BXAG on Mantle Road plans [UPDATED]

The Brockley Cross Action Group has joined the debate about the proposed development of 6 Mantle Road. Like BrocSoc, they support the plans in principle but have significant reservations about the specifics. Here's an edited version of their analysis:


We support in principle the mixed use redevelopment of this site and we welcome the proposed active ground floor commercial use. However, we question the limited A1 (shops) and A2 (financial & professional services) use classes. Given that No. 4, Mantle Road has a new Nisa supermarket and how long it took to let the retail units at 1A, Mantle Road and the Tea Factory, the demand for yet more A1 class shops or A3 businesses in the area should be challenged and the proposed use should include Class A3 uses (restaurant/café) as well.

We have no objection to the height of the building which helps to mark the station & the “town centre” and matches adjoining developments, but we think the consistent height is monotonous and would create a wall along Mantle Road. There should be greater articulation in height, perhaps with additional height at the north end and a reduction in height at the south end.

The proposed bridge over the Thames Water sewer has been poorly handled – it just looks like a blank hole opening onto a blank space. While we appreciate this is a major constraint it requires a proper design solution to create an attractive area of public realm.

Immediately north of the site is a public footpath, the western approach to the Station – a key east/west connection in Brockley. While we welcome the proposed removal of the high brick wall and the setting back of the northern elevation, the proposals currently show a blank wall facing the footpath – why not extend the commercial frontage to face the path, to create an active frontage?

Also we feel the entrance to the path off Mantle Road could be opened up further e.g. by raising the colonnade to two storeys to provide an even better sight of the footpath when approached from the south.

UPDATE

Robert from BrocSoc writes:

I met with the developers Planning Consultant, who informed me that Lewisham have asked them to revisit the design.

They have now withdrawn the application. We have put our concerns across quite clearly, which have now been echoed by BXAG - so we hope that the new designs will be an improvement.

We have also been promised that there will be better consultation surrounding the new designs before a further application is made for this site. So all that sounds positive - though we will have to reserve judgement until a new proposal is on the table.

Thanks to everyone who supported this by writing to Lewisham Planning, or signing the petition.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

You can sign the petition (set up by the Brockley Society) here:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/planning-6mantleroad/

sammyp said...

These seem like very sound proposals to me - would vastly improve existing plans.

Anonymous said...

How many of the same people are in the BXAG and the Brockley Society?

Ed (cpz) said...

More height? No thanks.

Ed (cpz) said...

More height? No thanks.

Tom said...

Great response. Well done!

Robert said...

A quick update on Mantle Road.

I met with the developers Planning Consultant, who informed me that Lewisham have asked them to revisit the design. They have now withdrawn the application.

We have put our concerns across quite clearly, which have now been echoed by BXAG - so we hope that the new designs will be an improvement.

We have also been promised that there will be better consultation surrounding the new designs before a further application is made for this site.

So all that sounds positive - though we will have to reserve judgement until a new proposal is on the table.

Thanks to everyone who supported this by writing to Lewisham Planning, or signing the petition.

Also - as far as I am aware - there is no-one who is involved in both BrocSoc and BXAG - though we do talk to each other regularly!

Anonymous said...

@Robert: Fantastic news! I am pro development in this spot, but it has to be done right. This is a real chance to fix the bit where "east meets west" in Brockley, instead of just put up a cheap "wall" between the two sides. I would be very supportive of a better design incorporating retail and restaurants / bars.

Anonymous said...

well done bxag

Local Estate Agent said...

Just a quick warning shot across the bows: When the next design is submitted, don't be too disappointed if there is still no restaurant. In the current mortgage climate, there are no lenders willing to offer a mortgage on a property where there is an A3 Licence granted in the same building. To grant one would render the flats above unsaleable unless the lenders change their criteria.
'Twas a different story in 2006/7 when the lenders didn't care how much, who to and what for. Now they do.

Ben H said...

LEA

A restaurant would generate lots more rental income though making the freehold a valuable investment asset to keep or sell. They would struggle to find a retail tenant and even if they did it would probably be let for peanuts. Change of use can always be applied for at a later date.

Anonymous said...

Just because the units at the tea factory may have problems does not mean this one would. The traffic goes by at much higher speed and the footfall is at a different level also.

Everytime something new is mentioned the brocsoc and bxag need to take care that they don't scare off progress by ganging up. The level of moaning is pitiful. Yes it would be wonderful to overnight imagine that you live in clapham - but you don't.

If the estate agent is correct then there you have it in a nutshell. Who wants a flat over a commercial restaurant anyway?

Anonymous said...

The Tea factory is arguably in a more prominant location, it is also looking to let a big chunk of its retail with A3 use...

Brockley Nick said...

@A1451 - what moaning? It's all been pretty constructive, no?

Anonymous said...

Well done excellent result, a clear indication that the voice of local people can be heard over the sound of cash tills

local broker said...

