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.
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They have now withdrawn the application.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.