with an apparent need for 2 new tyres, both of which "new" tyres burst within a week.

Most alternative uses would be preferable IMHO.

urbansurgery said...

oh my lordy - 3 storeys is not a high building in any urban context

Anonymous said...

look at the other new developments (not the tea factory) completed that are within a minutes walk of Brockley station - any new building will look like this - rest assured - if this is what you want support it.

Mb said...

"except the tea factory" ok, if we except the examples that disprove your theory. Not the most compeling argument.

Brockley Nick said...

The Tea Factory and the ugly grey battle ship building on Mantle Road are the only completed developments around the station. I like the Tea Factory, but you won't let me count that...

I imagine it will look like what the planning application says it will. I'm happy to reserve judgement until then.

Anonymous said...

I like battleships.

Ed said...

See my earlier comment about the 'garages are good' argument being a waste of time...

I wanted a positive start to the week but see people are already parking on our new pavement (a van actually drove into the building on Sunday) and the phone box at BX has had evey piece of glass smashed.

Whilst I am against the inappropriate/over use of cctv, with the shootings and other anti-social behaviour at BX/Coulgate St, is there a need here...

Am I on the wrong thread Nick?

Anonymous said...

@urbansurgery: 3 storeys would be odd amongst bungalows. Here it may stick out too, depending on the design.

Surprised there's been no comment on the loss of a commercial unit, given strong views previously expressed here. Can't imagine what the difference could be.

Brockley Nick said...

The "difference" is that one good quality, viable commercial unit is preferable to a tiny car yard with room for 7 cars and an empty stone-clad bungalow. In other words, no difference at all - it's all about commercially viable space.

urbansurgery said...

@anon. "depending on the design"

zing!

Anon one said...

@nick: unless you've extra info about its financial situation, the existence of the garage for so long suggests that space is commercially viable. It may not be aesthetically pleasing with stone cladding, but it has survived as a business.

This space looks likely to be lost, not replaced. There is a second commercial unit on that site already, empty for some time (and never advertised once the hairdresser left, so no way to gauge interest in the lease, seemingly the criterion for commercial viability.)

Car sales may not be the sort of enterprise you'd prefer on that site - and I'd agree - but this is for reasons other than commercial viability. The development is likely to be a net loss on these latter grounds.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - I've been open about my belief that car dealerships are not helpful to vibrant towncentres, so no hidden agenda there - I would like to see the number of car based businesses in Brockley reduced. The fact that this business has been confused by readers for so many others is a comic illustration of how many there are around.

But your claim that the car lot's historical survival proves its viability does not follow - maybe it has been losing money for a long time, maybe it has been being cross-subsidised, etc. We just don't know. But I believe that in an age of Car Giant and eBay, that tiny lots like these are an anachronism and this is belief is strengthened by the fact that it hardly seems to have any customers or sell any cars. Perhaps I am wrong, but it is not mere wishful thinking on my part.

However, more importantly, we don't know what is being proposed in the new plans - it's one unit, but it might be the same size as the two current units combined. It might not be a net loss, it might double, triple or quadruple the number of people currently employed there. So the suggestion that it is hypocritical to argue for more commercial space in Brockley while welcoming in principle this development is wrong.

In my view, Brockley has no shortage of commercial space, it has a severe shortage of the right kind of commercial space that businesses actually want. I know of one potential business that 99% of BC readers would love to open in Brockley, but it cannot currently find a location.

Bluntly, we need to bulldoze the crap and build high-quality space in the right locations. High quality units on Brockley Road and around Coulgate Street are the absolute priority.

TM said...

Drawings are now up on Lewisham's site.

Not sure you will like what you see......

TM said...

Oh dear.

I'm glad I am not paying the Architect's fee.

Part of the Design and Access statement refers to another development, unless Lordship Lane has moved from East Dulwich and as for the grammar and spelling it's worse that Catman's!

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