LEA,

To state that there are no lenders is not true. There are several but it depends on the type of establishment - sit down better / fast food bad, location and demand. This hasn't changed since 2006 / 2007 when the same concerns were in place.

Anonymous said...

"I am pro development in this spot, but it has to be done right."

good to be optimistic about these things . . .

Local Estate Agent said...

Ben H -
Until you know what sort of restaurant tenant you are dealing with it's impossible to say whether it will generate lots more income or not. For example, put a Starbucks or Cafe Nero in there, that close to the station, and I'd say you were bang on the money. However, a fresh startup that has nothing to trade on initially may struggle. The value in the Freehold is not just it's viability as a going concern, it's in the ability to be able to sell off the component parts too if the need arises, a sort of exit strategy if you will. There are also other factors that will influence the value to investors,commercial tenants and home buyers where there is an A3 unit, such as the sometimes prohibitive cost of buildings insurance (which the Freeholder will pass on to his Tenants/Lessees) and ever changing planning regulations.
What this means is that most developers shy away from A3 in favour of A1 & A2.

Anonymous said...

Yeah make it another massive retail unit - we could do with another Nisa there, we only have 2 Nisa's in that stretch so far.

Local Estate Agent said...

Local Broker -
I can only speak from the experiences I have had over the last 12 months or so with selling residential above A3.I do not use an in house broker, or Countrywide "independent" type, so buyers have gone to their own fully independent brokers or their own banks. Some have had deposits of up to 50%, to no avail. I agree with the sit down better/ fast food bad statement, as certain lenders did not rule it out completely where it was a sit down type, but following site survey every one rejected the application, for a variety of reasons. This is not just one property in one location. It's a bit like banks advertising loan APRs knowing that in reality you are never going to get that rate.
If however, you have successfully placed a mortgage for someone in these circumstances we should exchange business cards.

Anonymous said...

Can't get a flat above a restaurant with a 50% deposit...you sure???

Blunderbuss said...

I'd rather live above a restaurant than sandwiched between a busy road and a really busy rail-track. As this already has both I doubt someone would be put off by the having a place to eat downstairs, as long as it's not a takeaway and likely to be wafting the smell of fried chicken, chips, curry etc into your flat.

Idealist said...

I wonder if anything could be done to cheer the bridge over the railway tracks up a little... okay, so it's not going to be NY's Highline, but if somehow a bunch of us could apply for a little funding to turn it into a pleasant gateway between East and West it'd go nicely with this development as a way of centralising the community.

Anonymous said...

LEA
I don't really know what you're talking about but I don't believe you really are an estate agent; far too articulate and seemingly well informed to be part of that pondlife bunch of bandits.

Anonymous said...

The actions groups suggested development looked much better.

Tamsin said...

Having contributed massively to the housing problems and repossession issues by for decades thrusting money at people unable to realistically repay, and finally getting their own fingers burned (with all sorts of grief for Joe Public on the way), I expect the mortgage lenders are now just looking for an excuse to sit tight on the money that the government is trying to pump into the system to boost the economy.

Or am I being unfair?

Local Estate Agent said...

@Anon 00:00 - No, I'm afraid I really am a fully paid up member of the Guild of People of Questionable Parentage.

@ Tamsin - Largely, no. It's not unfair. What lenders want now is low risk, clean cut deals, so no short leases or dodgy new builds (6 flats in New Cross NOT connected to mains sewerage anyone?) if you are on a 10% deposit and want a rate that's not on a par with what's being offered to the Greek Government.

Tamsin said...

A cesspit does produce a lovely crop of nettles - and nettle soup is chock-full of iron...

Seriously, though, in an urban environment that is really unusual. Dare one ask where it goes...?

Anonymous said...

Mantle Road could be the Las Vegas of Brockley, bars, casinos, stripclubs. Wouldn't cost much to pay BXAG and BS off. Think of all the jobs as croupiers, heavies, strippers etc for locals.

Anonymous said...

Do any of these Brockley quangos even live near Mantle Road??

Brockley Nick said...

Yes.

Anonymous said...

BXAG is not a quango.

Local Estate Agent said...

@Tamsin - The bin store. Or, to be exact, a couple of 250ltr drums in the bin store. Word has it that it was only when a couple of lucky new Leaseholders began to experience a bit of a....what shall we call it?.... a logjam? Yes, that works..and someone came to inspect the drains (really! the smell didn't give something away?). Only there weren't any.
Cost Lewisham (in other words us) £40k or thereabouts to dig up the road and connect everything. Cue mad dash to the airport for the developers, ensuing repossession by their bank because only 2 had been sold and an estimate of approx £200k to put the whole building into some sort of habitable and saleable condition. Begs the question how it got signed off by Building Control, but that's a whole new thread.

Zed said...

Does anyone have any info on the other development on Mantle Road going ahead next to the skip site?
The building housing the Chinese takeaway is crumbling and even has a tree growing out of it so presumably this will be demolished with the land incorporated into the scheme?

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